Magazine article The Spectator

Semen and Semantics

Magazine article The Spectator

Semen and Semantics

Article excerpt

New Hampshire

`WE WERE in denial,' said one junior White House staffer. `Not any more.' For the past seven months, Washington has been Hans Christian Andersen country. The King, having been caught in the altogether, summoned his Queen and told her, `To a fool, I appear to be absolutely naked. But, to a wise and intelligent woman such as yourself, it is obvious that what you are looking at is a vast right-wing conspiracy.'

He called for the Royal Court to convene and told his Ministers and Counts and Dukes, `To a fool, I appear to be a reckless narcissist and shameless liar. But, to men and women of reasonable bent such as yourselves, it is obvious that what you are looking at is a politically motivated investigation led by an unaccountable, outof-control, partisan prosecutor.'

He sent for the Ladies of the Court and said, `To a fool, I appear to be a sexual predator so concerned with immediate self-gratification that the palace intern didn't even have time to get her dress off. But, to progressive feminist thinkers such as yourselves, it is obvious that what you are looking at is a vicious campaign by political reactionaries to eliminate a woman's right to choose.'

Finally, the King received the Town Criers and told them, `To a right-wing talkradio shock jock, I appear to be wearing a cocktail dress with semen all over it. But, to distinguished members of the Fourth Estate such as yourselves, it is obvious that what you are looking at is a media feeding frenzy that raises serious questions about press ethics in the information age.'

And yea, the Town Criers went among the populace and proclaimed, `Hear ye, hear ye! To gun nuts, Clinton-haters and uptight guys who couldn't get laid in high school, the King appears to be an embarrassing buffoon staggering around with a permanent stiffie. But, to a complacent, prosperous electorate such as yourselves, that's just the Dow Jones shooting up past 9,000.' And for seven months the Queen, the Ministers, the Ladies and the Town Criers danced around the cobbled streets of Washington gleefully denouncing the independent counsel:

This suit of Ken's is altogether But altogether, it's altogether The most ridiculous suit to bring Against a sitting King....

But on Monday night something went badly wrong. The King went on television and for the first time he looked, well, kinda naked. At first, everything seemed much as usual. In Seattle, Dallas, Charleston and Providence, the news shows rounded up the usual vox pops. The antiClinton crowd said: lying to the American people is wrong; this man has dishonoured his office; the President should be held to the same standards as any other citizen, etc. The Clinton defenders said: hey, everyone lies; or, anyway, everyone lies about sex; or, everyone in Washington lies; or, everyone in Washington lies about sex.

The President's and his party's problem is that these are now the only defenders left. The so-called `Clinton true believers' are no more. More importantly, the measured, moderate, respectable opinion within the governing class - the well-nowlet's-just-hold-off-on-that-rush-tojudgment/presumption-of-innocence/Ibelieve-my-President line - has collapsed as quickly as his pants.

When Monica's dress was being forensically examined, commentators compared it with the seminal `hair gel' scene in this summer's hit film comedy, There's Something About Mary: the leading man, after a hurried bout of self-abuse, answers the door to his date unaware that his, ahem, ejaculate is hanging from his ear. The difference is that Bill Clinton's ejaculations wind up dripping from everyone else's ears and noses: on Monday the First Lady, the secretaries of state, commerce, health and education and the other senior Democrats who'd gone out on a limb for him were left with DNA all over their faces.

On Tuesday, when they were supposed to be working the phones to drum up Congressional support, White House staffers were too demoralised even to make the calls. …

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