Tuesday, 19 June 2007

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Caricature Passing for Analysis Last month, I chided Tom and Joe upbraiding Ann Althouse on her interpretive acumen. Yesterday, she proved how wise I was to do so. Her take on the Bill and Hillary Sopranos commercial: 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. She later claims to be joking about something or other, but that's beside the point. (Which, I'll add, has been hashed out by others.) That she believes the above a "little casual Freudian interpretation" speaks to the vacuousness of a certain mode of psychoanalytic thinking. To wit: 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 ... 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. She honestly believes herself engaged in some sort of "psycho-sexual interpretation" here. As someone purported...

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