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joanr16

...why the Media doesn't obsess over the tawdry sex lives of the likes of John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Newt Gingrich the way they obsess over Bill Clinton's.

Because the idea of those first three guys having sex at all is gross?

burritoboy


"I think that this is because most of the Beltway Insiders are Baby Boomers, a generation that, since, oh, about 1972, has had a particularly difficult time admitting its age."

Effectively: what happens when the Revolution (the attempted revolution of '68 in this case) fails?

This particular problem stems from precisely the same problem that led to the Boomers' political failure in '68: there was no thought given to any concrete issues beyond those that immediately confronted the Boomers themselves. The French version of '68 was at least more honest and open about what the Boomers might do with the middle-aged and beyond if the revolution succeeded (answer: kill them, in general).

Without a plausible philosophy that includes a realistic version of the life-cycle, the Boomers are of course utterly lost about how to be adults. They don't know what that word actually might mean.

Two, Boomers never had an actual vocabulary for the concrete actions of ruling. Hint: that's the reason so many plays, poems and histories before 1800 are focused on political ruling - so that viewers/readers could develop their thinking about what it means to rule. The Boomers' archetypal field of study, Sociology, is precisely intentionally devoid of tools to understand how a single politician can act.

Thus, Boomers simply don't have any way to understand individual politicians but to analyze the personal lives of politicians- "the personal is the political" in their obnoxious phrase. But they have no yardsticks there either within the personal realm but the authenticity / inauthenticity line - i.e. "phonies are bad". Boomers already know these conservative politicians are scum - but since conservatives' "true selves" are scum, conservatives are thus at least being authentic by just being scum. Bill Clinton, however, is a phoney, because he promised / pretended to be good, but since he was scummy to women....he's a phoney.

sfmike

That's a great slapdown analysis of our press corps and I think you get to the heart of it, though I wouldn't blame the "baby boomers" in particular, if only because it makes burritoboy apoplectic.

I particularly like your wrapup: "Rather than speculate on whether or not there's another Monica in his life ... the Media Insiders might tell us about the actual work he does and how that work is part of the reason Hillary is as popular as she is. But that's not sexy."

mark

No, no NO! Its because those 3 guys are Republicans. You don't think there is anything to it other than that, do you? It has nothing to do with any real affections or logic.

Its OK if you're a Republican. Media rule #1.

KC45s

Putting aside the reports of Chrispundit's simple obsession with sex (as hinted at by Bob Somersby and others), I wonder if two things in particular do not drive the guy's rabid attitude toward the Clintons. First, it seems to me Matthews and many, many other big-name media figures (on TV and op-ed pages) made their bones amidst the Clinton "scandals." The 24/7 Monica coverage helped fuel the ascendence of Russert, Mo Dowd, Matthews himself, Fox News entirely--the list goes on and on. Some of these people no doubt look back on the 1990s as a great time. Lots of attention. Book deals. Ratings. Promotions. And Lord knows what other perks. All this--the world is yours!

It would be human nature for them to forget the "little people" they were before the Clinton Years; perhaps Matthews (and others) prefer to define themselves through the successful men and women they became, thanks to that decade. They probably can't help but whip up The Sequel and see where that takes them.

Second point. I've long considered it too pat to think Matthews hates the Clintons because of their long-rumored refusal to give him the White House press flak job. But watching him, I think this could be valid. I mean, he's incredibly agitated when the discussion gets warmed up. Even beyond his usual "I-drink-soft-drinks-mixed-with-Pixie-Dust-and-Sudafed" presentation. Not knowing the guy, and being unlikely to vacation on the Vineyard with him anytime soon, I can't say for sure it's personal. But man, at this point, it wouldn't surprise me.

Anyway, good post.

jonst

B-boy...What fuckin "revolution in 68" failed? What the fuck are you talking about. Define "revolution", failed or otherwise?

Lance, one of the rare times you disappointed me. Not that you owe me anything....but man, the sweeping generalizations you fling out. "Generalizations", ironically enough,whipped up, pushed, refined, peddled, endlessly, by the same superficial media you so rightly, and in many cases, brilliantly, criticize. The"greatest generation ever" (how the civil war generation would resent that title going to someone else)boomers, Punk, X, whatever. Large swaths of divergent people, diced up and handed the same handle. What a crock of shit.

JD

My question: why does anyone care whether Bill Clinton has "snapped the leash"? Do they think that Sen. Clinton can't run the country if she can't run Bill? To paraphrase the old saw about comedy and drama, being the Chief Executive of a country is easy; marriage is hard.

This would all be kind of amusing if I didn't know for a fact that any number of women will never vote for Sen. Clinton because she didn't kick her husband to the curb over his past indiscretions.

burritoboy


"B-boy...What fuckin "revolution in 68" failed? What the fuck are you talking about. Define "revolution", failed or otherwise?"

The American branch of '68 was particularly theoretically muddy, disorganized and vague. But there was an attempt at worldwide revolution - in France, they call it May 68. As they said in Paris then: "La révolution est incroyable parce que vraie."

jonst

bboy,

There was no revolution. I know because Gil Scott swore it would be televised if it went down.

The powers that be knew it was in their interest to portray what was happening in 1968 as a revolution. It got Nixon elected. And it finally secured the South for the GOP.

Victoria

I have been thinking about this one. So far, I haven't been able to buy the boomer anti-aging reason for the Bill treatment. I suspect it's a kind of primal jealousy. I have heard so many people who have seen Bill Clinton in person comment that they were knocked out by how physically attractive he is. Apparently, it stuns a lot of people. Charisma alone is daunting. Charisma plus sex appeal is overwhelming...and perhaps downright annoying to the narcissistic bunch that passes for reporters these days.

strawhat

Victoria: Not only that, but he's the smartest guy in town -- and he's not "one of us." He's a working-class kid from (where?!?) Arkansas, and that alone is enough to drive the beltway snobs completely insane. Because if a smart kid from Arkansas can make it to the top on nothing else but his own smarts & charisma, that means their connections and pedigrees (on which they've based their careers, if not their lives) don't mean a damn thing.

And that drives them out of their minds.

Snobbery is a terrible thing.

Juno

My father - born in 1937 - had a gut level revulsion for Bill Clinton that I finally came to understand had to do with the fact that for men of his generation and background - prep school, Ivy league, etc - morality is largely equivalent to sexual morality, rather than any larger standard of behavior or ethics. I'm generalizing about the men of his generation thing - but it really did seem connected to his education and social upbringing.

Bill Clinton was so obvious, so sexual, so unapologetic...so self-made....so everything that my dad had been raised to be the opposite of that he just couldn't see straight when those qualities manifested in the President. It just offended him on a visceral level.
It was not as simple as snobbery, there was a kind of mesmerized resentment in it. too.

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