|How Deep Is America the Beautiful?|
A writer observed that "inheriting her mother's hamster cheeks and her father's adventurous nose, [Chelsea] looked a little odd." |
We are taught that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that it is only skin deep. Why, in this so-called "new age" when the more spiritual aspects of life are marketed at retail and wholesale prices, are conventions of beauty so rigid?
Despite her parents' attempt to shield her, Chelsea has, perhaps ironically, been victimized by that image obsessiveness so characteristic of the Clinton era. Her appearance has been used like a cudgel by opponents (political and moral) of her father. The most notable example of this is the joke that Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) told at a Republican Party fund-raising function in June 1998. The essence of the joke was that Chelsea was ugly because Janet Reno was her real father. The joke and its obsession with surface features (and the recurring theme of Hillary Clinton's lesbianism) speaks volumes about how superficially focused the culture really is. McCain later apologized for the unkind joke. But so what? The underlying preoccupation with surface imagery in both the political and cultural landscape is undeniable.
In a remarkably bizarre online column about Chelsea written for Salon Magazine the provocative cultural critic Camille Paglia reinforced this perverted obsession with appearances. After describing Chelsea's boyfriend as "a wealthy, dishy, young Stanford spark," Paglia asks, "Does anyone seriously believe that a freshman girl with Chelsea's looks could normally have snagged a campus dreamboat of this rank? "
We saw Chelsea Clinton on stage in 1993 at the MTV inaugural ball celebrating the beginning of her father's presidency. But for the first three years we didn't really see much of her. The Clintons, while reviled on many fronts, have been recognized as caring and loving parents to Chelsea.
On the other hand they have also been accused of using Chelsea as a public relations prop. She was 12 years old when her father won the presidency. This means she was not yet a teenager when the marital difficulties between her parents, including her father's adulterous relationship with Jennifer Flowers, were aired out in public. Campaign ads at the time included a young Chelsea saying, "I think I'm glad you're my parents."
The Clintons did a fairly good job of protecting Chelsea from the glare of the Washington media. But information about her began appearing in 1996. People Magazine named her one of the 25 most intriguing people of that year. She achieved academic distinction when she was named a National Merit Scholar. She did ballet and danced in the Nutcracker. She graduated from the Sidwell Friends private high school on June 6, 1997. She decided to attend Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. There were a number of media reports on September 17, 1997 when she left home and headed west, off to college.
Reports surfaced from time to time that Chelsea, burdened with secret service protection at college, disdained them. She apparently referred to the security detail as "trained pigs." This may be not-so-idle gossip designed to reflect the first daughter in a dim light. At least one message posted to an internet list suggests the opposite.
My friend dated one of those SS [Secret Service] guys assigned to Chelsea at Stanford. That's a whole story in itself. But he said Chelsea was a very nice person, and that they did try and give her privacy. But that they "always had eyes and ears, if you know what I mean.[From: lita 03/15/99 16:22:58 PST, posted at the Free Republic Conservative News Forum].Her reputation for being a nice person is echoed elsewhere. She has earned the respect of people like Mike McCurry, a former Clinton Whitehouse spokesman and Dick Morris a former Clinton political advisor (and another person subject to intimate public scrutiny for his sexual behavior) and Jessie Jackson, ubiquitous leader of the Rainbow Coalition. It was reported that Chelsea and Reverend Jackson prayed together during her father's oral-sex-with-the-intern-scandal. The kind comments from Jackson would seem to contradict earlier reports that Chelsea thought Reverend Jackson "spooky." Or maybe Chelsea changed her mind, or maybe the press reports about her calling on Jackson to help were just more flak generated by the well-soiled Clinton apparatus. Or maybe Chelsea never was critical of Jackson.
Her first college romance in May 1998 was announced and controversy over her privacy surfaced again and again. The media debated with itself whether or not to divulge the name of the boyfriend. By the time the romance ended in November, it made front-page news in newspapers like the New York Post. The veil of privacy for the teenaged first daughter was being peeled away.
Several published accounts, including the February 1999 People Magazine cover story entitled "Hillary and Chelsea: Grace Under Fire" suggest that 19-year-old Chelsea handled her father's sexual transgression with 24-year-old Monica Lewinsky with maturity. (Does this suggests that maturity might not be inherited?) What's true, what's spin, is always difficult to assess, especially in an age so completely dependent on image, especially surface image...you know, the kind that can be communicated quickly, leaving little time for reflection.
Chelsea Clinton will be 20 years old just before the start of Season 2000 at the Cosmic Baseball Association. Her birthday is February 27. Our annual cosmic playing seasons begin on the Ides of March.
Chelsea played cosmic baseball as a pitcher for the Paradise Pisces for two seasons (see her official record.) Her career in the universe of cosmic baseball will definitely be more noted for her work as General Manager of the Pisces. She was largely responsible for converting the team so that only players born on the appropriate days in the months of February and March could be on the roster. Her draft picks have been wonderful: the pitchers Vanessa Williams and Robert Bork come to mind.
Even though she got embroiled in an ugly public dispute with Pisces Field Manager Ana´s Nin, (she eventually fired Nin) most believe Chelsea has done a better-than-average job. And despite their differences, Nin will tell you that she thinks Chelsea is beautiful. And Nin has a reputation for having a good eye.
|Chelsea Clinton at the Cosmic Baseball Association|
After the 1998 season Clinton was deactivated as a pitcher and then immediately signed on to be the team's general manager. She and then-field manager Ana´s Nin successfully transformed the team so that it consisted only of individuals born between February 19 and March 21. The young Clinton is given much of the credit for going out and finding such capable Pisces players as Wyatt Earp and Bobby Unser.
The Pisces made it to the 1999 Cosmic Universal Series (XVIII), Clinton's first season as G.M. But the fish ultimately lost in seven games to the upstart Pre-Raphaelite Baseball Club from the Underleague.
Clinton's mother Hillary is an infielder for the Vestal Virgins, CBA's team of interesting women and her father, William, is a pitcher with the Washington Presidents.
|Chelsea Clinton Links|