The Mellowing of William Jefferson Clinton, America's Court Jester

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
May 29 2009 10:29 AM

The Mellowing of William Jefferson Clinton, America's Court Jester

Hanna and Dayo : I, too, was interested to read the lengthy profile of Bill Clinton in this weekend's New York Times Magazine , but I had a very different reaction to it. I found the profile fawning and thin, the reportage of an obedient dog happily following close on the heels of a once-powerful leader, and I felt like the story behind the story, which shadowed its every word, was left embarrassingly untouched. Aside from a short aside, which is vague to the point of hilarity, almost nothing is mentioned in regards to Clinton's sexual dalliances with Monica Lewinsky.

Apart from that one buried nod, we get: Bill playing second fiddle to Hillary! Bill flying all over the place on do-good missions! Bill, like, totally mellowed, man! But the concurrent story, that Obama's administration seems to be working hard to distance itself from Hillary's husband, seems to me very much tied to the fact that, in case anyone has forgotten, other than the article's author Peter Baker, the long and the short of it is that for the most part Bill Clinton is widely regarded as a fool , a policy wonk who let his penis get the best of him, a man who had the tenacity to rise to the highest office in the land, only to throw it all away with a splooge mark on a young woman's Gap dress. And then lied about it. And then got caught lying about it.

Advertisement

And what's his punishment? The real imprisonment? Playing second fiddle to his wife? Getting shunned by Obama? No. It's his inability to concede that he is little more than a national joke, a court jester who, contrary to tradition, doesn't speak the truth, and it is this image that he seems dedicated to pretending doesn't exist, the unspoken truth Baker ignores, too, in this act of journalistic adding and abetting.

  Slate Plus
Working
Dec. 18 2014 4:49 PM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 17 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked a middle school principal about his workday.