Monday, February 11, 2008

The Hot Peppers and Purell Policy

It serves me right for breaking my own rule. Although I promised myself I would never witness such an unavoidably vapid spectacle, I went ahead and watched Katie Couric interview Hillary Clinton last night.

I still feel ill.

If you were a viewer hoping for even one single deep, substantive, probing question, it was a night for profound disappointment. Did you want to know about Senator Clinton's plans on dealing with Al Qaeda and Iraq? Universal health care? The national debt? Education? The tax structure? Global warming?

Silly you. Here's the important question Katie couldn't wait to ask: "Have you grappled with the idea, Senator Clinton, that it could be him and not you?"

I'll say this for the $15 million woman--she understands Clinton enough to know that the race is all about Hillary. To be fair, we, the viewers, did learn a great deal. For example, the nation can rest easier now, knowing that Sen. Clinton washes her hands "all the time." Or, if she can't, she uses "Purell or one of the santizers."

To quote the character Hudson, from Aliens: I feel safer already.

The secret to Clinton's good health? "I eat a lot of hot peppers...and I swear by it." And there's more:

"I take vitamins. I drink tea, not coffee anymore. I have really stopped
drinking diet drinks. Because I found that they gave you a jolt, but they
weren't good over the long run. I used to drink a lot of them. I drink tons of
water. Just as much water as I can possibly drink."
This is earthshaking data, to be sure, though just how it correlates to the health of the republic is beyond me. But then, what do I know? I don't even like hot peppers. As this travesty of an "interview" progressed, no personal detail of Hill's life seemed too inane for close examination. I fully expected the two of them to launch into comparisons of their favorite Victoria's Secret fragrances. (Maybe that segment ended up on the cutting room floor.)

I'm not sure how much all this fluff will matter in the long run, considering the fact that Barack Obama is pulverizing Clinton lately. No wonder. But what an embarrassment that the first woman candidate for U.S. president seems perfectly comfortable discussing meaningless minutia at tedious length on national television.

Can you imagine Margaret Thatcher blathering on in public about her dietary habits and personal hygiene? No? Well, I can't either. Thatcher knew how to behave. But then, Thatcher also knew a few things about running a country. If the Rasputin-like Hillary manages to survive the current Obamania, she could end up as Commander in Chief--of the country, as well as of Peppers and Purell.

At which point, the aforementioned Hudson would say, we'll be "in some real pretty --" um, stuff. You know, the stuff that is often preceded by hot peppers and followed by Purell.

Suddenly, the Hillary interview is making sense to me.