Topic: White Water

Camille Explains Why Women are Such Suckers for Clinton's Lies

3 February 1999 Camille Paglia

Dear Camille:

The gender differences in the reaction to President Clinton have got me thinking about whether there may be gender differences in attitudes toward lying. I remember Sissela Bok writing that lying is a form of violence because society cannot exist if it tolerates either one.

I have a bunch of speculative thoughts on this, but I will spare you them except to say that it really does seem to me that it doesn't bother women as much as it does men, or at least me, whom it bugs immensely. I would appreciate your free associating about the subject in that clear-minded way you have.

Doug Matthews
Fall River, MA

Dear Mr. Matthews:

While gender differences do seem marked in response to the White House sex scandal, I must say I haven't noticed they focus on lying. Can it be that your location -- cheek-by-jowl with ultra-liberal eastern Massachusetts -- has something to do with the cavalier attitudes that vex you?

Lying is something that men in fact do very well and may have learned to survive and thrive in the cut-throat primitive world. Homer's fierce Odysseus, for example, is beloved by the goddess Athena for his verve and facility in lying. My colleague, Jack DeWitt, has long regaled me with his firsthand observations of the ingrained competitiveness of heterosexual males, who from early adolescence on joust for supreme narrative position in boastful tales of conquest -- asserting their fictitious prowess in landing the biggest fish, slamming the biggest home run or scoring with the gal with the biggest boobs.

What radio sultan Rush Limbaugh calls the "arousal gap" in reactions to Clinton comes, I suspect, from women's half-conscious maternal indulgence, which sees the president as a bumbling, puplike toddler needing petting and pabulum. Clintonian sex is all about simpering smiles and sucking, isn't it?

Tit for tat,
Where's Hillary at?
In bimbo time,
She's out with the cat!

Feminists should be mortified by the cover of the Jan. 23-29 issue of the Economist, which shows how naive the United States looks from abroad. "Foolish Love," blares the headline over a news photo of a row of American women gazing raptly up with flushed cheeks and goo-goo eyes at Clinton, invisibly orating on a platform. The 19th century suffrage movement had to defeat the argument that women are not rational enough to vote and that they would deform the body politic by hysterical (literally, "womb-engendered") emotion. The Clinton administration, for all its professed feminism, must have Susan B. Anthony spinning in her grave.

Camille may be an Amazonian lesbian, but she occasionally hits the mark, as Diana the Huntress would have done in Greek mythology.

Posted by: Publius () *
02/05/99 09:54:14 PST