whose combined effect is to make Americansrnfeel as if they have suddenly awakenedrnon Mars. Here is the President ofrnthe United States, hands in pockets andrnleg cocked, staring down from thernRolling Stone cover, looking like … like arnboomer trying to look presidential whilernthinking, Hey, I’m on the cover ofrnRolling Stonel Inside is an interview inrnwhich the President uses the wordrn”damn” many times, his tribute evidentlyrnto the hipness of his audience. He alsornspeaks often and angrily of not gettingrncredit for his accomplishments, saying,rnfinally, “Do I care if I get credit? No.”rnHe returns again and again to the subjectrnof a hated Time cover portrait, but thenrndeclares that “it didn’t bother me veryrnmuch … I didn’t pay any attention to it.”rnHe volunteers that he has been “attacked”rnby the press “more often thanrnany other President,” then insists, “Irndon’t care what they say about me.” Therntotal absence of emotional logic (If 1rnclaim not to care about getting credit, doesrnit make sense to complain constantlyrnabout not getting credit?) makes the interviewrnpainful to read. Equally painfulrnare the blushing responses of the interviewers,rnJann Wenner and William Greider,rnwho raise Clinton’s ire and thenrnswoon that he is, “when enraged, incrediblyrnpresidential.” His wrath, they sigh, isrn”awesome.” (This is the same Clintonrntemper that is reported on at length inrnbooks by Bob Woodward and ElizabethrnDrew. The Clinton “purple rages” discussedrnin those books, the near-violentrnrants directed at helpless—and often innocentrn—underlings, do not come acrossrnas “incredibly presidential.” On the contrary,rnthey come across as ignoble, thernmanifestation of a stunted personality.)rnWhile the President is singing his versionrnof “Walk Like a Man” to RollingrnStone, Hillary is in Vogue trying to—well,rnit isn’t clear what she is trying to do. Onernfull-page photograph shows her posedrnhorizontally, hair flowing back, eyes gazingrnskyward in feigned reverie, a halfsmilernon her face. The accompanying articlerndiscusses another pose—”chestrnforward, head back”—and goes on tornquote an aide’s comment prior to Mrs.rnClinton’s health care testimony beforernCongress: “This is Eleanor Rooseveltrntime.” The whole thing is at once bizarrernand utterly earnest (missing headline:rn”Hillary Perseveres Toward Glamour”)rnand demonstrates in the end that thernquickest way to look ridiculous is to behavernas if you have charisma when yournhave none.rnWhy is it so hard to give these people.rnBill Clinton and his wife, the benefit ofrnthe doubt? Why do the Clintons engender,rnas the media keep asking in highrnanxiety, such harshness of response? Perhapsrnbecause they lack humility andrnhence, paradoxically, size. Because theyrnthink so highly of themselves, they arerntoo small for the honored positions theyrnhold. They are without grace—a truenessrnof emotional line, a form of poisernthat has nothing to do with “self-confidence.”rnWhen Bill Clinton is alone in a room,rndoes he know who he is? When HillaryrnClinton is in a crowd of American citizens,rndoes she know who she is? I don’trnthink so, and it wouldn’t matter exceptrnthat they are using the presidency as arnway not to find out, using it, that is, as arnfame vehicle, a means of fantasy fulfillment.rnThis degradation of the office is notrnconscious, however; it is not a choice. Itrnis simply the natural result of an inherentrngaucherie that forces things exalted andrnthings inconsequential into the samernflattened category of “image.” Perhapsrnthe most telling example of this is reportedrnby Elizabeth Drew in On the Edge,rnher horrifying account of the first 18rnmonths of the Clinton presidency. Duringrnone of his endless crises (he will neverrngrasp that habitual chaos is a form ofrnself-indulgence), as he continues rapidlyrnto lose public confidence and respect.rnBill Clinton is counseled by Leon Panettarnto keep in mind the “importance ofrnthe stature of the office.” Accepting thernpoint, Clinton responds, “I’ve got to bernmore like John Wayne.”rnJohn Wayne. Not Lincoln orrnChurchill, not Roosevelt or Truman.rnNot even Kennedy. The President of thernUnited States, in a moment of politicalrncrisis, spontaneously seized as his leadershiprnideal not a historical archetype but arnpop culture icon—an image, a persona,rnan invention. The banality of his thinkingrnis revealed in his choice of a moviernstar as role model. The depth of hisrnproblem is suggested by the essence ofrnthat particular star: the strong silent type.rnBill Clinton has nothing in commonrnwith the Duke. And all he has in commonrnwith John Wayne is that he makesrnhis living pretending to be something hernis not.rn]anet Scott Barlow writes fromrnCincinnati.rnThe Stuffed GrapernLeaf Standardrnby Sarah J. McCarthyrnDanger lurks everywhere these days,rneven in five gallon plastic tubs ofrnfeta cheese. The containers of feta deliveredrnto our restaurant come embellishedrnwith sketches of a baby falling headfirstrninto a bucket of cheese, which is preservedrnin liquid, and therefore comesrncomplete with grim warnings of possiblerndrownings in English and Espaiiol. Hasrnanyone really ever drowned in a tub of fetarncheese, I wondered, as I stared at therntoddler going head first into the bucket,rnor is this warning just the product of arnparanoid cheese producer or a plastic pailrnmaker who is afraid of being sued?rnThe federal government’s ConsumerrnProduct Safety Commission, it turnsrnout, has been studying the dangers ofrnplastic buckets for the past five years.rnOne of the solutions they came up withrnwas a suggestion to manufacturers thatrnthey produce buckets that leak. That solution,rnswiftly rejected by the Manufacturers’rnAssociation, would produce slipperyrnfloors in our walk-in cooler, dryrncheese on our salads, and icy floors eachrnwinter in the trucks that deliver therncheese.rnBusiness owners are nervous theserndays. Like citizens of a police state, wernwait for the knock at the door. Wendy’srnInternational thinks it’s too risky to sellrnhot chocolate in America. The RussianrnTea Room in New York City no longerrnsells steak tartare. The Las Vegas Hiltonrnhas been sent a message from the legalrnprofession, which sends more messagesrnto businesses these days than WesternrnUnion. For not recognizing that the partyingrnpilots of Tailhook needed a babysitter,rnthe Hilton has been fined $7 millionrnin punitive damages in the first of 12rnknown Tailhook-related lawsuits.rnIn Pittsburgh, a woman has brought arn$25,000 lawsuit against a supermarketrnwhich sold her a package of chickenrncomplete with a chicken’s head. Uponrnseeing the chicken head, she says she eol-rnJULY 1995/41rnrnrn