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social and antisocial - 2 08 2003 - 01:29 - katatonik

On humiliation, love, and anger

“It was widely said before the book appeared that if she did not include the Monica affair, she would in effect be stealing the cash—taking it under the false pretense that she did not know what was being demanded. She had to agree to undergo the humiliation of telling how humiliated she was by her husband’s sex games with a passing thong-snapper. OK, she tells us how humiliated she was: Very. Surprised? This is not enough for some. They want to know if she was very, very humiliated. Or they ask how she could have been truly humiliated only then, when she had been humiliated so often before. How much had earlier affairs humiliated her? ...

I do not recall similar requests being made of other women who have loved lecherous men of ideals and achievements—not a rare species by any means. No one said that Coretta King could not write a book without saying how much she had been humiliated by her husband’s affairs. (Was she more humiliated because he was a religious leader, or did that just make her believe more in redemption?) Nor was such a demand made of Jacqueline Kennedy, whose husband’s affairs were more numerous and inclusive …

But we are told that a strong woman, a “true” feminist, can no longer put up with such humiliation. We are usually informed what the true feminist should do by anti-feminists. I wonder what world such people live in. We see all the time women who are strong and independent, but who love disappointing partners … ... If anyone knows so little of human personality as to think deep love of a person cannot coexist with deep anger with the same person, he or she is more ignorant than Ms. Clinton was even as a college senior …”

Gary Wills reviews Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book ‘Living History’.

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