Affectionately known as “Bubba” to members of the vast right-wing conspiracy, Bill Clinton, much like John F. Kerry, is many things to many people. Aside from being the self-proclaimed “first black president of the United States,” Clinton is an unabashed publicity hog. A giant vortex in media time and space that sucks in attention, and then comes back for seconds (and thirds, and fourths…).
Few American politicians have demonstrated the seemingly biological necessity of appearing in print and on television more than our former philanderer-president. Yet “too much of a good thing” would be an apt description of how Clinton must have felt about the incessant media coverage of his now infamous “personal indiscretion” and subsequent impeachmment.
Allegedly persecuted by the widespread coverage delving into his personal life, Clinton himself now invites us to delve even deeper with the release of his new book My Life.
The selection of the book’s title has left some to wonder whether “Bubba” was actually feigning displeasure over the rather public investigation into his private life.
My Life was described in the New York Times as “part policy primer, part 12-step confessional, part stump speech and part presidential archive,” all the while being “sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull.” For the uninitiated, this means that liberals are flocking to Borders bookstores everywhere to gobble it up, while some curious conservatives will undoubtedly pick it up at Wal-mart. Thus fueling the meteoric rise of My Life to the top of bestseller lists everywhere, including the New York Times.
The need of Clinton to occupy a disproportionate amount of America’s attention span, and our willingness to oblige, makes me suspect that he has more in common with Brittany Spears than most would imagine. Although perhaps its best that we don’t imagine anything involving Bubba and Brittany…
Nonetheless, as New York magazine contributing editor Sarah Bernard noted on CNN regarding Ms. Spears, “She has an insane need for attention, and we have an insane need to give it to her.” Could not the same be said of fellow southerner Bill Clinton and his relationship with the American people?
So, I pose this question to the readers of the Daily Universe: Is it actually the American people who are to blame for Clinton’s “insane need” to be at the forefront of the national consciousness (not conscience)? Is it our fault that Clinton is a publicity hog? Is it us? Or is it him?
Well, I suppose that depends on what your definition of “is” is.