When society derides or praises the stars for their fashion sensibilities, society usually targets women. And as politicians go, it’s the wives who get noticed: Barbara Bush’s sensible pearls; Hillary Rodham Clinton’s St. John knits. We like to picture Judy Martz in a speed-skating get-up and goggles. But this year Montana’s boys are in the limelight for their attire. Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger is hardly ever seen without a snappy bowtie. “And he looks good in a bowtie,” says Montana GOP Executive Director Chuck Denowh. Gov. Brian Schweitzer, on the other hand, has irked some Republicans for taking Neil Diamond’s “Forever in Blue Jeans” to heart. Does Schweitzer wear anything else? Yes, but not often enough for some. The Montana GOP printed citizen Colleen Smith’s letter to the editor in its Feb. 20 newsletter: “I am writing to express my disgust with the lack of respect the new governor apparently has for the office,” writes Helena’s Smith. “Recently I attended a Chamber of Commerce annual dinner where Schweitzer was asked to speak. There were 300 business professionals in attendance, all dressed professionally. I only remember seeing one person in jeans. Unfortunately, it was the governor.” At a recent Missoula lunch, Schweitzer sported the jeans again. He even met President George Bush in denim. “He’s not farming anymore,” writes Smith, disapprovingly.
That’s all well and fine—to each his sartorial own, we say—but so far the Indy hasn’t received responses to the truly important fashion queries: Are those Wranglers? Or Levi’s? Lee, perhaps? What size? Are they made in the U.S.A.? Did he buy them in Idaho? Do they make him look fat?
We don’t often use this space for obituaries, but the past week delivered two deaths near and dear to Indy hearts.
First, combat photographer, filmmaker and author William “Bill” Gibson, 82, passed away at his home in Conner Wednesday, Feb. 16. Gibson, who began his career as a cameraman for the U.S. Navy in World War II, spent more than half a century directing, shooting and producing everything from feature films to music videos. The Independent’s feature about Gibson, “War and Peace,” was published in our May 25, 2000, issue. His 0wn memoir, No Film in My Camera, was published in 2001. Memorial services will be held Thursday, Feb. 24, at St. Francis Catholic Church in Hamilton.
And on Sunday, Feb. 20, journalist Hunter S. Thompson, 67, shot himself in the head in the kitchen of his Woody Creek, Colo., compound. It’s hard to know what to say about that, except to acknowledge that newspapers like this and many others around the country would never have existed if it weren’t for the energies expended by people who, at one time or another, wanted to be just like him.