Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hellbent Persistence: The Chelsea Clinton Story

Second in annoyance only to Donald Trump's Tweets are the persistent stories about how Chelsea Clinton is being "groomed" for public office. Every time I read one of these ubiquitous pieces, I can't help but wonder: who, exactly, is doing all this mysterious grooming?

Mom? Dad? The DNC? MSNBC? The Hamilton Project? The Center for American Progress? The articles never say, exactly. So I have no choice but to let my imagination run wild.

What immediately comes to mind, totally unbidden of course, are the libertines of De Sade's 120 Days of Sodom. These depraved characters have the persistent habit of assaulting, in a variety of ways, the young people whom they've kidnapped and imprisoned in a remote luxury resort castle. The violations commence only after a very rigorous grooming regimen in which the victims are transformed into compliant and trusting objects who never exhibit even a whimper of protest, let alone display any emotions or original thoughts. The grooming has a profound deadening effect upon them.

That De Sade's predators hailed from the highest echelons of the church, the nobility, and academia would prove all too realistically prescient. But that's a blog post for another day.  

So anyway, once I manage to get those horrid sadistic images out of my head, the next thing that occurs to me is what an insult it is to use the word "grooming" about an already hyper-educated and impeccably put together woman like Chelsea Clinton. How much more grooming can one living picture of perfection even stand?

The publicists planting all these stories about her solo debut on the public stage are, I assume, getting paid top dollar by Clinton World. So isn't it a bit degrading to keep using this "being groomed" trope about Chelsea, as though she were a dog or a horse? Not only is the phrase demeaning, it robs her of her own agency. It implies that she needs lots and lots of expert help to maintain her position in life. And we all know that Chelsea only got where she is today by virtue of her own grit, talent and persistence.

She's even written a new book about these unique qualities, directly plagiarizing channeling Elizabeth Warren's recent tirade against racist Attorney General-designate Jeff Sessions before his confirmation. After obeying Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's order to stop persisting and shut up, Warren had bravely continued her speech outside the Senate Chamber, via Facebook. She persisted in reciting a letter written by Coretta Scott King and as a result, her feminist brand skyrocketed to new levels, most notably within the elite Pussy Hat Brigade. Chelsea has recently become a branded soldier of The Movement herself. This is evidenced by her recent spate of #ResistanceInc tweets directed at Donald Trump and her publicizing of her toddler daughter's debutante stint:

 Notice that Chelsea didn't quite get to the level of "no drones, no bombs, no wars."

Chelsea's mom even got into the act, tweeting about Warren, the woman she'd only recently spurned as a running mate: "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless she persisted. So must we all."

And thus was a whole Persisterhood industry spawned. What - you thought this was democratic socialism? There are She Persisted energy bars, and She Persisted fashions, and even a She Persisted online store with products designed for the "woman warriors in your life." If you are a persistentrepreneur looking for product placement, there are experts to help you market your stuff. They will even send you a monthly inspirational story to help you get marching all the way to the bank.

A Movement Can't Go Ka-Ching If It Ain't Got No Bling

So what better time for Chelsea Clinton to rush out another book, and call it (surprise) She Persisted?

Given that she's probably only had a few weeks to cobble this tome together, with little to no time for original academic research or multiple revisions or relentless editing, Chelsea's publishers are marketing it direct-to-children - or what she adorably calls "tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world."

Expose the nursery school set to neoliberal Clintonism while they're still too young to resist. Groom them early, groom them often. 

According to the helpful plug planted in the New York Times:
The book will share the stories of 13 historical women who relentlessly pursued their goals in the face of opposition, including Harriet Tubman, Nellie Bly, Maria Tallchief and Oprah Winfrey.
Now hold it right there, and I'm not talking about the gratuitous addition of billionaire Oprah Winfrey. I'm talking about the need of Chelsea's publicist for a copy editor of her own. These women are historic, not historical. The word historical applies to all women and to all the humans and events of the past. They existed, therefore they were. Historic, on the other hand, correctly connotes that these people were unique or highly influential in their fields. Plus, since Oprah is not even dead yet, it is highly insulting to call her historical.

  So somebody needs a little grammar-grooming here, no? And puh-leeze -- shouldn't these lucky 13 ladies be termed Herstoric? If it can't be politically correct, then what hysterical good is it?

If you think this is too cute by half already, wait a minute, because we're not done yet. According to the Times puff piece, you'll have to hold your breath until She Persisted reaches bookstores on May 30 for "a cameo that is yet to be announced." 

I'm not exactly sure, but I think that what Chelsea teasingly means is a bonus chapter featuring one of the most relentlessly persistent people around. You'll have to buy the ticket before the big reveal, though; did you really think she'd be giving this book away? Hah! It'll set you back $17.99 for all 32 pages of it.

Anybody want to take a wild, wild guess as to the identity of Secret Cameo? Hint: her own last book was titled Stronger Together. Published in September last year, its first week sales were so awful, it should have set off an immediate persistent cacophony of alarm bells.

In a truly democratic country, the political life of this Mystery Cameo person  would be considered historical - as in The Blessed Past. But now that she is reportedly being groomed to become the next mayor of the Income Inequality Capital of the World, I think we can safely say that it when it comes to this family, the chutzpah alone is of truly historic and earth-shattering proportions. It's been consequential, to say the least.

It's Surreal: The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali


annenigma said...

Dear Lord, deliver us from all the Clintons, now and forever. Amen.

Cirze said...

"Earth shattering" for sure.


Nonni Muss said...

In the film, The Verdict, the senior partner in a white-shoes law firm directs a underling to call the local PBS affiliate to arrange for a friendly documentary, featuring their client, to be produced, then aired on the eve of jury selection. He even suggests a title, "The Healing Hand," to burnish the reputation of his client; a haughty, negligent, mendacious obstetrician.

When I first saw that scene, I recall thinking, "You can do that? With PBS???" I credit the film for making me the cynic that I am today; at least with regard to the news media. So when I see the barrage of on-the-nose Girl Power, Inc. messages coming from "news" media and Hollywood - TV shows, chat show themes, articles, social media memes (now with merchandising!)I can't help but think that we are the ones being groomed: for Hillary 2020.

paintedjaguar said...

Think the Dems will put up a Hillary/Chelsea ticket? Keep it in the family, like their foundation cum slush fund, you know? I'm joking of course, but can you imagine the PR campaign - a multi-generational feminist triumph! "I'm with Them!". And baby makes three.

I only wish I was joking about another Hillary run in 2020.

Kat said...

I'm not going to worry about it. Clinton name is probably toxic. Ideas that the Clintons embodied (but really didn't create) live on. I assume the takeaway for the DNC is the black man is a better salesman for late stage capitalism. Unfortunately, there were a significant number of Sanders supporters who did not disavow Obama. Hello Cory Booker!

Zee said...

As my Democrat friends are ever so fond of reminding me, "they are the party of 'smart,' " whereas those of us anywhere to the right-of-center are, of course, uneducated, anti-intellectual, knuckle-dragging, blithering idiots.

So I can't help but wonder how that vision of themselves squares with the sorry fact that the only hope for their political future seems to rest with "grooming" Chelsea Clinton for a run for Congress, or maybe a more distant wet dream of Hillary running for mayor of NYC whenever de Blasio's term runs out, or maybe even an utterly crazy, third tilt at the presidential windmill in 2020!

And then, of course, Oprah seems to be maybe, sorta rethinking a run at the presidency, too! Zowie! What Democratic party choices to look forward to in 2020!

Given also that at the DNC elections, the losing party establishment seemed once again to be returned to power in its near-entirety, it seems that Democrats are pretty much the party of "same-old, same-old," and a stupid, near-insane belief in the recuperative powers of previously-failed, once-name-brand, political dynasties.

"The party of 'smart,' " my arse! Even the Republicans-clowns got semi-smart and decide that they didn't want a third Bush in the presidency. Of course, look who they picked over Jeb!

Also, I'm impressed by the speed and ingenuity with which American entrepreneurs can--and do--profitably react to a new--if probably short lived--political "movement."

Wow! Not just "pussy-hat" buttons, but a whole "online store with products designed for the 'woman warriors in your life.'"

I fully expect to see some of this "bling" adorning the outerwear of some of my Democrat friends and acquaintances, which my only server to inflame me to see if I can find a second-hand "Make America Great Again!" cap or button, to see if it provokes them to unfriend me, or maybe even punch me out. (Guess I better make sure my eye is fully healed before I taunt them so, though.)

Wonder how much of that junk is being made in China or India?

Jay–Ottawa said...

Oh, c'mon, Karen. Those 32 pages come in at around 56 cents a page, not the outrageous price you would have us believe. I'm beginning to think you don't support the Clintons despite their many years of historic service to the nation.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen, plz keep those sadistic images in your head, don't put them in ours. thanks.