Maybe you just sit there pleasantly and think: Isn't it clever for Hillary to use the "Sopranos" scene as a device for informing us about her new campaign song and to include some cute business where she alludes to her concern about health care by having a nice bowl of carrots instead of the onion rings they had on "The Sopranos"? If so, aren't you the good little voter, accepting the message Senator Clinton hoped to insert in your receptacle of a brain? The famously controlled former First Lady is pleased there are people like you.
Me, I'm not so obedient. Even though I voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and may very well vote for Hillary, I don't accept these things at face value. What's more I love a ripe opportunity for interpretation, including comic interpretation with sexual, Freudian content. What are you going to say: "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"? You simply cannot say that when Bill Clinton is in the picture. In the whole history of the world, if there is one person for whom a cigar was not just a cigar, it's Bill Clinton.
So here's the passage -- ooh, a passage! -- that got people so excited:
Bill says "No onion rings?" and Hillary responds "I'm looking out for ya." Now, the script says onion rings, because that's what the Sopranos were eating in that final scene, but I doubt if any blogger will disagree with my assertion that, coming from Bill Clinton, the "O" of an onion ring is a vagina symbol. Hillary says no to that, driving the symbolism home. She's "looking out" all right, vigilant over her husband, denying him the sustenance he craves. What does she have for him? Carrot sticks! The one closest to the camera has a rather disgusting greasy sheen to it. Here, Bill, in retaliation for all of your excessive "O" consumption, you may have a large bowl of phallic symbols! When we hear him say "No onion rings?," the camera is on her, and Bill is off-screen, but at the bottom of the screen we see the carrot/phallus he's holding toward her. Oh, yes, I know that Hillary supplying carrots is supposed to remind that Hillary will provide us with health care, that she's "looking out for" us, but come on, they're carrots! Everyone knows carrots are phallic symbols. But they're cut up into little carrot sticks, you say? Just listen to yourself! I'm not going to point out everything.See that phrase "I doubt if any blogger will disagree with my assertion"? That's an awfully cheap trick, a way to prod bloggers to write about the post. But nobody with any decent readership is dumb enough to say Althouse is crazy to think everyone will agree with that. Right?
I'm saying outright: Come on, everybody, into the vortex. And in they hop. It's an anti-Althousiana fest. I love it!
According to Memeorandum, my onion-rings-are-vagina-symbols story ranks second only to Mayor Bloomberg's leaving the Republican Party. (I'll try to do a free-form Freudian riff on Bloomberg later, perhaps: The O in GOP traumatized him. Ever notice that GOP could be pronounced "go pee"? (I doubt if any blogger who reads that can continue to view me as a "wingnut."))
So let's survey the onion-ring subgenre of anti-Althousiana:
First, let's see what TRex has to say. Surely, a guy who named himself after the biggest, most ferocious dinosaur will have a useful perspective on sexual imagery in film. He begins with the least creative approach found in the anti-Althousianan literature: assertions that Professor Althouse is crazy. I think the poor man knows this is a cliché, because he desperately grasps for colorful ways to say it. He comes up with "a few balloon animals shy of a birthday party" and "on the short bus to Woof-Woof Land." This is mainly padding though. Let's get to the specifics. He quotes me, then says:
Uhhhhhh, hold up, wait a minute. This blogger strongly disagrees and I’m sure if you gave me a couple minutes, I could run out in the yard and round up a couple dozen more, at least.Ah, ha ha ha ha ha! Good lord, is it really this easy? Now, I'm laughing, but starting to feel a little sad. I don't think TRex is the dumbest guy in the world, yet he wrote something that I had assumed no one was dumb enough to say.
His post is padded with comments from my blog, but his main substance is this:
Apparently in the Mind of Ann Althouse absolutely anything (even something as innocuous as a humble onion ring) gets larded down with layers of psycho-sexual significance when it’s submerged in the warm, sticky tide of sexual charisma that surrounds our former president like a fog.No, when I saw the onion rings in the final scene of "The Sopranos," I, like many other people, thought they represented communion wafers. The context counts. Here the context was Bill Clinton and the wife he has notoriously cheated on for years. He's saying he wants onion rings, and she's imposing carrots on him. That cries out for psycho-sexual interpretation. It's not the intent of the film's auteur -- unless he's a traitor to Clinton -- but it's imagery that they should have noticed as they were writing the script. TRex seems to want to let them off the hook by acting like associating Bill Clinton with sex is a weird little problem of mine. I don't think so!
Hillary wants to take advantage of Bill in her campaign. Fine. I understand the motivation. But she's got to figure out how to overcome the negatives. Whenever we see them together, we think about their relationship and what he did to it. There is complexity there. She can't expect us to just put that aside. She may be able to compartmentalize as she pursues her goal, but why would we?
TRex brings up last year's biggest anti-Althousiana topic: my interpretion of a photograph of Bill Clinton with a group of bloggers who'd just had lunch with him. That lunch was, ostensibly, an effort to help the Hillary Clinton campaign by using Bill's clout to influence bloggers to think well of her. In the photograph, the woman posed in front of Bill had the effect -- I argued -- of reminding us of Monica Lewinsky. This illustrated the problem of Hillary attempting to use Bill in the campaign.
Here's what TRex says about that now:
Looks like we now have conclusive proof that the whole Unpleasantness from last fall was just a spasm of Althouse’s mania to compulsively eroticize anything and anyone (apparently up to and including innocent foodstuffs) that is unlucky enough to be photographed with Big Dog. I wonder if [the woman in the photograph] realizes now that she could have been wearing a blouse made of prepared vegetables and the reaction would have been exactly the same.Of course, a "blouse made of prepared vegetables" (why "prepared"?) would have been outrageously suggestive. But what the hell? TRex is intent on denying that Bill Clinton's reputation has a big sexual dent in it. And, by the way, vegetables are not that innocent. Don't you know that they dream of responding to you? Why else are they covered with dew?
Second, let's look at Glenn Kenny, who's the Premiere film critic I got into a bit of a dispute with last week. He makes a show of refraining from attacking me and noting that he gets the song reference, then taking up the idea that it was elitist to use "The Sopranos," shows us what film references the Clintons might make if they were really elitist. Let's move on.
Third, we have Scott Lemieux, whose is probably the biggest hack in the anti-Althousiana genre. He writes about me frequently, even though he can't think of much beyond the usual clichés about how I'm crazy, stupid, drunk, and so forth. It's sad. This is his new effort:
I really hope that she wasn't kidding with the "no blogger will disagree" bit.Why does he hope I wasn't kidding? I assume that's a mistake. He seems to be somewhat less dim than TRex, even though his writing is duller. But TRex only seems un-dull because he reaches for those phrases like "short bus to Woof-Woof Land" that are typical of second-rate comic writing. Back to Scott:
A consuming obsession with Bill Clinton's sex life is merely banal among American conservatives, and with Althouse more than well-established in any case, but the assumption that it's universal is special.Oh, lord, that man is boring! This may be the first time I've ever linked to him, even though he writes about me all the time. Someone in his comments says:
It would seem that you have your own obsession with Ann Althouse. I have visited her blog and don't see the reciprocity. I suspect that you have the perfect relationship; you follow every move she makes and she simply isn't aware or doesn't care.Yeah, well, poor little Scott -- who's actually a political science professor -- will have to satisfy himself alone again for a good long while, because I really don't care. He's too boring! Or should I say merely banal among anti-Althousian scribblers.
Fourth, Instaputz displays a picture of me and then says sexual things about me. If I were a Yale law student, I'd sue him, and I could even leverage my way into federal court with a copyright claim. (I have a Creative Commons license on my photographs in Flickr, but he omits the required attribution and, in any event, it's obvious that I didn't take this picture so the license isn't mine to give.) By the way a "putz" is a little penis, so he might want to order the fried calamari instead of the onion rings.
Fifth, Roy at Alicublog is in the vortex, even though, as usual, he's got nothing interesting to say. My post made him "think of Matt Taibbi, a progressive who is famously embarrassed by the 'silly' American Left." He goes on:
I say that for all the "guys on stilts wearing mime makeup and Cat-in-the-Hat striped top-hats" Taibbi notices on the left, I see an equal number, at least, of Althousean clowns on the right, as this blog documents.Yeesh. He's got that Greenwaldian verbosity. Translation: My post is silly. Too bad that with all those words, he can't come up with a single substantive point. Another inconsequential contribution to anti-Althousiana. How embarrassing for little Roy.
Okay, I'll stop. For now.
ADDED: Okay, there's more now: here. Don't miss the added part at the bottom. Well, let me excerpt it:
I just want to emphasize that I stand by my original sexual interpretation. You've got a married couple talking about two foods, one of which is obviously a hole, and the other of which is so clearly phallic that this Google search gets over 70,000 hits.
The man wants the hole-shaped item, and the woman forbids it. She insists that he confine himself to the phallic item, which has been sliced down to puny, thin stick form. The man looks at it sadly, and the woman tells him it's for his own good. If you don't see sexual imagery there, you exist on a very narrow band of human imagination....
When Clinton sadly bites into the carrot stick of his own castration, it makes a crunch noise -- ouch! -- and it's that noise that causes the ominous looking man at the bar ("Johnny Sack") to turn and look at him. He then walks by and gives him a glare. What does that glare mean in the Clinton video? I think it means: "What kind of man are you?"