Archie and Veronica TTC

September 27, 1998|By Arnold Rosenfeld

I SAID I wouldn't watch it. But I did, at least about an hour of President Clinton's grand jury performance. I thought it was pretty dull, which, I'd guess, is what the president was shooting for. Only once, when he was denouncing Paula Jones' attorneys with a series of "deplores," did I think Mr. Clinton hit his rhetorical stride, rhythmically matching eloquence with indignation. His strong suit was his supposed unwillingness to kiss and tell. They say a gentleman doesn't.

The Monica Lewinsky papers were released about the same time. I've only read what I've seen in the papers. It seems to me that what we have here is a collision of the greatest male mid-life crisis since Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack with a descendant of the '60s sexual revolution.

Mr. Clinton, a participating beneficiary of that revolution, seems to have forgotten the part about growing up. We're not talking here about Romeo and Juliet. We're talking about something more like Archie and Veronica. Ms. Lewinsky, no revolutionary, may or may not have ever heard of the sexual revolution or thought about it very much. For her, it was an unremarkable part of her life. Until, inexplicably, she fell in love, just as Mr. Clinton was flatfooting it down the hall on the cusp of a '60s flashback.

An amazing moment, really, fusing slapstick comedy, pathos, irony and the culture gap into a criminal matter.

Arnold Rosenfeld is editor-in-chief of Cox Newspapers.

Pub Date: 9/27/98

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