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"This was what college students did before Facebook."
July 29, 2007 12:49 PM   Subscribe

Hillary Clinton as Lisa Simpson!? Not sure if I put my finger on it, but that's my impression reading some excerpts from letters Hillary Clinton wrote to a high school friend whilst in college. I've been entertaining Barack Obama as Lincoln -- an impression he's actively cultivated (so, another Simpsons tie-in :) -- and I welcome uncanned glimpses into candidates' formative years to get a better idea of their 'character' (as if they're running on character and 'bio') so it was great to read her reminisce on her childhood: "I'd play out in the patch of sunlight that broke the density of the elms in front of our house and pretend there were heavenly movie cameras watching my every move."
posted by kliuless (42 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. Those are some very unfortunate striped pants.

It had to be said.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:56 PM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I liked the part where she quoted Khalil Gibran.
posted by william_boot at 1:13 PM on July 29, 2007


I've only read the first link so far, and plan to read the rest when I have time.

I can help but admiring Hillary's intelligence at the time. I'm a sophomore in college and like to think of myself as an intelligent person with intelligent friends, but I don't believe I've met someone who seems as smart as she was.
posted by Defenestrator at 1:13 PM on July 29, 2007


I can't help***
posted by Defenestrator at 1:14 PM on July 29, 2007


in 20 or 30 years are we going to be reading some AIM logs from a future president?
posted by delmoi at 1:15 PM on July 29, 2007


I am not Hillary Clinton's #1 fan, but I like these letters. She comes across as thoughtful and endearingly unpolished and self-absorbed.

“How about a compassionate misanthrope?”-- that's funny. And her perception, and willingness to mention, that her pal was a "reactor" rather than an "actor" is a perceptive point, and a balance or a choice that everyone faces.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:17 PM on July 29, 2007


delmoi: yes.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:18 PM on July 29, 2007


What kind of friend turns your personal correspondence over to a newspaper before you're dead? Shockingly bad form.
posted by Abiezer at 1:20 PM on July 29, 2007


Note to self: don't ever become famous enough that the New York Times would even CONSIDER publishing the crap you wrote to people in your 20s. No no no no no.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:22 PM on July 29, 2007


Maybe the kind of friend that thinks it will actually help you achieve your goals?
Or maybe even the kind of friend that was asked to turn over the letters to the NYT by her campaign advisors?
posted by sour cream at 1:25 PM on July 29, 2007


WOW. I was just checking in to the blue, saw this post, went meh, clicked on Encyclopedia Brittanica in My Favorites, and on the front page ....... The Simpsons. I'm a-sceered!!!!!
posted by wafaa at 1:30 PM on July 29, 2007


You're second's a point I'd not considered, sour cream. I would hope there was some agreement beforehand. Because even if well intentioned, it wouldn't be a done thing for me without.
posted by Abiezer at 1:37 PM on July 29, 2007


sour cream, the guy gave out the letter when Hillary was first lady.
In the late 1990s, Mr. Peavoy was contacted by the author Gail Sheehy, who was researching a book on the first lady. He agreed to let Ms. Sheehy see the letters, from which she would quote snippets in her 1999 biography, “Hillary’s Choice.” When Mrs. Clinton heard that Mr. Peavoy had kept her old letters, she wrote him asking for copies, which he obliged. He has not heard from her since.
Your theory maybe right for the re-spin of the story now, but I doubt the letters are not authentic.

I personally like very much how she comes across in those letters. She would make an excellent Mefi poster, don't you think?
posted by carmina at 1:56 PM on July 29, 2007


What kind of friend turns your personal correspondence over to a newspaper before you're dead? Shockingly bad form.

Well, interestingly Hillary had actually told him that she'd be keeping his letters to sell when he was famous.
posted by delmoi at 1:57 PM on July 29, 2007


I think letters such as these are released to show how passionate she could be, and how human, to the people who only see her as a dry, shrill cuckold. They certainly aren't winning over any Nascar dads.

To me, however, they only highlight how much she's abandoned. It seems to me persons as confident and volatile as the girl in those letters are sometimes the ones to wind up farthest from their original ideals, painted into a corner.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:41 PM on July 29, 2007


I can't help but like the person who wrote those letters. Whether she still exists is another matter, though I'm certain that that intelligence remains. Reading through her thoughts, I can't help but wonder why very little of that sophistication is present in her (or, really, anyone else's) political speech.

A hollow musing it is, I guess, because the answer is an obvious one. I don't know whether to be comforted by the fact that some of our famous politicians only appear to be mindless churls or disturbed that they are required to be so for their audience.
posted by invitapriore at 2:53 PM on July 29, 2007


Reading through her thoughts, I can't help but wonder why very little of that sophistication is present in her (or, really, anyone else's) political speech.

This is why most conservatives distrust them. They are instinctively suspicious that they are hiding something, which happens to be their intelligence.
posted by Brian B. at 3:21 PM on July 29, 2007


Ambrosia Voyuer;
To me, however, they only highlight how much she's abandoned.

I don't know how old you are, but I am over sixty.

For most people (probably for everyone who doesn't work long and hard against it) the years past thirty are dominated by subtractions. Or 'focus', to the incurably optimistic.
posted by hexatron at 3:36 PM on July 29, 2007 [9 favorites]


hexatron: I'm young, 26. I have a lot in common with that girl in the letters. But I'm no stranger to your concept of "focus." I'm on the verge of abandoning my the unknown satisfaction of attaining my uppermost career goals to known contentment of togetherness with family and friends. The scale of "life balance" teeters forever, however imperceptibly. Focus isn't a bad thing at all.

But the kind of passion and self-examination in her letters leaves me hard, hard pressed to understand why she decided to spend a moment of her time fighting sex in video games. She's bought, per Occam's razor.

Obama's measured demeanor is "focused" with regard to the (really interesting if I may say so) life experiences and revelations described in Dreams from My Father, but it's not inconsistent with them. I get that feeling from Hillary.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:57 PM on July 29, 2007


I cannot responsibly vote for anyone that at any point in their adult lives thought that those pants were reasonable for public viewing outside of a circus tent. They may as well be telling me they believe in UFOs, pyramid power and Gotam, God of Fire.

"Yo ... Bippity the Clown ... step away from the nuclear codes."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:06 PM on July 29, 2007


I cannot responsibly vote for anyone that at any point in their adult lives thought that those pants were reasonable for public viewing outside of a circus tent.

Vive la différence. I actually think they're pretty cool, dated, but cool. Think about the fact that a young Hillary Rodham was wearing them when she, by pretty much anyone's definition, was a total square. I can't even imagine what the hip kids were wearing.
posted by psmealey at 4:13 PM on July 29, 2007


heavenly movie cameras watching my every move.

in the major league baseball spy satellite.
posted by quonsar at 4:19 PM on July 29, 2007


I'd [have] hit it.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 4:20 PM on July 29, 2007


Wow. These are really great letters.
So, exactly when did the Pod People replicate her?
posted by 235w103 at 5:55 PM on July 29, 2007


She's pretty cool.
posted by caddis at 6:05 PM on July 29, 2007


Hillary was president of the Young Republicans at Wellesley. She didn’t get it then, and doesn’t get it now.
posted by Huplescat at 6:17 PM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


  • Laura Bush as Helen Lovejoy
  • Dick Cheney as Judge Constance Harm
  • Harriet Miers as Waylon Smithers
  • George W. Bush as Rich Texan
  • James Holsinger as Dr. Nick
  • Gerald Ford as Bumblebee Man
  • The 1/2 Hour News Hour as The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show
posted by Flunkie at 6:33 PM on July 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


OK, in order to refresh my memory while reading the article, I checked out the Hillary Clinton Wikipedia article, and I'll now say something nice about the Senator from New York.

Look at this picture.

One of these women is not at all like the others in terms of intelligence and education.

I now return to my normal curmudgeonly self...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:50 PM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


in the major league baseball spy satellite.

that was my favorite episode :P i'd forgotten!
posted by kliuless at 7:05 PM on July 29, 2007


Obama as Lincoln?! You mean he's a tyrant?
Wow, you guys really are screwed come next election.
posted by nightchrome at 9:04 PM on July 29, 2007


From the NYT article:
“Since Xmas vacation, I’ve gone through three and a half metamorphoses and am beginning to feel as though there is a smorgasbord of personalities spread before me,” Ms. Rodham wrote to Mr. Peavoy in April 1967. “So far, I’ve used alienated academic, involved pseudo-hippie, educational and social reformer and one-half of withdrawn simplicity.”
What strikes me is that she was consciously using various personas, even at that tender age. I think a certain amount of phoniness is forced on politicians by the political process, but in Hillary's case it seems to be part of her character, which is disturbing.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:08 PM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


This makes me think she's Myrna Mynkoff from Confederacy of Dunces. What I have to respect, though, is that she was apparently in Saul Alinsky's inner circle.
posted by nasreddin at 9:43 PM on July 29, 2007


"...and pretend there were heavenly movie cameras watching my every move..."

It's called S.A.D.D.:

Sociopathic Attention Demand Disorder.
posted by objet at 10:09 PM on July 29, 2007


I dunno, flunkie. I always kind of thought George W. Bush was a proper analogue for Ned Flanders (to Cheney's Montgomery Burns).
posted by psmealey at 2:46 AM on July 30, 2007


Thanks, Dr. Freud. Care to make any other long-distance diagnoses?
posted by Tlogmer at 2:47 AM on July 30, 2007


Wow. Those are some very unfortunate striped pants.

It also has to be said: Yabbut on her, back in the day, kinda flattering. We all dressed more or less like that unless we were uptight square @$$holes, and you probably would've too.
posted by pax digita at 3:34 AM on July 30, 2007


So, Obama's gay?
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:00 AM on July 30, 2007


Hillary is the requiem of the Democratic Party.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 4:13 AM on July 30, 2007


This guy thinks she will be the requiem of women in politics...
Who thinks she will give up George Bush's stolen powers?
posted by 445supermag at 5:56 AM on July 30, 2007


Wow. Blew that one. I meant Waylon Smithers, rather than Ned Flanders.
posted by psmealey at 6:00 AM on July 30, 2007


I'm voting for Kodos.
posted by Foosnark at 7:53 AM on July 30, 2007


This guy thinks she will be the requiem of women in politics...

That guy is a blithering idiot.
posted by Snyder at 1:22 PM on July 30, 2007


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