-Amy Carter, America's Greatest First Daughter,
asked (at age 9) if she had a message for the children of America
AND No, I wouldn't be happier if Chelsea Clinton had run off with the gardener, or the maid, or the gardener and the maid. I don't care. A second-generation Jewish tailor's kid who helps Goldman Sachs screw widows and orphans? It's a nice touch, so very DLC. Am I supposed to think it's more egalitarian than whichever one of the Jennas marrying Thurston Howell VII? I don't. I don't care. I just wanna know why I had no choice but listen to three weeks of coverage, and, especially, three weeks of that coverage.
One: Lots of people hate Bill Clinton for lots of reasons. I never cared for his politics, but I was still young enough in 1992 to believe a moderate Democratic president was better than twelve years of Reagan/Bush. Which, of course, it was, in the same way eczema beats a screwworm infestation. Anyway, this whole process has served to remind me of my own reason: that the man not only named his daughter after a Joni Mitchell song, but then admitted in public that he'd done so. I happen to carry around zero nostalgia and even less idealism, but all the creative energy of a decade that gave us Dylan and Lennon and Beefheart and Hendrix and the Velvets, and the Free World winds up being run by a couple of Donovan fans.
Two: It wouldn't change my opinion if the new Mrs. Mezvinsky were the actual daughter of the actual sitting President, or had been named HRH The Official People's Princess II by People itself, which is how the thing was covered. I don't fucking wanna watch thirty-six hours of whatever Bush Twin is left unmarried picking out china patterns and bridesmaid dresses, but now we're doomed to that. Didn't these people hate the Clintons as recently as Hillary's nomination for State, which Bill was going to totally ruin because he'd be acting like co-Secretary, and hogging the limelight, because he always does, because they're just a couple of power-mad power junkies, and racists, to boot, who were certain to get divorced as soon as his Presidency ended because their marriage was nothing but a political sham? How, in just eighteen months, do we go from that to the Storybook Wedding of their Storybook Daughter tout le monde is attending while the Unwashed gawk?
Kee-rist. My Poor Wife had that sorry-assed CBS morning program on Saturday, for some reason; this reminded me that the Tiffany Network was both the first to cave to Nixon's anti-press campaign and the corporate megalith which brought you Sally Quinn. They turned the whole--what is it?--six hours into a wedding trade show, complete with suggestions about where to stash Grandma and Papaw so they don't embarrass everyone with their geriatricitude or bladder-control issues but still feel a part of things (I'm not kidding), and intro/exit graphics featuring "American Royal Weddings" (I…okay, you know I'm not kidding about that) with, to use the one example I saw before I had to go scream, Maria Shriver and Ah-nuld. Plus the Bridal Diet. The groom, presumably, needn't diet since he'll be throwing up a third of his body weight the night before. How did we wind up back in the Fifties, again?
Ah, well, at least the old attitude was still able to poke through, particularly in reports of how fabulously wealthy the Clintons had grown since he left office, and what the damned thing was costing. But the spark is gone; being fabulously wealthy however obtained entitles the bearer to unlimited Press tongue baths, so long as he's not President and didn't earn $10 of it in a $40,000 Arkansas land deal. I guess it's reasonable for the Fourth Estate to expect some ice cream and a little neck massage at the end of the day. And the open bar, of course.
Who lives like this, or wants to, and who th' fuck cares? I don't mean Who'll give a minute or two to feature news once in a while, or Who is willing to pretend someone else's million-dollar bash brightens their own lives or performs the vital task of hoodwinking another generation about monogamy for an hour (though, if we're so enamored of Love Itself then let's start by letting everyone play th' game). Whose hatred for his neighbor is ameliorated by the shine of that neighbor's new car or the lush of his lawn? If you knew someone in meatspace who thought like that, who called you over to impart the latest cigar-based sexual gossip about the Hendersons, and ended up enthusing over their new carpet for ninety minutes, how wide a berth would you give him in the future? Where is the goddam audience for endless drooling covetousness, and why doesn't it have anything better to do?
I know, I know, it must've cost the Clintons a small fortune to let everyone know how jealously they were guarding their daughter's privacy. And I guess, in the modern era, that entitles you to as much coverage as can possibly be squeezed out. We can't expect anything else. We don't deserve anything else. But how would it be if, for once, that sort of thing convinced everyone to just lay th' fuck off? Like the Simpons episode where Marge gets Itchy and Scratchy to renounce violence, and children quit watching teevee as a result, and discover the joys of fresh air: we'd be back electrocuting small animals inside a month. Anything to escape the interior of our own skulls.