Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some thoughts on what separates us

On the demographic surface, everything about us looks the same. We're both young white women, recent graduates from the same college, and we're originally from the two states that, for some reason, couldn't figure out how to hold a legitimate primary this year. (Thanks, Senator Levin. And by thanks, I mean maybe we should have mandatory retirement ages for public officials.)

But, I'm passionately for Barack Obama, and my friend is just as passionately for Hillary Clinton.

As most of my friends are also college-age or recent college graduates, the majority of them are Obama people. But some of them, and a fair number of my older coworkers, are Hillary people. Since it seems lately like I can't have a reasoned and fair discussion that doesn't end in anger on both sides, especially on the Internets, I've been trying to think about the essential differences, not between the two candidates as much as the personalities and worldviews of their supporters. Obviously, I can't pinpoint everything, but please bear with my attempt.

I. Personal

In the course of one of our interminable discussions about the candidates, my friend told me a story about her high school days. She had been in the school theater club for years, and she ran for president of it her senior year. It wasn't a particularly big deal, so 'running' consisted of each candidate standing up and saying why they should be president. My friend listed all her experience and accomplishments over her years in the theater club, citing them as the reason she was obviously qualified. Her opponent then stood up and informed everyone of all the things that she would do as president. (New costumes for all! Improved bake sales with better cookies! A sex-free lighting booth!) Needless to say, my friend lost the election.

To her credit, this is far from the only reason that my friend supports Hillary. But she mentioned this story as a crucial moment of identification, and I think identification is at the core of why a lot of people, especially women, have chosen Hillary: they see themselves in her. And it makes sense. Hillary is perceived by some, rightly or not, as being a woman who has worked hard in a man's world, and has struggled against impossible odds. And now, she's being beaten by a glib young man with vague promises for the future.

I suppose I identify with Obama a little bit. In high school and college, I found myself constantly in the presence of other students whose intelligence, if they even had it in the first place, had been utterly subsumed by bullshit. Honest, intellectual debate is kind of hard in the face of statements like, "I think he complexifies the problem here" and "Let's psychologize Machiavelli for a bit" and "Wait, Sappho's a lesbian?" (To my deep sadness and cause of my drinking problem, I didn't make any of those up.) Because I am extremely humble, I have always tended to put myself on the side of the naturally talented, the truly smart, who have to rise against the tide of high-achieving bullshitters who have only gotten where they are because they're really good at faking and reinventing themselves.

But that's the end of where I can identify with Obama, if I can even pretend to identify with the intelligence of a Harvard law professor. Not many people can identify with him, really, and I think that's lost amid all the talk of why so many African-Americans like 'their guy.' Few people in this country are biracial, foreign-raised, Harvard law professors with staggering speaking and writing talents. I think a lot of Obama's appeal comes out of his 'otherness' itself, instead of identification. (And for some, unfortunately, perhaps a certain fascination with the exotic.) After all, he is the candidate of 'you'--not one of us, but a brilliant leader with new and exciting ideas.

We may not be able to feel kinship with Obama, but we can feel kinship with his plural 'you.' I don't think it's unfair to suggest that there's a great appeal in the sense of belonging to a great movement dedicated toward fixing this country, and still being one of the cool kids while you do it.

I happen to subscribe to the High School Theory of Human Behavior, which is this: high school drama and politics are not teenage anomalies but instead a blueprint of adult human behavior. In short, we feel an intense need to identify with a group and to be cool according to the standards of that group. No one's going to deny it--it's fun to be cool.

Hillary's people are an 'in crowd' according to their own definition, and I'm going to be vicious here because this an 'in crowd' that I hate. In my experience, a lot of privileged white people really get off on the idea of being a victim. It's not really their fault, in some ways--our culture gives victims a lot of respect and automatic forgiveness, and so it actually is hard to have nothing to complain about. (GET OVER IT.) So often, privileged white people will make up problems, or, as I once heard a girl in high school weep to her friends, "Sometimes it seems like the laundry's just never done!"

Some Hillary people--and this includes the real deadenders, especially the ones you find online--have taken identification with Hillary to the brink of victimisation. Hillary herself had aided this by playing the victim, going from 'the politics of pile-on' to 'being forced out of the race.' And so people can participate in being victims by supporting her, and each new attack on her is one more nail in their hands.

II. Worldview

In my friend's fundamentalist Christian small town, she was known in high school as 'that liberal girl.' On the other hand, I grew up in a hippie college town that throws a yearly party for marijuana. She's used to being assailed for her beliefs, and I stupidly tend to forget that not everyone thinks like me. Among other things, I think this background affects our political worldviews.

My friend has offered this common Hillary-person argument: Obama cannot win, because the Republicans are savage. They swift-boated the war hero Kerry. They have too much control over the media, particularly anything owned by Rupert Murdoch, and it will feed the American people false information. The Clintons, on the other hand, are savage in their own right. They know how to fight like Republicans, and they will.

My counterargument is this: Once, that was true. But the world has changed, and we are in the midst of a great historical moment. Neoconservatism has devoured itself, and the Republicans are floundering. McCain is an easy mark. Certain former red states are up for grabs, if we just try to seize them. We no longer need to fight like Republicans. We can learn, at last, to fight like Democrats, to reintroduce decency and statesmanship into the American political process.

She and I can cite statistics at each other all day, and scream about the Republican political machine and the 50 state strategy. In the end, it comes down to a matter of belief.

That's a shocking thing to say, especially because 'belief' has come under fire lately in our political culture. People voted for Bush because they 'believed' he was a fun guy and a compassionate conservative, whatever the hell that means. Kerry and Gore were in the party of Reason--you didn't support them because you liked them necessarily or believed in their potential--you favored their rational arguments.

But in the end, it does come down to belief, or more appropriately, intuition. I couldn't prove that Bush would be a bad president in 2000. I could cite his record, his obvious bullshittery, his insincerity. But a supporter could have said, "But I genuinely believe he's sincere." In the end, it's just intuition against intuition.

I was hanging out with some friends one night in 2004 when someone said, "Hey, isn't the Democratic convention tonight?" We turned it on and there was a young, unfamiliar man speaking.

What happened then happened to many other people. "Quick!" we said. "Get this man the presidency!" It was a profound moment of awe and delight, and with all cringing aside, akin to a revelatory experience. I have had a few of these moments in my life, and I tend to put a lot of stock in them. When I first saw a certain cat in the window of the animal shelter and just knew she was already a member of the family, when yesterday I tried a new conditioner and gasped, "Where have you been all my life?" these moments of perfect clarity are both rare and extremely special.

Obama has done nothing since then to disappoint my first intuition. As I often say, he's the real thing. But there are a lot of Hillary people who disagree. They seem to believe, just as strongly, that he's 'an empty suit' or a skilled, extremely subtle liar. This belief, I think, arises out of the following argument:

1. All politicians, by nature, are liars.

2. Obama is a politician.

3. Therefore, Obama is a liar.

To these people, Hillary's chameleon shifting, her bullshit, her pandering gas tax--these are all good things. That's just how politicians act. Obama, too, mischaracterizes Hillary's positions on occasion. He bullshits a little. He's too vague, which gives him license to do anything. He pretends to be pure, but isn't, and under the mask of purity he may be hiding extreme duplicitousness.

In my opinion, this position is simply too extreme. Does it have to be one or the other? Can a person lie a little, because the game does demand it, and not be a total outright liar? Can you be a good person if occasionally you do or say bad things? I would argue yes, of course. Otherwise, there's no such thing as a good person. But others would argue that because politics is essentially corrupting, they'd prefer bald corruption to attempted decency.

What has been most striking to me about this whole exercise in trying to figure out why people think what they think has been this: who you choose to vote for says less about the candidates than it does about you. You pick who you pick based on personality traits and basic interpretations of the state of the world.

In short, at the risk of being unpopular, I'm blaming the drawn-out, vicious nature of this race squarely on you, the viewers!

In the end, either you think the world has changed, or it hasn't. You think all politicians are liars and they should at least be honest liars--or that it is possible to be both a politician and a decent human being. I'm not sure that we can ever be reconciled, but hopefully we can all learn to accept what comes.

And remember how much we believe and know that McCain really, really sucks.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Learn english!!!1!

Americans do like mugging.

What I'm really upset about is that we never had videos like this when I was taking Japanese.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Don't Care About Fox News

I'm serious, I don't.

I'm no longer bothered by the biases, the bullshit, not even Bill O'Reilly.

You know why? Because Fox News shouldn't exist. It does, but it shouldn't. Like a fairy-tale demon, it exists because people believe in it.

"At the risk of sounding unpopular, I'm putting the blame for this squarely on you, the viewers!"
~Kent Brockman~

I, my friends, my family, knew that the case for war in Iraq was total crap. We know about McCain's insane pastors. How could we possibly know this?

Too much blame gets put on the media for not reporting things that they ought. It doesn't matter, because certain news organizations and blogs--mainstream ones, not outlying conspiracy nuts--do report things. The New York Times reported on the use of military experts to spread disinformation, and Daily Kos complains, rightly, that most news organizations, notably Fox News, have ignored the story. Another diarist tells us about the deaths of four soldiers in Iraq, a story that CNN hasn't mentioned. But he's telling us. The information is out there.

What's the problem, then? Why does Fox News still exist?

Because some people--maybe even most people--are really, really stupid. Not to mention gullible.

What's sicker than Bill O'Reilly?

The fact that people watch his show, and not ironically.

Democracy is about respecting the will of the majority of the people. If the majority of the people want to believe, slack-jawed and unquestioned, what Fox News wants to tell them, then fine. It's not really fair that they're dragging the rest of us down with them, but that's democracy. If people are honestly swayed by unfair media coverage that haloes McCain and pretends that the 'bitter' comments were relevant, if they really think that the savagery of a campaign indicates toughness and not blinding ambition, then they deserve the fruits of their votes.

I don't mean to indicate any specialness on my part, or on the parts of my friends. But I can watch Keith Olbermann and sift through the shameless Obama homer-ism* to the core of the stories. Some people can do this. Some people swallow everything they hear.

To quote Kent Brockman once again:

"I've said it before and I'll say it again. Democracy just doesn't work."

*Which, honestly, bothers me just about as much as blatant homering for Michigan football does. Tsk tsk, Keith Olbermann!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Political Identity Politics

There's nothing more I hated at college than the widespread obsession with identity politics. I'd sort of wished it was a thing irrelevant in the rest of the world--turns out, I was mistaken.

All the same, individual identity, as opposed to the necessarily sweeping, incorrect, and potentially dangerous notions of group identity, is still neato.

Political candidates have an interesting relationship with their personal identity, because, like actors, they have to tailor their projected identity to a specific character. But actors usually play many different people throughout their careers, except for confused hacks like this guy, whereas politicians generally pick a character--often some sort of mythological archetype--and stick with it. (Except for chameleon politicians, who I'll get to.)

These characters can be extensions of their own natural personalities, or something completely different, depending on the situation, the honesty of the politician, and the perceived desires of the people.

Our current president, for example, is a blue-blood Yankee who ran as a Texas Cowboy. To his credit, he genuinely seems to like the cowboy thing, and New England snobs generally affect some display of intelligence and that's clearly beyond him. But The Cowboy is a powerful image in our culture, and a lot of people responded to it.

Kerry lost for a lot of reasons, but for one, he never could match the cowboy archetype. Who he was--probably genuinely--was The Senator; it was even his nickname at Yale. But when people started going for The Cowboy, due to its mythological resonance and the general disdain of Americans for intellectualism, he tried on all kinds of 'man of the people' personality traits. He rode a motorcycle, etc...and none of it dismissed his obvious, possibly condescending intelligence and his billionaire batshit wife.

Our current presidential candidates have all chosen--and in one case, somewhat discarded--some interesting personalities. I'm going to blather about them now.

Barack Obama: The Young Hero

After all, only he can wield the Sword of Destiny and return the Crystal of Reason to the Orchard of Hope.

This is a really powerful and useful image for him and his supporters to cultivate. (I'm not going to talk about whether or not his earnestness is genuine--his supporters believe it is, his detractors believe it isn't, and that's that.) Many fantasy and science fiction stories have The Young Hero, and for good reason--he's brave, he's usually brilliant, and represents in his youthful strength the hope of change for the world. You can probably trace this archetype to the Fisher King myths--the old king and the land are dying, and the king is resurrected and restored to the form of a much younger man/and or replaced by an actual younger man. (Not to majorly geek out, but this is what happens to Theoden. The whole Rohan episode in The Two Towers is a terrific riff on the Fisher King.)

Another interesting detail about The Young Hero is that the question of his parentage is always extremely important. He's often a prince in disguise, raised away from his royal parents for some reason. His parentage, prince or not, is nearly always a hybrid. Most of the Greek heroes, not to mention Jesus, are a mixture of god and man. Harry Potter (and Voldemort) are half wizard and half Muggle/Muggleborn. Tiger Woods, etc.--the list goes on.* Hybridity represents something extremely interesting to us, a quality that the hero must naturally possess. The quest to discover this--usually hybrid--identity is what drives a lot of these stories.

There are certain problems with assuming this identity, of course, or Obama would be clearly in the lead. One problem is that The Young Hero is not a guy you can have a beer with. Everyone wants to be The Young Hero, and secretly believes that they are, but you only get one per story. That can breed resentment among those who can't stand the idea of someone being better than them. So Obama's been trying to bowl and things like that, because politicians, if they want to win, have to do those sorts of things to win the support of morons. And I think the fact that, like Kerry, he's so desperately bad at dumbing himself down is a good sign that he really is a genuine person.

Another huge problem with being The Young Hero is that he is always a creature of fantasy or spiritual belief, not immediate reality. A real person has failings and makes mistakes and can't possibly fix the world. If Obama wins, there are going to be a lot of exasperating losers who will be disappointed in him for not being the Messiah.

Hillary Clinton: The Queen

This was her initial persona--remember "Miss Bill? Vote Hill!"--the person with the 'on-the-job' White House training. But Hillary, thanks to Mark Penn, is a chameleon politician, who thinks that the best way to handle a two-point dip in the polls is to reinvent herself for whatever micro-group looks ripe. Like Obama, she's in the rough spot where, due to Americans hating smart people, it's honestly good political sense for her to take shots of whiskey and talk about her Scranton grandpa.

The Queen persona was dangerous to begin with. There simply aren't a lot of good Queens or older women of power in mythology and stories: The Queen in Snow White, the evil fairy in Sleeping Beauty, the stepmother in Cinderella, the White Witch, Gertrude, Margaret Thatcher, Lady Macbeth, etc. Queens--or stepmothers--are often witches or murderers, because of an ancient terror of powerful women. Good women are usually frail, virginal girls. I'm not one of those people who's willing to vote for Hillary because I'm so annoyed at this lingering terror, but I do recognize her difficulties.

However, she never should have run as The Queen, for other reasons. The Queen is rarely a power in her own right, but the spouse of the powerful man. Even if she doesn't like to admit it, the First Lady is essentially a ceremonial position, and much of her activities as First Lady, while groundbreaking, were honestly undemocratic. She wasn't elected by the populace or confirmed by Congress--she simply usurped powers which historically belonged to the vice president. So she's in a complicated position while presenting herself as Queen.

What she did after that was represent herself as the The Senator, the fairest and most accurate identity she assumed. I think initially she tried to run not as a woman senator, but as an honest, tough, experienced politician who just happens to be a woman. (This made certain people question her femininity, which is just charming.) This persona lasted until New Hampshire, where she started to play like a victimized woman, relying on the stereotypical weaknesses of the gender (weeping, complaining when attacked) as opposed to its strengths. The Senator persona didn't work because she simply isn't charismatic enough (though much more so that Kerry) and fair or not, that counts for a lot, especially when faced with The Young Hero.

And now--her concern isn't with self-definition, but with trashing The Young Hero, no matter what the cost.

John McCain: The Old Warrior

McCain cultivates this for obvious reasons. We have an innate respect for warriors, especially someone who has suffered as much as he does. (We either respect or revel in suffering, depending on the situation, our mood at the time, and our particular levels of cruelty.) Unlike The Young Hero, we can look up to him without feeling inferior, because he's older and more experienced than us. And, The Old Warrior persona sure takes away from the fact that McCain knows nothing whatsoever about anything about any other topic, especially the economy, which, you know, is kinda important. It even cloaks the fact that he's been dead wrong about this particular war from the start.**

In terms of myth, The Old Warrior has a tendency to die before the end of the story. He might be wise and noble, but his primary function is to educate The Young Hero before kicking the bucket. There's Obi Wan Kenobi, Dumbledore and Mad-Eye Moody, even Gandalf in a way. The Old Warrior is often a wizard or some other kind of sage, but McCain isn't a magic man, just a plain old soldier.

And there aren't many personas besides The Old Warrior that McCain can cultivate. He lacks Hillary's chameleon ability, as evidenced by his half-hearted efforts to support Bush's policies.

At best, McCain the venerable and ailing Fisher King, once competent but about to be replaced by The Young Hero. Or by a chameleon Senator/Queen. The abject failure of the press corps to predict anything useful about this election--at all--is an important demonstration of the limits of archetype, narrative, and myth--we use them to make sense of our present world and the people who inhabit it, but they are inaccurate predictors of future reality. After all, an archetype is just an image, nothing more.

*Notable exceptions, interestingly enough, include most superheroes. Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and the X-men, are not hybrids by birth. But, there is a different kind of hybridity in their stories--they embody two separate personas. Superman is an alien raised by humans with a human identity that he can assume, and of course the superhero stories are all about the interplay of the divided self...Ok. Enough geekage.

**Gah, he's such an easy mark.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Too Soon

The ever-awesome Frank Rich has a really interesting article on the country's Iraq war fatigue.

There's just one point I disagree on, and it plays into an argument I've been having with the crew lately. Rich blames the box-office failure of movies like Rendition and Stop-Loss primarily on war weariness. It's entirely possible that these movies did badly because they were terrible, as I've heard; but he mentions that remarkably few people went to see them in the first place.

I think another possibility exists--we're naturally wary of the too-soon factor, which is more than a joke. Is it possible that you can't do these movies until after the historical moment has passed, and there's room for reflection?

The obvious counter-example is Casablanca, my favorite movie. It came out in the early 1940s just after the U.S. entered the war, and you can read it as a summons for the U.S. to abandon isolationism. This isn't just an English major's pipe dream--Rick, the American protagonist, goes from "I stick my neck out for nobody" to helping Laszlow the resistance leader to escape. Laszlow's near-last words to him are, "Welcome back to the fight. This time, I'm sure our side will win."

But there are a lot of important differences between Casablanca and the bevy of Iraq war movies, such as:

1. Casablanca is set overseas, and involves only two Americans--Rick and Sam. The Iraq war movies are set mostly in America and are almost exclusively about Americans. This means Casablanca has important physical and psychological removal from our current lives.

2. If the main political thrust of Casablanca is 'isolationism is insupportable and ultimately self-destructive', then it was old news to this country, which had already joined the war in part for those reasons. But with the distortion this war's reasons have undergone, it's impossible to do a movie about the war's reasons that isn't politically charged (not to mention depressing.)

3. The Iraq war movies are mostly political stories. But Casablanca is as much a love story as a topical political story. The call to arms remains reasonably subtle beneath the major plot, and the characters are symbolic instead of allegorical. (If it was a pure allegory, then the U.S. had an affair with Norway and still loves her even though she seemingly betrayed him.*)

4. Casablanca is pro-war, and the Iraq movies are anything but. 'Pro-war' makes all liberals post-Vietnam cringe, but I think it's important to keep in mind how completely unique WWII was. I can't think of very many wars in history where the right side and the wrong side were that obvious (which is why it's so irritating and ignorant when people compare anything they don't like to Nazis.) Clear good and evil make for good cinema (Star Wars!). On the other hand, complex and ambivalent wars where neither side is right are hard to do well in movies, or in any other forum for that matter. A pro-war Iraq movie would be even more terrible, as no one sensible would believe a word of it.

5. Casablanca is one of the best movies of all time.

It's too bad, because rendition and stop-loss as concepts are so shocking and fascinating that they have the potential to spawn very powerful movies. The problem isn't historical distance--it's political distance. The Iraq war movies are consistently described as 'heavy-handed' and 'obvious' because they're bent on making a political point. Casablanca, which is more a product of its time than a propaganda piece, doesn't run into that sort of trouble.

However, the documentaries that Frank Rich also mentions--that's another can of worms. Fiction is one thing, but documentaries are supposed to collect facts (theoretically, anyway.) I think we don't watch the Iraq documentaries simply because they're depressing, and we already know it's rotten over there. We don't watch them for the same reason there hasn't been much mass protest of the war--we're just not that angry.

I mean, we're angry. But we've entered a kind of pure and lazy democracy, where we say, "This president is terrible! Let's work hard to elect the next guy who will fix it." To be honest, this is probably a healthier and more humane response than rioting. It also demonstrates just how much power the executive branch has abrogated to itself in that we can only see a change in our country's policy through the election of one person.

*Norway is such a tramp.

Friday, April 11, 2008


No, I haven't been posting in a two hour Red Bull frenzy.

I've just finished moving some of my favorite old posts to this new blog of mine. I promise, from now on, all my news and ranting will be topical.

Lies and the Lying Liars

"If you commit perjury I don't care. Don't give a shit. I don't think you should because you grade murder, you have Murder 1, Murder 2; you realize there can be a difference in the level of murder. So there must be a difference in the level of perjury. Perjury 1 is when you're saying there's no Holocaust when, you know, 10 million* people have died in it, and Perjury 9 is when you said you shagged someone when you didn't." - Eddie Izzard

I think it's time, this presidential campaign season, that we institute Eddie Izzard's perjury scale. The fact is, every lie does not equal every other lie.

PERJURY 1: The Holocaust didn't happen.

A Perjury 1 lie must be something hurtful, dangerous, and also OBVIOUSLY, provably false.

Another lovely one in this category is: Iraq had ties to 9/11. Getting people killed on the basis of a lie? Smells like Perjury 1 to me.

The punishment: IMPEACHMENT AT LEAST, for chrissakes.

PERJURY 2: 9/11 was God punishing us for homosexuals.

Hurtful and dangerous, though not nearly as much so as Perjury 1. What really makes this a separate gradation is that it's harder to disprove, as are all religious and/or conspiracy theories. Then again, it's the nature of conspiracy theories to be hard to disprove, hence their appeal for the paranoid.

Another one designed to give you a headache: 9/11 was an inside job.

The punishment: If you take violent action, could be hate crime or treason charges! If not, there's always no one outside the internet taking you seriously.


Accused: "I didn't kill her."

Grissom from CSI: "Well, all this evidence here says you did."

Accused: "Shit."

Captain Brass: "Your balls are mine."

Lying to the cops about committing a crime only warrants a three because it affects fewer people--i.e. your victim or victims and the family or families. At least you have the extremely limited excuse of trying to protect yourself.

The punishment: I think Captain Brass said it best.

PERJURY 4: Evolution is a fraud.

It's always nice when lies further perpetrate ignorance. Disbelieving in evolution and other valid scientific theories probably won't lead to violence, but if you're on the Kansas school board, you can always use it to further mislead the kiddies.

The punishment: Your state not losing its reputation for being full of idiots.

PERJURY 5: Hillary Clinton was shot at in Bosnia. No idea why Sinbad doesn't seem to remember it.

Oh, Hillary. This one is so high up because there's no way, considering the amount of times it was repeated and the fact that her own book contradicts it, that it was a mistake. As lies go, this isn't that major--though it's rather insulting to people who do get shot at for the sake of this country--but the real damage lies in its intentions. This is an attempt to make someone seem much cooler than they are, and frankly, if they were traveling with Sinbad, that's well-nigh impossible.

The punishment: Viral viral video.

PERJURY 6: Bill Clinton didn't have sexual relations with that woman.

Oh, Bill. This one is complicated, as it only should have affected Bill and Hillary, making it a lie that lots of people tell. But because Bill said it to the nation, he doomed the Democratic party, ushering in the glorious era of Captain Bush and the Neocon Parade. However, it really wasn't his intention to do that, so it only ranks a 6, which are obvious personal lies with horrific unintended consequences.

The punishment: Impeachment, I guess?

PERJURY 7: Obama claiming the Kennedys aided his father in coming to the U.S. to study.

Turns out the Kennedys only started supporting that particular program the following year. Someone should have fact-checked. The reason for the lie hasn't yet been offered by the Obama people, but it will probably be, "Oops, that's what Obama's dad told him. Guess he was wrong--keep in mind that Obama and his dad rarely saw each other." Or, "Obama's sleep-deprived." This is ranked a 7 because, while it's really not much of a lie and may just have been an accident, its intentions aren't fabulous, as it's trying (too hard) to link Obama and the mystique of Camelot.

The punishment: Having to endure Hillary supporters cackling online that this totally cancels out the Bosnia thing.

PERJURY 8: Hillary Clinton claiming that on 9/11, she was panicked because Chelsea was jogging near the World Trade Center.

Turns out Chelsea was in Union Square. *gasp!* Let's see, when your only baby is in the general vicinity of a major national disaster, does the exact neighborhood really matter? It's all lower Manhattan. I remember being freaked out because my older sister and my best friend were in Massachusetts, and as far as I was concerned, that was the same general area too.

This only actually ranks on the perjury scale at all, once again, not because of content but because of intention. Bringing it up in this campaign links Hillary to 9/11 heroism, more subtly than Obama linking himself to the Kennedys but with no less devious intentions.

The punishment: Having to endure Obama supporters insisting online that this is CLEARLY another example in a long line of Hillary's duplicitousness.

PERJURY 9: Saying you shagged someone when you didn't.

This one could have potential damage to someone else's reputation--until they find out. And then, the howls of laughter and the, "You think I shagged WHO?" hurts no one but you.

The punishment: See above.

Perjury 10: I'm a natural redhead.

This lie doesn't hurt anyone, but it does help to maintain a certain desperate illusion that I'm clinging to right now, so leave me alone.

The punishment: Only the permanent damage to my scalp and my conception of reality.

Btw, I'm not taking on any lies Obama may or may not have told about Reverend Wright. It may be partisan, but I've just heard so many different stories that I don't know what to believe.

*It was actually 11 million, making this just a misspeaking. Occasionally, those do happen for reals.