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At the movies with Hillary

John Everett | Thursday, April 3, 2008

One of the worst things to happen to television in recent times, perhaps only surpassed in atrocity by “The Hills,” is the trend of cable networks straying from their stated purpose. TV Land is supposed to show episodes of classic television series, but good luck finding Happy Days or The Dick Van Dyke Show. Instead, they’ve got a bunch of people who graduated high school together 20 years ago in the same house. Indeed it seems sometimes that C-SPAN is perhaps the last channel left resisting this ignoble trend, although I hear if you want to see the really good legislation, you have to go to C-SPAN 2.

The worst offender is American Movie Classics. Their level of complicity is so disturbing because by including the word “classic” in their name they imply that anything they air has attained the level of classic, when in fact I once stumbled upon Catwoman, the 2004 Halle Berry vehicle, on the network. Now, I have no problem with that movie being shown on television, but isn’t there a Starz: Reputation-Wrecking Performances Channel where they could show such films?

For every Catwoman that AMC shows there is a much better movie they could be showing in its place, something that might in some circles be considered, you know, a classic. The result is that the public becomes less conversant on classic film, a problem recently encountered by the real subject of this column, Hillary Clinton.

Recently, the former First Lady, and also former prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination for president, began comparing herself to ultimate underdog Rocky Balboa in a remarkably condescending appeal to Pennsylvania voters in advance of the state’s April 22 primary. Mrs. Clinton’s belief that the voters of Pennsylvania are stupid enough to buy the comparison shall be left to other writers. What I am interested in is the fact that, due to the negligence of AMC, not one person on the Clinton campaign staff has ever seen the Best Picture winner from 1976.

How do I know they haven’t seen the movie? Well, I guess I don’t, not really, but I just assume that if any of them had they would have mentioned to the candidate that Rocky loses to the black guy in the end.

Now, I like to be helpful, just ask anybody, and I watch a lot of old movies, so I thought maybe I could help the Clinton campaign out here, and think of a more appropriate character that Mrs. Clinton could claim connection to. I must admit that my immediate thoughts turned to The Godfather. Michael Corleone wouldn’t let anything stand in his way, and neither would Hillary. However, a google search of “Hillary Clinton+ fratricide” returned mixed results at best, so I let that one die.

Other unflattering comparisons came to mind, mostly to female Disney villains, until I found that I was ashamed of myself. I was being mean to Mrs. Clinton. I was projecting all of the worst qualities I could think of onto her, and using that to form my comparison. No, the best way was to take the candidate at her own words, get to know her as she presents herself, for really, I have no reason to doubt her, and use this to try and establish a resonant fictive comparison.

Well, I did this for a few days, and I’m proud to announce the result. Hillary Clinton is most like Forrest Gump.

The surface likenesses are obvious, from an influential “Bubba” figure in each of their lives to their shared status as All-American Alabama football players. But the real connection here is more metaphysical. Think back to the movie, and what do you remember? Forrest sure was everywhere, wasn’t he? School integrations, Watergate, Vietnam, opening up of China, heck he even met both Kennedy and Nixon. It seems like there wasn’t a major event of the baby boom generation that Forrest Gump wasn’t around for. He was never really the key figure, no, Forrest was more content to play a background role, and indeed you might remember the events quite well without remembering his involvement.

Well, after listening to Mrs. Clinton discuss her “35 Years of Experience” at several different campaign stops recently, what better metaphor could there be for her life? This unfortunate woman has lived her whole life on the scene of the great moments of history, but no one remembers her role correctly. What a pity David Trimble et al don’t remember her at the peace talks in Ireland! What a shame that there is no one who can recall her so strongly protesting the NAFTA agreements her husband championed! What an outrage that her boss during her work on the Watergate hearings clearly misremembers her, since he claims that she was then a deceitful, dishonest lawyer!

Yes, like Forrest Gump, it seems no one will ever really acknowledge the pivotal role Mrs. Clinton has played in world affairs. The Clinton campaign needs to keep reminding us of this, to keep the flame alive, before Apollo Creed, I mean Barack Obama, puts it out forever.

John Everett is a senior English major. He is thought to be somewhere between 21 and 45 years of age. He is armed only with a sharp wit and is

considered cantankerous. If you have any information regarding his

whereabouts, please contact jeverett@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not

necessarily those of The Observer.