Althouse | category: Hillary



a blog by Ann Althouse

"It’s called lenticular fabric. It’s based on queer semiotics, specifically around cruising in bathrooms. The silhouette is modeled after a toilet seat."

Said Brandon Chu — who was wearing a very strange outfit — quoted in "What Julia Fox and Hillary Clinton Wore to Parties Last Week/Top outfits from the parties for Thierry Mugler, Air Mail, Pioneer Works and the National Portrait Gallery" (NYT).

Lots of wild photos at the link. Why Hillary Clinton is mixed in, I don't know... other than it's what tipped me into clicking. Chu and Clinton were not at the same party. Chu was at the Thierry Mugler party, and Clinton — who posed snuggling up to Nancy Pelosi — was at the National Portrait Gallery party. Hillary's got on a very roomy caftan. As for Chu's "lenticular" fabric, you don't really need to know. His quote stands on its own. Just a silly quote that's even sillier with Hillary on the same page.

"Lenticular" means "Having the form of a lens or of a lentil." Duckweed and red blood cells are lenticular. Is a toilet seat lenticular? Maybe he meant the toilet lid. Who knows? Who needs to know?

IN THE COMMENTS: Rabel says (correctly, I think):

I believe Mr. Chu may have been misquoted.

The "silhouette" refers to the stick figure characters. They are modeled on bathroom/toilet door male/female indicators, not toilet seats.

The lenticular fabric is, as noted above, a reflective material which reveals multiple images when viewed from different angles.

If you look closely at the photo you'll see that many of the figures are blurred as they are in mid-change when the photo was snapped.

Mr. Chu should demand a correction. This is important!

I read Chu's statement as  absurd, but with Rabel's interpretation, it makes perfect sense. A detail of the photo at the Times:

"Right-wing extremists already have a plan to literally steal the next presidential election, and they’re not making a secret of it."

Said Hillary Clinton, just the other day, to some group she addresses as "Indivisibles," quoted in "Hillary Clinton: 'Right-Wing Extremists Already Have A Plan To Literally Steal The Next Presidential Election'" (RCP).

It sounds like left-wing regulars already have a plan to "deny" the next presidential election, and they’re not making a secret of it.

I'm using their shibboleth "deny." I don't think challenging the results of an election is denying the election. At some point the results are sufficiently tested and so well proved that you're in denial if you don't accept the results, but even then you're not denying the election. You still believe in the election. You just don't think that the announced result represents the real election that took place. 

Hillary is laying the groundwork for her side to do exactly that in the next election. The "denying" rhetoric and the "stealing" rhetoric are crossing paths right now and acting like they don't recognize each other.

Hillary Clinton "did everything from trying to learn to tango to making acorn soup," she says.

Touting her new TV show, "Gutsy" on that old TV show, "The View."

If I understood correctly, this show consists of her and Chelsea getting together with some other celebrity mother and daughter — e.g., Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson — and all 4 of them getting "out of their comfort zone" by doing something they hadn't done before. How far out of your comfort zone is a particular dance when you have danced or a particular soup when you have made soup?

They do move on to the serious topic of the documents seized in the Mar-a-Lago raid. Hillary is sharp and substantive, avoiding the display of animus toward Trump. Asked if she thinks he will be indicted, she says: "I don't want to judge. I've been prejudged — wrongly — enough."

She wants to know how it was possible that these documents could have been moved to Mar-a-Lago, when they were in a category that, when she was Secretary of State, she would read in a secured room, supervised by a person who carried the document in a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. I wrote "when they were" and not "if they were" only because that's how she spoke. 

A fair-minded listener will contemplate making an inference that the documents at Mar-a-Lago were not documents in that category of secrecy. Perhaps Hillary herself was thinking that when she spoke of her own experience: "I don't want to judge. I've been prejudged — wrongly — enough."

Now, most people probably think she said that because she knows Trump's document problem is getting compared to her notorious email problem, and that's reason to distance herself. Let others jump into where-there's-smoke-there's-fire arguments. She got out the part that's most useful: Explaining the care taken with these documents. That's a basis for outrage against Trump.

But she left a ray of hope for him. She explained why it's just not possible that documents at that secrecy level traveled to Mar-a-Lago. Then, what happened? I won't prejudge, but just sketch out what could have happened: There really were no such documents found at Mar-a-Lago? Or: someone out to destroy Trump stuck these files in the boxes? As Hillary herself asked: Who packed these boxes?

She didn't add, but I'll add: Why wouldn't Trump, once asked, return the documents voluntarily out of concern for national security, a desire to look concerned for national security, and in order to fend off a swarm of FBI agents going through his entire home? 

Don't miss the moment at 7:10 when she stares down the camera and sternly intones: "No one is above the law."

A bit after that, Chelsea gets her turn to speak. She's such a lackluster speaker that she got no applause when she said — answering a question about a threat of violence if Trump is indicted — "I'm very concerned that we are in a country now where we have more guns than people." She even underscores it with: "We have more than 400 million guns that we know of in the United States." Not even a spatter of applause.

She struggles forward, eventually getting to the phrase "the white nationalist insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th" — said emphatically with a choppy hand gesture. And they didn't even clap for that! Even the most hot-headed, daring accusations turn bland coming from Chelsea. 

"I was interested to see that Hillary called Clarence Thomas a 'person of grievance.' That sounds like a phrase, whether newly minted or not, that Ann might be interested in discussing."

Wrote Norpois, in a comment in last night's open thread.
Is a "person of grievance" someone who overdoes their grievancing? as I think Hillary meant? More generally, aren't virtually ALL Hillary supporters "person of [some sort of] grievance"? I don't necessarily mean that in a condemnatory way. You could say, in a democracy, all political views are expressions of grievance. Is this a new phrase I've missed?
Here's the video clip of Hillary:

"I went to law school with him. He’s been a person of grievance for as long as I’ve known him. Resentment, grievance, anger."

I agree with Norpois that "person of grievance" sounds like a deliberate phrasing. The similarity to "person of color" seems non-accidental. She doesn't call him an "angry person of grievance" — though The Hill gives us that "quote" in its title for the video — but she says "anger" right after calling him a "person of grievance," so that feels as though it's wafting the stereotype "angry black man."

Now, is Justice Thomas more of a "person of grievance" than the sort of person of color that Democrats expect to vote for Democrats? Perhaps what's bothering Hillary Clinton is that Thomas stands back from the ministrations that Democrats offer to aggrieved persons. 

It makes me think of what Justice Thomas wrote at the beginning of his dissenting opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), which found that a subtle enough approach to affirmative action does not violate Equal Protection:
Frederick Douglass, speaking to a group of abolitionists almost 140 years ago, delivered a message lost on today’s majority:
“[I]n regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us… . I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! … [Y]our interference is doing him positive injury.”
What the Black Man Wants: An Address Delivered in Boston, Massachusetts, on 26 January 1865, reprinted in 4 The Frederick Douglass Papers 59, 68 (J. Blassingame & J. McKivigan eds. 1991) (emphasis in original). 
Like Douglass, I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators.

We all have grievances. But what do we do with them? Do we center our life on grievance? Do we align with a political party that offers to help us — perhaps in election after election — and then wait and see what form that help takes and whether it actually helps? Or do we become skeptical — like Douglass — and say "Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us!"

Thomas has made his position clear. It's the argument for going right-wing. Is that grievance or a withdrawal from a life full of grievance?

Hillary Clinton — a Democratic Party politician — wants to impugn him: A "person of grievance" seems like someone quite unpleasant. If you knew him as a schoolmate, you'd do that schoolkid shunning. And as an adult — an elderly adult! — you still want that old mean-girl action. 

You've heard of the smoking gun. Now comes the splattering ketchup.

From "Here's every word from the sixth Jan. 6 committee hearing on its investigation" (NPR):
He motioned for me to come in and then pointed towards the front of the room near the fireplace mantel and the TV, where I first noticed there was catsup dripping down the wall and there was a shattered porcelain plate on the floor. The valet had articulated that the President was extremely angry at the Attorney General's AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall, which was causing him to have to clean up. So I grabbed a towel and started wiping the catsup off of the wall to help the valet out. And he said something to the effect of, he's really ticked off about this. I would stay clear of him for right now. He's really, really ticked off about this right now..... There were — there were several times throughout my tenure with the Chief of Staff that I was aware of him either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth to let all the contents of the table go onto the floor and likely break or go everywhere.

Now that we know about the ketchup — "catsup" — what should we do? How off the norm is it to express anger in the White House by throwing an object? 

I think first of Hillary Clinton throwing a lamp at Bill. Did that happen? I'm seeing "That ‘Hillary Clinton threw a lamp/book/Bible’ story has been circulating for ages" (WaPo):

“Washington dinner parties [in 1993] were buzzing with stories of Hillary throwing — take your pick — a lamp, a briefing book or a Bible at Bill.”... Fast-forward to 1998, just after President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was revealed — and a full five years after the buzz over Hillary throwing books and lamps had become established Beltway lore [and there's a story that a] White House maid discovered blood all over the president and first lady’s bed, and called in a residence staffer.... 

Blood! At least it wasn't ketchup.

The lore is that Hillary threw "the infamous edition of 'Leaves of Grass' that Bill Clinton eventually gave to Lewinsky and that the first lady had discovered the gift intended for her husband’s mistress."

“It’s not certain” that the book was the Lewinsky one, “but the staffer’s memories paint a picture of the tension.” 

And then there’s the matter of lamp-tossing. [One book sources] the story to former florist Ronn Payne, who recalls hearing the Clintons fighting behind closed doors. He apparently heard Hillary call Bill a “goddamn bastard” and then the sound of a heavy object being thrown. 

“The rumor among the staff,” [says the book], “was that she threw a lamp.”... During a televised White House tour in June 1993, interviewer Katie Couric jokingly asked the first lady to point out where she was when she tossed a lamp at her husband. “Well, you know,” Clinton responded. “I’m looking for that spot, too.”

ADDED: Is this post unfair? Yes. That's deliberate. It's intended as a commentary on unfairness. The January 6th committee hearings are unfair. 

"Is it too much to hope that a broad coalition across party lines could commit to defeating candidates who have made clear they don’t respect truth or elections?"

Asks Jennifer Rubin, in "We need a plan to deny the election deniers victory" (WaPo). 

But where's the line between "election denying" and fighting for a victory after initial returns indicate your candidate has lost?

In August 2020, Hillary Clinton made a strong argument for contesting election results...

... and we remember how hard Al Gore fought for a victory in 2000 before finally conceding. Should we denounce Hillary and Al as "election deniers"? 

Can we form "a broad coalition across party lines" about how much post-election fighting is acceptable? Is the term "election denying" helpful? I don't think so. To me, it's too emotional. It feels like an effort to borrow resonance from "Holocaust denier." (Rubin also uses the term "big lie" twice.) 

Labels shouldn't take the place of substantive argument. We should see that some contesting of election results is normal and desirable and that at some point we need a result and we shouldn't be dragging out the fight in a search for perfection. We need a winner, and we need a way to declare a winner and move on. Let's be rational about that.

The shared standard has to be something that we'd accept when our candidate is on the losing side. It can't be that Democrats ought to fight hard, but Republicans must stand down.

Susan Rice talks about doing Sunday show appearances after the Benghazi attack — She was "a team player."

From an interview in The Atlantic with Edward-Isaac Dovere:
Dovere: The Sunday-show appearances around the Benghazi attack have become so much of your public identity. Your mother actually warned you not to do it, and thought Hillary Clinton should have instead. In the end, that became an issue getting in your way to be Obama’s secretary of state, and continues to be an issue Republicans attack you over now.

Rice: She said, “Why you?” And I said, “The White House asked me to do it.” And she’s like, “Well, where’s Hillary?” And I said that she’d been asked, but declined. And I presumed—I hadn’t had this conversation with her—that she had had an extraordinarily draining week, having lost four Americans in an American overseas facility, and all the pain and trauma that that entails for the people of the State Department, for the families, for everybody. But I agreed, as a team player. And her instinct was, “I smell a rat. You shouldn’t do it.” And I said, “Mom, don’t be ridiculous. I’ve done this many times before.” She was absolutely right.

Dovere: What did that experience teach you about the way that politics, and at least cable news, political media work?

Rice: First of all, the core lesson is always: Listen to your mother. I think this was what she was getting at, and what I suspect in retrospect that Secretary Clinton and other senior officials understood is, when you have a tragedy, a crisis of the sort we had in Benghazi and the terrorist attack, particularly in the height of a presidential campaign, a hot electoral season—it’s going to be politicized and the opposition is going to be looking to shoot the messenger as much as shoot at the message. And that’s what happened.

I wasn’t thinking about myself. I’m part of a team, a team that had a very hard week. We’ve lost our colleagues. Christopher Stevens, our ambassador in Libya, was somebody that I knew and worked with and respected and liked. It was painful for all of us and for me to think about myself, rather than think about the responsibility that the administration had to communicate to the American people, was not where my head was. And in retrospect, maybe it should have been. Maybe I should have been more self-centered in how I thought about it, because clearly it has not redounded to my benefit in right-wing circles. But if not that, I’m sure they would have found something else.

That was eight years ago, and it was sort of an early leading indicator of how ugly and dishonest our politics were going to get. Eight congressional committees investigated Benghazi ad nauseam through 2016, and not one of them found that I had done anything wrong or that I had deliberately misled the American people or anything else. The fact that really only one piece of that information later turned out to be inaccurate doesn’t make me a liar for having shared it and caveated it as our best current information. That could change. But it shows you how the right wing latches on to a meme or a caricature and drives it relentlessly, and they do it to this day. This one is tired and overwrought, and there’s no substance to it.

Frankly, for the Republicans to be harping on Benghazi in 2020, when under Donald Trump’s watch, three Americans were killed on a U.S. military base in Pensacola, Florida, last year in a terrorist attack inspired by al-Qaeda—what appears to be the first foreign-directed terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11—because the Defense Department failed to adequately vet the Saudi military personnel who are being trained on that base. But no investigation, no outrage, not a boo out of congressional Republicans. Four American servicemen were killed in a terrorist attack in Niger in West Africa on Donald Trump’s watch, and not a boo, not an investigation. Not an expression of concern. So this is all political distraction. And in a year when over 160,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 because of this president’s ineptitude and incompetence and disregard for human life, putting his own political interests above the health and well-being and the economy of the United States and the ability to educate our kids … they’re going to talk about Benghazi? I say fine, let them.
"It’s called lenticular fabric. It’s based on queer semiotics, specifically around cruising in bathrooms. The silhouette is modeled after a toilet seat."All of us? Or all except you? Hillary Clinton "did everything from trying to learn to tango to making acorn soup," she says."I was interested to see that Hillary called Clarence Thomas a 'person of grievance.' That sounds like a phrase, whether newly minted or not, that Ann might be interested in discussing.""Is it too much to hope that a broad coalition across party lines could commit to defeating candidates who have made clear they don’t respect truth or elections?"

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