“Since Xmas vacation, I’ve gone through three and a half metamorphoses and am beginning to feel as though there is a smorgasbord of personalities spread before me,” Ms. Rodham wrote to [Johh] Peavoy in April 1967. “So far, I’ve used alienated academic, involved pseudo-hippie, educational and social reformer and one-half of withdrawn simplicity.”...How incredibly unembarrassing! Here she is writing intimate letters to a friend, and there isn't one idiotic political outburst, one concession of drug use, one humiliating sexual episode? Perhaps it's embarrassing that she was so self-controlled back then. "[T]he patch of sunlight that broke the density of the elms" -- who writes like that? This is a letter from a young person to a friend, not a freshman creative writing class assignment.
“Sunday was lethargic from the beginning as I wallowed in a morass of general and specific dislike and pity for most people but me especially,” Ms. Rodham reported in a letter postmarked Oct. 3, 1967....
“Can you be a misanthrope and still love or enjoy some individuals?” Ms. Rodham wrote in an April 1967 letter. “How about a compassionate misanthrope?”...
“Random thinking usually becomes a process of self-analysis with my ego coming out on the short end,” she writes...
Her letters at times betray a kind of innocent narcissism over “my lost youth,” as she described it in a letter shortly after her 19th birthday. She wrote of being a little girl and believing that she was the only person in the universe. She had a sense that if she turned around quickly, “everyone else would disappear.
“I’d play out in the patch of sunlight that broke the density of the elms in front of our house and pretend there were heavenly movie cameras watching my every move,” she says. She yearns for all the excitement and discoveries of life without losing “the little girl in the sunlight.”...
The letters contain no possibly damaging revelations of the proverbial “youthful indiscretions,” and mention nothing glaringly outlandish or irresponsible.
But we know little about this Peavoy character. He grew up to be an English professor, teaching at a small women's college. Perhaps, back in the 60s, he was a person who made her feel see should prove her writing aptitude. But she had to be the sort of person who would nerdishly craft prose like that to please a precociously literary young man.
"Ms. Rodham’s letters are written in a tight, flowing script with near-impeccable spelling and punctuation."
What does it mean to be "tight" and "flowing"? "Flowing" -- I assume -- is the handwriting style we were taught to use back in the days when there were lessons in penmanship. What could make that "tight" would be an effort to adhere to the proper flowing style.
We see a very earnest and analytical young woman. Impeccable punctuation -- I'll bet that punctuation wasn't a lot of exclamation points! -- and I'm sure -- I know the type! -- those letters didn't fly along with cascades of dashes -- those impassioned young-girl dashes -- that fill the letters of her contemporaries -- I should know! -- I was one!! -- you should see the letters I wrote to my mother back then -- she saved them!!! -- so like her -- I had to find them when I was cleaning out her house after she died... but Hillary -- you know -- I was four -- I am! -- four years younger -- and oh! those four years!!!! -- they made all the difference between me and my older sister -- so that's how I'm seeing Hillary -- hmmm!!!!! -- is that what we want for President???!!!! -- I'd like to see Nixon's handwriting!!!! -- don't you just know Nixon would use "tight, flowing" writing -- he's such a tightass! -- and you know what? Peavoy was really a jerk to turn over those letters without his old friend's permission -- what an asshole!!!!!!
IN THE COMMENTS: Pogo writes:
1. "Compassionate misanthropism" is the best summary I have ever heard of left-liberal thought, which indeed results in processes by which "everyone else would disappear".
2. She has no doubt retained the insatiable desire to be “the little girl in the sunlight,” the only person in the universe. Courtney Love described it better as being "the girl with the most cake."
3. Peavoy is beneath contempt for having done this.
ALSO IN THE COMMENTS: The theory that the Clinton campaign engineered the release of the letters.