It's Not the Sex Scandals, Stupid!

Freund and Masters

It's Not the Sex Scandals, Stupid!

Freund and Masters

It's Not the Sex Scandals, Stupid!
An email conversation about the news of the day.
March 1 1999 7:08 PM

Freund and Masters

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My dear Charles,

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I must insist that the national motto should not be "So what?" but "I don't give a rat's ass and I'm not going to take it any more!" You offer a litany of my so-called so-whats. I respond that to most of the entries on that list, I do indeed say so what.

I mean, let's look at this journalistically. Clinton allegedly dropped trou in front of a state employee. Distasteful, if true. But hardly proved. There's not a shred of evidence to support a sexual harassment claim and indeed, the court itself said, "So what?" Besides, the alleged victim is now exposing her tatas, or some such thing, in a British rag of some sort, saying she was sent on a mission from God and putting herself forward as a psychic (if the tabloids are to be believed--are they?) What a credible witness! No wonder everyone got their knickers in a knot at the perils of Paula! Such a shame she never got to testify in that magnificent case of hers. As for the thong-snapping intern filing a false affidavit "for him," how do you know what was in her mind? Did you consult Paula for a reading? Maybe she didn't want the world to know that, as Freud never said, sometimes a cigar isn't just a cigar. And then, he actually lied about a tawdry affair. I'm not saying he should win an integrity award but are we really shocked--shocked!--to find a president lying? Did the lie have anything to do with affairs (excuse the word) of state? Haven't our elected representatives finally, expensively concluded they couldn't nail him for a high crime or even a misdemeanor? If you want to talk Iran-Contra, maybe I'll get sufficiently indignant for you.

What's really changed is not that the president doesn't matter but that we now know what kind of underwear he prefers, that his penis leans more left than his politics, and all that. Naturally, it diminishes the man and the office. It's not the most original thought, but imagine the Kennedy administration--hookers and drugs in the White House--in this environment. Pick a recent administration, any administration, and tell me who survives this type of intrusive and irrelevant scrutiny. As the GOP has abundantly proved, everyone's house is made of glass. The national dialogue is off-point here and as far as I'm concerned, the thoroughly loathsome Larry Flynt is merely pointing that out. Another proposed motto: It's not the sex scandals, stupid!

Having said all that, I suppose the Monica-Barbara thing (first televised blow job?) will draw some big ratings, although I'd be surprised if the second hour holds up. One of my more reliable Hollywood sources tells me the extremely expensive ads weren't selling quite as briskly as ABC had hoped. But I suppose the reason we'll watch, and the reason we all keep talking about sex, is that we're all interested in sex, even if it's not germane to much. It's easier than grappling with Kosovo and China, now, isn't it?

Your sloganeering correspondent,

Kim

Charles Paul Freund is a senior editor at Reason magazine. Kim Masters is a contributing editor to Time and Vanity Fair.