Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Why did Bill marry her ?

Mills of the gods

My own personal paper of record, The New York Daily News, is stirring up irrelevant controversy in the New York Senate race. Of course irrelevant controversy is the only reason to read the Daily News, so they are just doing their job.

It seems that one of their reporters was on a Jet Blue flight to Rochester and was sitting next to Hillary Clinton's Republican opponent, John Spencer. Spencer is not exactly a household name. He is the former Mayor of Yonkers, New York. Yonkers is not really a household name either, although I wrote about it in these pages as one of the four or five towns in America where a person was most likely to get a finger bitten off.

Anyway, the "mayor" and his wife and this reporter were all looking at magazines and newspapers and started talking about some New York politician of the female variety whom they felt had had "a lot of work done." The implication being that she had once been ugly and was now, through the miracle of plastic surgery, presentable. This guy Spencer, who should really know ugly, based on the amount of time he has probably spent with nine fingered women, then opined that Hillary had had "millions" of dollars or work. As proof he pointed out how unattractive she was in college.

Hillary was unattractive in college. But she was trying to be. I knew lots of liberal women in college who felt that feminism required that they make themselves as unpresentable as possible so that you could show how serious they were about women's issues. That, combined with some goofy glasses she had back then did put her on the doggie side of the pound, there is no doubt about it. I doubt that even Hillary would dispute that. Still, how did most people look the 70s ? A lot like Hillary did, even the men.It was a singularly inattractive decade because it focused more on issues than looks. Reagan changed all of that in the next decade.

This story has dominated the New York Daily News front pages for two days now. It does point out how exciting the New York Senate race is, when the focus is on how someone looked thirty years ago. It also points out that perhaps my reading habits are not as rarified as they should be. But I find myself drifting that way more and more. A few years ago, I realized that I live in the reddest of the red states and thus my particular vote is generally more a protest than a meaningful ballot. Who really cares if the Republicans get 60% or 61% of the vote ?

But this realization set me free. If I can't influence the nation's events, I can at least enjoy them. It was at that point that I turned from the New York Times to the Daily News. I read the tabloids in any city I am in before I read a "real" newspaper.It is not only American writing at it's most colorful, but is also a histroy lesson. 100 years ago, all papers were like the Tabloids, except worse (better). Because they had to compete with each other, they had to be more colorful each day. The truth became incidental to the story.

We have come full circle on that now. Now, before the truth ever gets out it is micromanaged and "spun" by "handlers" so that only a controlled version of the truth ever emerges. What is a "controlled" version of the truth except another term for a lie. I prefer my lies "unspun", freshly delivered. That's why I prefer the tabloids. I get the same amount of truth, in a much more colorful package ! Why did Bill marry Hillary Mr. Spencer is alleged to have asked the Daily News reporter ? Because Bill knows that the plainest subject can be spun into a colorful package. The same reason I read the Daily News.

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