The National Home Movie

By Greenfield, Meg | Newsweek, August 24, 1998 | Go to article overview

The National Home Movie


Greenfield, Meg, Newsweek


Anyone tall enough to reach a microphone has joined the gabfest on what Clinton can say

The only assigned role in life that i ever heartily embraced was that of little-sister snitch. I was really good at it. My parents loved to relate how one day, in about my fifth year, they were standing on the stair landing as I made my preoccupied way up, eyes on the rug, intently rehearsing and rearranging the separate parts of yet another highly doctored tale of woe: "First he hit me, then he pinched me, then he threw all my jacks out the window. No, first he pinched me and then he hit me and he threw my Patsy Doll out the window " Imagine my chagrin at bumping into my parents, literally, on the stair landing. They had been struggling to contain their laughter, so as not to impede my creativity.

I of course understood at once that this particular game was up, that having been seen to be weighing various alternatives and refurbishing them for effect, I had fatally undermined the plausibility of my story. My question is this: if even a troublemaking 5-year-old could figure this out way back then, how come subsequent generations of grown politicians, starting sometime in the '50s, have seemed not to understand it. I'm speaking not just of the incredible airing of strategies and tactics and versions of the truth that White House aides and political advisers have, in the past few weeks, been trying out on us--partly to test our reaction, I think, and partly to show how clever they are. I am speaking of a growing trend in our politics as a whole.

Not just a few close advisers, but lots of advisers and journalists and pollsters and pollees (if there's such a term) have entered enthusiastically into these weird national round tables on alibis, strategies, electoral mugging techniques and the rest, in an unashamed effort to reach a consensus on what it will take to buy us off, or to finish off some opponent or to overcome a well-justified belief in some politician's disqualifying history. I write at a moment shortly before President Clinton is scheduled to testify under oath in the Lewinsky case, and I have no idea which, if any, of the many "scenarios" that were being floated by those purportedly in the know he may pursue. I know only that the contingent quality of most of them--if the DNA test turns out this way, he will say this, if it doesn't, then he will say that, etc.--has not exactly worked to bolster faith in whatever accounting he finally makes.

Over four decades ago, I was in school in England and thus, to my great disappointment, unable to see Nixon's Checkers speech on television. This did not prevent my having an opinion about it, based on the cringe-making text. When my stepmother came visiting in the spring she attempted to set me straight. If only I had seen him, she protested, I'd have known "that boy" was sincere. She had cried. So had her best friend Helen. She and Helen are both gone now, but I am morally certain that in the 1990s context she would have said something else. She might well have come out on the "let's put it behind us" side. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The National Home Movie
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.