Bill and Hill and something more

William Falk writes in The Week (13 August):

Bill Clinton, Hillary, Chelsea, and Marc were at the next table, talking avidly over their dinner, and my wife and I couldn’t help but snoop. No, no — this wasn’t the big wedding last weekend; believe it or not, I was not invited. It was at a Mexican restaurant in the Clintons’ hometown of Chappaqua, N.Y., where we had met some friends. While we were perusing the menu, the former First Family strolled in. With an eye to his cholesterol intake, Bill ordered soup and vegetable fajitas. But as he talked and listened, the Big Dog kept reaching into the basket of tortilla chips, and absent-mindedly popped one after another into his mouth. Without a word, Hillary finally slid the chips basket down the table, out of Bill’s reach. It was the story of their marriage in a single gesture: Bill’s undisciplined yearning, Hillary’s vigilant determination to protect him from himself.

It is a measure of something, though what I’m not exactly sure, that this passage popped into my head while I read that:

The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn’t stand it no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. But Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable. So I went back.

Now Bill Clinton isn’t exactly Huckleberry Finn, but the idea that one of the duties of woman is to civilize man is still around. A blunt statement to that effect, from Jonah Goldberg:

Female equality seems to be a pretty reliable treatment for many of the world’s worst pathologies. Population growth in the Third World tends to go down as female literacy goes up. Indeed, female empowerment might be the single best weapon in the “root causes” arsenal in the war on terror.

The reason strikes me as fairly simple. Women civilize men. As a general rule, men will only be as civilized as female expectations and demands will allow. “Liberate” men from those expectations, and Lord of the Flies logic kicks in. Liberate women from this barbarism, and male decency will soon follow.

I know this much: while I had definite jerk tendencies when I got married, I veered way over into Major Jerkdom when the marriage unwound, and I suspect the long way back to Merely Difficult would have been shortened a bit were there a second pair of hands to help push.

And you just know Chelsea was taking notes that night at dinner.


  1. ak4mc »

    8 August 2010 · 8:05 am

    Women want stability, and men want women. No mystery there.

  2. paulsmos »

    8 August 2010 · 9:57 am

    Ah, the power of pussy cannot be denied. Check your history, mister!

  3. Lisa Paul »

    8 August 2010 · 11:08 am

    According to reports, Chelsea got her Dad to go on a vegan diet leading up to her wedding. He shed 20 lbs and friend of mine is now calling him “Broccoli Bill”. Chelsea is certainly taking a page out of her mother’s book, but how long can she hold back his inner “Cheeseburger Bill”?

  4. CGHill »

    8 August 2010 · 11:15 am

    Hard to say. I’m inclined to think that the only reason he doesn’t have a hidden stash of Krispy Kremes somewhere is the fact that they go stale rather quickly.

    Oh, wait. That’s the only reason I don’t have a hidden stash of Krispy Kremes somewhere.

  5. Kay Dennison »

    8 August 2010 · 4:09 pm

    I give Hillary credit — most women would have given Bill his walking papers long ago.

    My ex and I are civil these days — as long as I don’t mention any relationship that I happen to be in.

  6. CGHill »

    8 August 2010 · 10:15 pm

    My ex has remarried. (Twice; the second husband is deceased.) I’m pretty sure she has no interest in who’s on my dance card.

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