"Who Are You to Judge Me?" Hillary's Secret Diary Peers into the Glass House of a Brick Thrower
June 7, 2007
Bill was wrong. The TV did not distract me from the weekend media cycle, used to trot out the latest Hillary-as-Lady-Macbeth biographies. Yet the stress is gone, and I feel both serene and mildly exhilarated after watching, of all things, a show about
Ah, the poetic justice of it all. Life in
Wow. Look at how I digress. What caused me to go off on a tangent, writing a whole paragraph about Karl Rove? It really has been a long week for Bill and me.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand, which is the latest Sopranos episode….
There was plenty of killing and double crossing and tortured syntax… the standard stuff. And then a scene that put a lump in my throat. On the surface, everything looks innocuous – a professional dinner party. Beneath the surface, ….what’s that diagnostic term used by the Freudians? Oh yes! Beneath the surface - a classic countertransferential circle jerk. (
The scene: We learn that Tony’s psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi, socializes with her own therapist, Elliot (boundary issues?) because they’re both at the same sit-down dinner party. Elliot tosses out a little misogynistic stink bomb disguised as an intellectual cliché - that women in romances with prisoners buy into a “rescue fantasy-- they think they can save them.” Somebody else mentions the famous study that says talk therapy only teaches sociopaths to become more manipulative. Melfi responds that studies can be contradicted.
And then … one of those pivotal plot points that turns everything upside down, and amplifies, once again, the parallel lives of gangsters and upscale suburbanites – they uphold their respective notions of honor by lying to themselves and to others. Elliot retorts, "I only suggested you reevaluate your work with... Leadbelly, or be prepared to deal with moral and possibly legal consequences." The other dinner guests do their inevitable double-take, (as I learned in
Dr. Melfi calls Elliott on his betrayal of their professional and doctor/patient, relationships. (The more appropriate response would have been, “So now you release your geyser of unexamined hostility toward me you pretentious quack?”)
Elliott replies, “I never mentioned his name and I never said he was a covert operative.” …
(Memo to me: Why do I keep getting these mental flashes about Karl Rove? I’ll write about that tomorrow….)
Elliott maintains his insufferably misogynistic and patronizing tone, "Chill out, we're among friends, we're all professionals."
That brief scene, dear diary, tells you everything you need to know about my relationship with the
And Elliot even looks a little bit like Carl Bernstein. Speaking of circle jerks, earlier today I went through the transcript of Bernstein’s hour-long interview with Charlie Rose. Bernstein says my problem is that I am not authentic. By my count, Bernstein and Rose used some form of that word (“authenticity”, “inauthentic”) about 32 times.
I presumed that “inauthenticity” was a generic it’s-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder type of shortcoming, but as therapist Elliot said, you’ve got to “be prepared to deal with moral and possibly legal consequences."
ROSE: Should she be president?
BERNSTEIN: I think that she should be president if she becomes authentic again.
ROSE: Do you believe somebody between now and November of 2008, who you judge not to be inauthentic, is going to become authentic? Do you?
BERNSTEIN: I think that, look, we have had a catastrophic presidency for eight -- six years now. And the nature and extent of this catastrophe we’re going to be paying for, for generations. And it is about time that we find a way to elect somebody who is authentic and moves away from a broken political system.
So if I don’t become authentic voters should be prepared to face the moral and possibly legal consequences of what went wrong under President Bush. Sounds perimenopausal.
So where’s the evidence, Mr. judge-of-all-authenticity? Exhibit A:
BERNSTEIN: she flunked her bar exam and never admitted it to anybody for 30 years. But what it says is, OK, what does that mean? If the people I talked to who are closest to her -- Nancy Hernreich, one of her closest friends, Deborah Sale, Web Hubbell -- they didn’t know she had flunked the bar exam. And Williams & Connolly lawyers, where she said, oh, well, they wanted to hire me -- she couldn’t have gone to work there unless she was going to be a paralegal or took the bar again, and she never did.
So it comes back to this question of there is an inauthenticity is a word that I have used, not in the book but in discussing it, about the way she presents herself, what she stands for, and the reality of the record.
I’ll bet Bernstein learned that I failed the D.C. bar from reading my memoir. He makes it sound like this is some big skeleton in my closet, like some suicide attempt or an arrest for shoplifting. I thought it was a small pimple on my early career.
And what “about the way [Carl Bernstein] presents himself, what he stands for, and the reality of the record”? Can he lay claim to being an authentic journalist? Not in my book.
To me, an authentic journalist respects 1st Amendment rights for all people all the time, and opposes any prior restraint on expression of thoughts and ideas, especially works of fiction. In other words, an authentic journalist does not threaten
So why wouldn’t he talk about what happened thirty years ago? It’s a simple story. Carl marries Nora Ephron in April 1976. Three years later, 7-months pregnant Nora learns what le tout
I too was very much pregnant in 1979. (In that same year Bill became Governor of Arkansas, and I was made a full partner at Rose Law Firm). Coincidentally, Bernstein’s second son, Max, is the same age as my
Carl wrote that Nora’s screenplay “continues the tasteless exploitation and public circus Nora has made of our lives and what should have been our family’s private sadness.”
But Mr. Authenticity, noticing parallels between his marriage and mine, would never let it affect the tone of the biography.
CHARLIE ROSE: Do you believe somebody between now and November of 2008, who you judge not to be authentic, is going to become authentic? Do you?
CARL BERNSTEIN: I think that, look, we have had a catastrophic presidency for eight -- six years now. And the nature and extent of this catastrophe we’re going to be paying for, for generations. And it is about time that we find a way to elect somebody who is authentic and moves away from a broken political system.
That’s the trouble with men like Carl. They get hysterical so easily.
Anyway….. I just hope the final Sopranos episode gives us all some closure.
Tags: Clinton , Sopranos , Bush , Bernstein
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