Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I've never been hostile about Hillary. Even back in the horror of the caligula era, when she was portrayed as Lady Macbeth to her swollen paramour's Falstaff, it was her polices, as in Nationalized Health Care, that evoked passion from me. Well, not passion. Opposition. She herself just didn't do much for me. Maybe it's that I do, I really do, like strong women. Sensible, but strong too. So she's halfway there.

That nonsense about a vast rightwing conspiracy. Well, she's a bit paranoid. So am I. She's reputed to have a shrill temperament, abusive to underlings, which would be everybody, and dishonest, as with those FBI files found on some tabletop by some secretary ... just some old scandal. So she's shady. And the Vince Foster calumny. Maybe it's true, maybe not. Hard to believe, though, isn't it? And that long long list of clinton associates who ended up dead. Maybe that's all just an artifact of a conspiracy? -- vast? -- rightwing? Suspicions should not control us. That would be paranoid.

She is certainly dishonest. Sniper fire. Is she fit to be president? The point is moot, barring some bizarre unforeseeable calamity that might somehow overtake young Sen. Obama. What are the odds of that happening? Astronomical. If the impossible should happen, then there's Hillary, still campaigning, the only viable option. But, heh heh, it's a ridiculous idea. Just absurd. But is she fit to be president? Consider her onetime bedfellow, and your conclusion will follow accordingly. If bill clinton was fit, she certainly must be. She after all has no criminal record.

And she certainly is bright. Consider her notorious thesis on that vile hippy radical community organizer, Saul Alinsky. She made it unavailable to scholars, during her presi ... her spouse's presidency. It was a stupid move, since the paper is unemotional, academic, and well-written. It was a good paper. What, you think it's still banned? But no, it is available. Say, here. Stupid move, I say, but she's still bright. We all have our blind spots. Take me for instance. I'm a certifiable genius. Wonderful. Just wonderful. Aaaaah. So tall, so handsome and powerful -- practically perfect. Yes. Yes. And, uh, and ... well, I seem to have lost my train of thought.

As for Hillary, we must strive to be objective. Take for example that interview last week. The Stephanopoulos one. I am way behind in my political reading -- about a month. No worries. You don't come here for topicality. But that thing with Hillary and George is pretty current. Only a week old.

Here. Starting at second 6:10. Something occurs that is utterly fascinating to me. Specifically, what Hillary does at about 7:15. She stands up during the seated interview to address an audience question. She says she's standing so she can see the woman who asks the question. It is plausible -- we can see from the camera angles that the woman's head would be visible but her body might be obscured by the audience. But really. Is that why Hillary stands? We get our answer, not only from the discomfort that Stephanopolous will certainly be feeling. He's not a tall man, and having his guest, his former boss's wife, loom over him can't be comfortable for him. We get our answer by what Stephanopolous finally does. 9:35. He stands. Very awkwardly, because he must be tethered by a mike cable.

It was a power ploy by Hillary. It worked, other than its stagedness, its obviousness. It puts George in his place. But how rude. And they remain standing for the entire remainder of the segment, over nine minutes, and another five and a half, almost. They start a new segment at 5:50, sitting, and guess what?! She stands again, second 20. And so does George, at some unseen moment, revealed at 2:10. My guess is that they stayed standing again for the whole segment. I just couldn't bear to watch for it.

Comments will be obvious. Focus groups like her standing better than sitting. She seems authoritative and confident. It makes her look less squat. It shows off her pants suits. And so on. Look. It's not a bad thing that she's trying to improve her presentation. If it comes off as a sort of Al Gore stalking up to George Bush (second 52) during that 2000 campaign debate -- staged ... connived -- well, so be it. Sarah Bernhardt she ain't.

But it was rude.

There is a natural authority that some people have. I think a huge part of it is just being comfortable in your skin. Of the four people referenced here, only Bush has it. Only he seems not to need to strike poses. He looked fantastic underneath that Mission Accomplished banner. If it was a ploy, it wasn't his. Some two thirds of Americans, alas, may think that however comfortable George is, he shouldn't be. Whatever. My point is that what really doesn't work is trying to fake it. Actually faking it might work, but trying to, as Hillary did with her robotic gestures, and Stephanopolous did with his desperate rise, and Gore did with his effortful confrontation -- it's a little sad. The sort of thing we might observe, that makes us feel a little pity, a little compassion, for people who really don't need it.

You have been laboring under the misapprehension that I am completely self-absorbed. But that's not it. I'm people-absorbed. It's just that I'm alone so much.



Chuck E. Boy said...

Unfortunately, so few are skilled anymore at recognizing and correctly interpreting such manipulations.

And the majority who actually think they're deciding this matter don't read your blog.

Pity, that.

Jack H said...

Up until the Enlightenment, there was a formal system of mnemonic training, called the Theater of Memory. It goes back at least to Classical Times. Cicero, if memory serves, wrote of it. It's how the great orators remembered their speeches, in a time when there was no paper and writing was a laborious process. It's how, for example, we have near-verbatim sermons of Jesus. What, people were sitting around taking notes? No -- they remembered, via a trained memory.

My point? It is true that observation is a skill, and one not as commonly trained as once it may have been. Most likely it has to do with critical thinking, which is not at all the same as its modern counterpart, rebelling against authority. It's what law school is supposed to teach. Ha.

Since we can't use social institutions to get out of this decline, we'll have to breed our way out of it. Get busy, heterosexuals!