Friday, April 04, 2008

Mr. Peterman and Milli-Vanilli

"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to
be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with
our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

--Hillary Clinton, speech at George Washington University, March 17, 2008.

In Seinfeld episode # 155, "The Muffin Tops", Kramer finds out that stories from his life he had once sold to Mr. Peterman made it into Peterman's autobiographical book, ghost-written by Elaine:

Elaine: No. No no. Actually I kind of need to speak to you.

Kramer: Well let's sit down.

Elaine: Kramer, ahem, remember that whole deal with you selling Peterman your stories for his book and then he gave them back to you?

Kramer: Vaguely.

Elaine: Well I was kind of, hehehe, short on material and I, um, I put them in the book anyway.

Kramer: You put my life's stories in his autobiography?

Elaine: Kramer listen, it is such a stupid book. It doesn't matter.

Kramer: Oh no. Sure. It matters. Wow. I've broken through, huh. I'm part of popular culture now. Listen I've got to thank Mr. Peterman.

Elaine: He's doing a book signing at Waldenbooks this afternoon.

Kramer: Waldenbooks? That's a major chain huh.

It was one of the best episodes because the premise was so utterly outlandish. How can anybody think they can get away with making up heroic tales about their life? Yet reality is often stranger than fiction.

How does this pork pie of a manufactured story compare with Obama's borrowing another person's words to impress an adoring crowd? I analyzed that incident here.

They are both intended to create an impression on the listeners. They are both not true. Obama using words not his own to induce the kind of rapt adulation his audience expects from a master rhetorician. A Milli-Vanilli moment, no? And then Clinton making up a dramatic tale of peril and war and being under sniper fire (the worst kind of fire, since the aiming is usually deadly accurate).

The only mitigation for Obama is that he was given a permission to use those words. His little deception involved a breach of perfect transparent truth, not necessarily of basic decency.

Due to the vividness of Hillary's story, it is quite possible that she, too, borrowed it from someone in her campaign who had actually undergone that experience. A Peterman moment.

Chistopher Hitchens explains why he finds Clinton's lie particularly egregious, violating both principles of decency and veracity:

...I can tell you for an absolute certainty that it would be quite impossible to imagine that one had undergone that experience at the airport if one actually had not. Yet Sen. Clinton, given repeated chances to modify her absurd claim to have operated under fire while in the company of her then-16-year-old daughter and a USO entertainment troupe, kept up a stone-faced and self-loving insistence that, yes, she had exposed herself to sniper fire in the cause of gaining moral credit and, perhaps to be banked for the future, national-security "experience."

... I can remember... a meeting with Clinton's then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin at the British Embassy. When I challenged him on the sellout of the Bosnians, he drew me aside and told me that he had asked the White House for permission to land his own plane at Sarajevo airport, if only as a gesture of reassurance that the United States had not forgotten its commitments. The response from the happy couple was unambiguous: He was to do no such thing, lest it distract attention from the first lady's health care "initiative."

It's hardly necessary for me to point out that the United States did not receive national health care in return for its acquiescence in the murder of tens of thousands of European civilians. But perhaps that is the least of it. Were I to be asked if Sen. Clinton has ever lost any sleep over those heaps of casualties, I have the distinct feeling that I could guess the answer. She has no tears for anyone but herself. In the end, and over her strenuous objections, the United States and its allies did rescue our honor and did put an end to Slobodan Milosevic and his state-supported terrorism. Yet instead of preserving a polite reticence about this, or at least an appropriate reserve, Sen. Clinton now has the obscene urge to claim the raped and slaughtered people of Bosnia as if their [deliverance from?] misery and death were somehow to be credited to her account...


At 8:10 AM EDT, Anonymous Judith said...

hello Noga,
I am still waiting to hear from you. Here every thing is as usual. I work and study.
Please write me.

Have a nice week.



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