Saturday, January 20, 2007

Spousal Limitations on the Campaign Trail: Or, is X the new Y?

Hillary Clinton's official announcement, that she is entering the race to become U.S. President number 44, has journalists trying out all sorts of ways to represent her relationship to number 42 -- or more specifically, deciding what facts about her marriage are relevant to reporting the campaign.

For numbers 41 and 43, the relationship was technically straightforward -- father-son -- though, as Maureen Dowd likes to remind us, psychologically fraught, having eventually played an untoward, if not grotesque, role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. For x-chromosome Clinton (née Rodham) and y-chromosome Clinton (né Blythe), the journalistic options are thorny from the outset: at what point in any given article does one note her marital status and mate? Must Monica Lewinsky appear in every item? Would it not be perverse, in these years when U.S. and Iraqi citizens are dying to settle the Shrub's old scores with Dad, if the 2008 campaign became a replay of Bill Clinton's impeachment trial?

Seeing in every weighty public matter its funhouse mirror image in pop culture, I present yet another link to The Onion: "Kevin Federline, Wife Divorce." My favorite bit? The part where the unnamed "spouse" is defined as "a 24-year-old entertainer who worked as a singer and foreground dancer at Federline performances." Foreground dancer! Priceless.

No comments: