Hillary Clinton and Wonky Prose

New Yorker Magazine Bashes Hillary

The Political Scene

The New Yorker
Jan 28, 2008
Page 26

– by George Packer

I commented on the above article:

I am not a very political person, but I know what I despise.
I consider it a cheap shot to feature an illustration of Hillary Clinton’s backside, with a sly expression on her face as she glances over her shoulder.

The article actually mentions both strengths and weaknesses of Hillary and Barack, yet the general tenor of the article is to bash Hillary.

All the candidates (with the possible exception of Huckabee), are fine people who have both strengths and weaknesses and have worked very hard to get where they are. The only “flaw” that they all share in common is that there can be only one winner. That is no reason to bash them, or take cheap shots. If you are curious why I cite Huckabee as an exception, you can see my blog of several weeks ago.

The opening paragraph of the article is kind of a cheap shot, mentioning the apartment which Bill and Hillary took together in New Haven, for seventy-five dollars a month, in 1971. Why not have an article describing the first time each candidate copped a feel, or got to second base?

We are all human beings. We all have a gluteous maximus. We all have an adolescence which includes sexual experiences.

The second paragraph of this article informs us that Greg Craig, who used to be a close friend of the Clintons, is now an Obama supporter, has been “inspired” by Obama, and doubts that Hillary could inspire him. Does this mean that Obama has inspired throngs, hordes, masses of people, and Hillary has never inspired anyone?

The article, as well as the caption beneath Hillary’s butt cartoon, suggests that Hillary cares only about advancing her own personal career goals, and cares nothing about transforming society. I rather suspect that each and every candidate sees the presidency as a fabulous career goal achievement.

What does it really mean to “inspire” or to “transform society.” Please list the times in history when society was transformed single-handed by one politician.

A young teenage relative of mine tells me that my blogs are too boring to read. Well, I mention booty and shacking up, which are two topics of perennial fascination.

(some hours later) OK, back to the New Yorker Article:

On page 32, we read that Hillary Clinton “filled yellow legal pads with incorrigibly wonky prose, in ’round, schoolgirlish handwriting.”

What is “wonky” prose, anyway? I blogged a few weeks ago about all those letters that Hillary wrote during college to an English professor. There are actually photocopies of her handwriting and samples of her young adult prose. If you browse the above link, on page two, you will see her round schoolgirl handwriting when she was actually a schoolgirl. Looks better than my handwriting.

I feel its time to Google on “wonky”. So, in all fairness, let us compare the handwriting and prose of all the candidates. We here them all speaking extemporaneous prose during debates, and I find nothing particularly egregious about anyone’s prose. All candidates seem well spoken. The only person I can think of that does not always appear well-spoken is Bush, but, that is water under the proverbial bridge (hey, is this sentence wonky?)

A Google search on “wonky prose” example, yields 97 hits, among which are:


What Does George Packer Know About Hillary Clinton’s Book, Anyway?
January 26, 2008

George Packer: Fine, smart writer. But I’m curious about a section in an otherwise nice New Yorker piece this week about the contrasting political styles of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Take a look:

A search on WONKY DEFINITION yields:

wonky adj. Chiefly British. , -kier , -kiest . Shaky; feeble. Wrong; awry. [Probably alteration of dialectal wanky , alteration of wankle
Let’s see what literature professor Peavoy (above PHOTOCOPIES link) has to say about Hillary’s schoolgirl prose:

Ms. Rodham’s letters are written in a tight, flowing script with near-impeccable spelling and punctuation. Ever the pleaser, she frequently begins them with an apology that it had taken her so long to respond. She praises Mr. Peavoy’s missives while disparaging her own (“my usual drivel”) and signs off with a simple “Hillary,” except for the occasional “H” or “Me.”

As one would expect of letters written during college, Ms. Rodham’s letters display an evolution in sophistication, viewpoint and intellectual focus. One existential theme that recurs throughout is that Ms. Rodham views herself as an “actor,” meaning a student activist committed to a life of civic action, which she contrasts with Mr. Peavoy, who, in her view, is more of an outside critic, or “reactor.”

“Are you satisfied with the part you have cast yourself in?” she asks Mr. Peavoy in April 1966. “It seems that you have decided to become a reactor rather than actor — everything around will determine your life.”

In conclusion, may I say: My dear Hillary, it seems that your butt, your prose and your penmanship are all under attack! Is there nothing sacred?


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