Since I work for Vanity Fair, I feel I must refrain from commenting on the Monica pictures. Thank God. But how about you? If we're going to get into the apparently very profitable prediction business, would you care to venture a guess as to how fast and at what price Microsoft will have to settle its antitrust litigation? Or is that sort of question a bit uncomfortable here on the virtual pages of Slate?
Maybe Paula can help with this one. I would venture a guess that Mr. Gates can afford her. A darn sight cheaper than those lawyers of his and I daresay she'd do a better job.
As for Hillary, I can make a prediction for free. If she does run (while Bill presumably disports himself on the swingles scene at Marina Del Ray, hard by the planned new DreamWorks studio), she will go to Poughkeepsie, but perhaps not Bedford Hills. She will brush off "negative" questions about her past as a lawyer, first lady, or futures investor by pointing out that Mr. Starr spent $40 million-plus and came away empty-handed. Many voters will concur and resent the nattering, negative press. They will converge in Hillary sympathy. (Hasn't the poor woman suffered enough?) She will almost be able to snub the media altogether, choosing to speak at length only to the gentlest of our ilk. You heard it here.
As for Flynt, what can I say? He's a purveyor of bigotry and degrading porn, but he is a most interesting First Amendment troublemaker who can afford to have a little fun at Big Brother's expense. In this case, he served a salutary purpose. He pointed out that the playing field could be leveled quite easily; that anyone who holds out the lure of cash--whether it's right-wing conspirators or unstable pornographers--can bring the glass houses down. He pointed out that the sexual McCarthy squad should watch it's all-too-often exposed ass. Gotta love it.
Finally, Charles, you do not have the market cornered on high-minded reaction. I staked out detachment by covering Hollywood. I don't much care if they make a 19th sequel to Teen Lust. When it comes to "real" politics, however, I might--just might--care if there's a gag order on abortion, or if gays may be tormented in the military.