A zombie argument is one that seems to be long dead until somebody brings it back to life. Barack Obama's post-presidency has raised a zombie argument: How should ex-presidents dress and behave?
"Barack! Get back here — we need you!," somebody posted on Richard Branson's Facebook page after video went viral of Obama kitesurfing with the Virgin Group founder in the Virgin Islands.
Another writer posted with more sarcasm: "Much easier to be on that boat than helping the poor black American in Chicago ... same old story, Democrat with elites and they say they are on the side of the little people, hypocrites."
Right. If I believed that writer really cared about poor black people in Chicago, I might take that message seriously. Maybe.
Instead, I expect public opinion about the lifestyles of ex-presidents to be like opinions of every other public issue these days: polarized along party lines.
But regardless of party, I'm not going to begrudge any ex-president's right to take a vacation after eight years as leader of the free world.
Yes, that includes the peculiar, yet not badly executed picture that former President George W. Bush painted of his toes sticking out of the water as he rested in a bathtub. Priceless.
I'm not even upset, as even some of Obama's supporters are, over the huge speaker fees and book contracts hauled in by Barack and Michelle Obama, since neither of them holds a public office or other apparent conflicts of interest.
Obama is slated to receive $400,000 for a speech to Wall Street bankers and earned an undisclosed amount estimated to be worth as much as $3.2 million (based on the price of the 3,500 tickets) for a recent speech at the Seeds & Chips Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan.
And that's not including the estimated $60 million deal that the Obamas reportedly signed for their yet-to-be-written books.
All of this buck-raking was described in a report on Fox News (where else?) as "deals that seemed to contradict his image as a champion of the 99 percent."
Ah, yes, the image. That concern might hold more water if the Obamas were not also busily raising money for such projects as the Obama Foundation, the Obama Presidential Center to be built on Chicago's South Side and the $2 million the Obamas are donating toward two Chicago programs that provide summer jobs and apprenticeships.
Like them or not, big speaker fees have become the norm for ex-presidents since at least 1989 when Ronald Reagan accepted $2 million (worth about twice that amount in today's dollars) for two speeches to a communications corporation in Japan.
I will leave it to the Obamas to guard the integrity of their brand. It is up to them to avoid the conflicts of which Bill and Hillary Clinton were accused in operating the Clinton Foundation — or for that matter, the questionable practices of which President Donald Trump has been accused, such as purchasing a six-foot portrait of himself with his charity's money.
But of all the complaints that I have heard raised by a post-presidency, I find the fussiest fault-finding these days to be in the fashion media. As GQ's site headlined after Obama's Milan speech: "Barack Obama's post-presidency style called 'too casual.' "
Why? Because the nation's 44th president wore a tailored suit with — Gasp! — no necktie and — Double gasp! — two of his shirt buttons left unbuttoned.
The fashionista press went wild. New York Magazine hailed him as a "Street Style Star." But GQ's Max Berlinger tsk-tsked that 44 might just be getting "a little too casual."
Berlinger sounded shocked at Obama's open collar, a "whole lot of open real estate in the chest region" and the "skin-to-seriousness ratio that's being broken here."
"To wit," he wrote, "if you're going to wear a suit but go tieless, one undone button (and a shirt with a nice, stiff collar) is kinda the unspoken mandate."
Indeed. Well, call me a slob (it wouldn't be the first time; ask my wife) but I applaud our former president's effort to break through the walls of fashion fascism.
Maybe the man who used to be cool enough to be called "No Drama Obama" on the campaign trail can teach the fashionistas a thing or two.
Good luck with your battle against the necktie, Mr. President. A nation of guys tugging at uncomfortable collars salutes you.