Monday, March 2, 2015

I've heard of "Clinton Derangement Syndrome," but this is ridiculous!

Saw this story in Salon this afternoon:

Can you spot the Monica Lewinsky reference hidden in Bill Clinton’s official portrait?

Naturally, I assumed this was going to be some kind of a joke, and I like a good Bill Clinton bj joke as much as the next 12-year-old, so I read on.

The Lewinsky scandal cast a proverbial shadow over Bill Clinton’s entire presidency — so, it makes some sense that, as we learn today, a literal shadow of Monica Lewinsky was secretly etched into Clinton’s official portrait as well.

No. No it doesn't. Not unless other presidential portraits have these sort of references. Does LBJ's official portrait reference the Gulf of Tonkin? Does Reagan's have an allusion to Iran-Contra? Pretty sure they don't.
So what is the painter's explanation for this?

Clinton was hard. I’ll tell you why. The reality is he’s probably the most famous liar of all time. 


The most famous?

The most famous liar ever?

Joseph McCarthy (Photo: Library of Congress)

He and his administration did some very good things, of course, but I could never get this Monica thing completely out of my mind and it is subtly incorporated in the painting.

You know what? You're hired to do a job. If you just can't get past the fact that the subject of your painting may have lied about having an extra-marital fling, if you're that much of a blue-nosed moralist, just decline the commission. If you're really that bothered by this whole thing just say "thanks for the offer, but since I don't think I am capable of painting this portrait without including a shabby cheap-shot, I will have to turn down this opportunity."
But if you take the money, just do the damn portrait and keep your moralizing to yourself.

By the way, when I did a Google search for the painter, one Mr. Nelson Shanks, the first thing that came up is a portrait of Marissa Tomei in the altogether.
The most prominent painting on his website is of Pope John Paull II who spent his career enabling child molesters, so I'm not sure why he suddenly has a moral objection to a man who had consensual sex with an adult woman.

And as to why he couldn't "get this Monica thing completely out of [his] mind," he offers a bit of insight into that:

If you look at the left-hand side of it there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things. It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there.

Jeezus. . . You kept a blue dress on a mannequin in youir line of sight as you were painting, and yet you somehow just couldn't seem to forget about the Lewinsky thing? That's just like how I just can't seem to stop thinking about pizza whenever I am eating pizza while watching a dvd of  "Mystic Pizza" and crank-calling Papa John's.
You really can't say that you just couldn't get her out of your mind when you were going out of your way to constantly remind yourself of her. I'm surprised you didn't jerk off on the dress for authenticity. Actually, I have no reason to think you didn't do that. But let's assume you didn't.
No, fuck it, I'm going to assume you did, because now I can't get that image out of my mind. If ever i paint a portrait of you, I will have no choice but to make it a painting of you jerking off onto a blue dress on a mannequin. 

It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.

You know what, fuck you, you ridiculous little prig. The Lewinsky "scandal" did not cas a shadow on the Clinton presidency. (The Defense of Marriage Act did, NAFTA did, etc) It cast a shadow on the Gingrich Republicans, exposing them as petty, spiteful children who would do anything to try to hurt their opponents, no matter how futile or absurd.
No one looks back at the Clinton years and says "good economy, peace and prosperity, but dammit, that blowjob just ruined everything!" The only people who care are people who already hated Bill Clinton and this just gave them a way to rationalize their hatred.