Dirty Laundry

Aug. 4 1998 3:30 AM

Dirty Laundry

Bill! The answer to your predicament is at the video store.

Stylish New Yorkers have for years mocked D.C. for its indifference to fashion. This week is our revenge: a city obsessed with a dress. (A fashion question: Why would Monica wear a cocktail dress to work? Is that what was meant when they said she dressed inappropriately? She confused an evening out with a busy day at the office?)


When I turned on the television Sunday morning I saw, in huge white letters on a black background, "The DRESS." Sadly, it turned out to be a Tylenol ad about a bride and her wedding dress.

David Plotz David Plotz

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.

Of all the salacious, disgusting, far-fetched notions I have heard about the dress, my Slate colleague Emily Yoffe has the most absurd: the Cinematic Dress. This is a three-stage excuse for Clinton, based on the plot of recent movies.

Stage 1: Primary Colors. Clinton denies that the stain is his semen. Then, as the Clintonian character did in Primary Colors, he switches the blood sample. A loyal aide like Bruce Lindsey would take a bullet for him. Surely he would take a pinprick.

Stage 2: If that fails, Presumed Innocent, a movie in which the hero is accused of murder when his wife saves his semen and spreads it on a woman she murders. Clinton might claim that Hillary surreptitiously collected his semen and smeared it on the dress.

When that fails, Stage 3: There's Something About Mary. This I can't bear to explain.

A final note. The circumlocution about the semen-stained dress has been incredible. The New York Times has managed to work up the courage to use "semen," and I heard Newsweek's Mike Isikoff say the word on television (though not without a noticeable gulp). Most other media have resorted to "DNA-stained" or "stained with genetic material"--phrases that are magnificently vague.



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.