Rants of a Tab Drinker

David Edelstein and Nell Minow

Rants of a Tab Drinker

David Edelstein and Nell Minow

Rants of a Tab Drinker
An email conversation about the news of the day.
July 28 1998 3:11 PM

David Edelstein and Nell Minow

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Hi Nell:

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I'm sitting here lip-syncing to "Stop! In the Name of Love"--no, actually, I'm sitting here getting angrier and angrier, which might be because of the day's headlines and might be because I'm consuming record amounts of caffeine. (To digress, NBC's Dateline last night did a piece about diet clinics casually handing out prescriptions of Prozac and "herbal phen-fen" to its clients. I hadn't realized that the latter is Chinese ephedra, which I took one time in San Francisco as part of a "smart drugs" cocktail and which made me nearly psychotic with rage over some--coincidentally Chinese--guy looking at me funny. I know we all have different metabolisms, but, based on mine, that's scary stuff. Hang on, I have to open another can of Tab.)

Under a picture of a sickly-smiling Lewinsky, today's New York Post cover screams: "I HAD SEX WITH BILL." One of its columnists (the headline is "Be a man, Bill, and just tell the truth") writes: "We have had crooks before in the White House.... But, by and large, we haven't had hypocrites." The man who wrote that is either a bigger moron than Dan Quayle or bigger liar than, well, Bill Clinton.

The White House and, for that matter, every other House, have conspicuously had almost nothing but hypocrites. I'm not even sure that Clinton's up there, since he has never gone around persecuting others for what he perceives to be the absence of "family values." A hypocrite is someone who, like Richard Nixon, can make a career of ruining the lives of Communist sympathizers and then, in his dotage, commiserate with Chinese officials over Tiananmen Square--citing his own problems with pesky protesters. Or it's Ronald Reagan, the nation's first divorced president and a man who'd barely set foot in a church in decades, who campaigned on a God-and-family platform against an ordained Baptist minister (a man who--no matter what else you say about him, and I can say plenty--was among the most "Christian" in his values ever to hold the office).

Hypocrites are people like that high-level dean at Boston University, who, a few years ago, gave a commencement address denouncing the absence of values in modern Hollywood movies--and turned out to have plagiarized most of the speech from a book by Michael Medved (himself the only movie critic of recent times alleged to have been on the payroll--as a "consultant"--of a studio whose films he went on to review). By all means, let's teach our children values, and let the most important consist of not holding others to standards that we can't manage to meet ourselves.

P.S. Word just in that Monica has gotten full immunity in return for testifying that she and Clinton had sex and--what else?

I propose that all of us in sympathy with the President wear our zippers at half-mast.

 

David Edelstein is Slate's film critic. Nell Minow's reviews of movies and videos appear on her Movie Mom Web page. Her book The Movie Mom's Guide to Family Movies is forthcoming.