15 January 2008

Although I Am Starting to Think I Might Want Someone Who Has Just Really Done Her Homework...

It's not that I'm voting for Hillary Clinton. I just find the way people look at her fascinating. Sometimes frightening, always interesting. This, from Michiko Kakutani's review of 30 Ways of Looking at Hillary, is, thankfully, not scary (although some of the essays quoted in the review are):

One of the more illuminating essays to look at Mrs. Clinton through a single narrow lens is Susan Lehman’s chapter on Hillary as a “product of corporate legal culture,” shaped by a decade and a half at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Ark. Mrs. Clinton’s self-consciousness and “lawyerly inclination to avoid risk and run everything past the pollsters,” Ms. Lehman argues, are qualities that corporate attorneys are trained to cultivate, just as “the ability to argue all sides of an argument” is “a hallmark of the lawyerly” mind. “Neither Hillary Clinton nor the average corporate law partner is likely to make anyone’s blood jump or their heart sing,” Ms. Lehman concludes. “When you are in trouble, however — real trouble — it may be that the person you want to see isn’t the guy who wows you with his wit and charisma but someone who has really done her homework, pored over all the boring details and then gone back over them again, just for fun.”

In the end, this volume of reflections corroborates Mrs. Clinton’s own long-ago observation that she is “a Rorschach test” for voters. It also suggests that like three other famous blondes (Marilyn, Madonna and Princess Di), she’s in danger of being turned into one of those indeterminate semiotic texts academics love to deconstruct, made to signify everything from the aging of boomer dreams to the future of feminism, even as her every gesture and inflection is sifted, measured and weighed, and her actual résumé and record are increasingly shoved to the side.

[via Matt, because apparently I don't read things in the Times unless a blog links to them.]

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