So said Hillary Clinton the other day. I just heard it on C-Span this morning, and it really struck me.
My reaction on seeing her say it on TV: Hillary Clinton wants government to take over our lives, nagging us about what to eat. She's playing the female role and acting like she's somehow going to take care of us, but she's really demonstrating that she either won't stick to the proper role of a President or she think she can hoodwink people by talking about things that are utterly irrelevant to the position of power she's trying to get her hands on.
My reaction reading the very same quote in print: Hillary Clinton is saying that she knows the government cannot solve every problem, and that people are largely responsible for their own lives, and they need to face up to that reality.
How bizarre! Why does TV make me so much more hostile to her? Is the important message in the words or in the whole picture as experienced via television? Is this just about me and Hillary, or is this something more general about TV and print? I think I've developed a strong set of defenses against manipulation by television. For reading, I'm extremely practiced at seeing what texts mean literally, and I separate that from my critical thinking about whether the person who wrote the words has ulterior motives and so forth. It may be largely a matter of timing, that, watching TV, you have to merge the task of understanding the words and judging the speaker in an instant. If I'd had the speech on TiVo, I would have backtracked and listened to the words to see if they justified my reaction, but would rewatching have had the same effect of looking up the quote as pure text.
In law, we speak of the "cold record," the written transcript of a trial that an appellate court is forced to use, as contrasted with the live testimony at trial. This is, of course, seen as reason to defer to the trial judge and the jury.
Does that mean TV gives us better insight into political candidates? But writing down my own honest reaction to the televised performance, I see my perception of the text spoken was quite distorted. And yet which reaction, to TV or to print, seems more true? I'm fascinated by the way she got conservative on paper but came across -- to me -- as liberal on TV.