Predictable? No Way--but You Knew She’d Say That
Am I getting predictable?
Do I say only nice things about Democrats and only nasty things about Republicans? Would I condemn violence only on the part of an anti-abortion activist and ignore violence perpetrated by the forces of pro-choice?
Gosh, I hope not.
But recently, readers have accused me of hypocrisy for not defending Arianna Huffington’s right to take a leading role in her husband’s U.S. Senate campaign. After all, didn’t I rush to defend Hillary Clinton’s high profile during Bill’s presidential campaign? So, some readers wonder, why don’t I support Arianna?
Let the record show: I support Arianna Huffington running her husband’s campaign 1 , 000%.
If I were going to condemn Arianna--whose Picasso biography I immensely enjoyed, by the way--it would be for her inane ideas about charity, her obfuscation of her ties to “wayshower” John-Roger, and her “pay-no-attention-to-the-woman-behind-the-curtains” pose.
Arianna and Mike Huffington have denied what former campaign workers say is her deep involvement in her husband’s campaign. This speaks to a certain lack of candor and an odd defensiveness on the part of both Huffingtons.
As Clinton’s detractors might put it: “It’s the integrity, stupid.”
But there I go again.
Sometimes, readers are predictable too.
I have a regular correspondent who likes to deface my columns and send them back to me, but--and here is the predictable part--only when I write about abortion, immigration or gay rights.
Two weeks ago, I opened a piece of mail and a neatly clipped recent column of mine came fluttering out. The column was one in which I questioned the motives of people who pine for “the good old days,” which, after all, weren’t so great for whole bunches of people.
My correspondent had defaced the column with a red felt-tip pen. All my words had been crossed out, and a few swastikas added for . . . what? Extra decoration, I guess. Above and below my name, the reader had written in a delicate hand, “Satan’s Little Whore.”
(For the record, I have no personal relationship with Satan. I don’t even like heavy metal. And although I would prefer being called “petite,” “little” works.)
Anyway, I want to thank that reader, whoever you are, for you have given me a fabulous gift, the book title I have long been searching for. If you had identified yourself in your missive, I would have thanked you personally.
I guess I’ll just have to see you in hell.
The issue of predictability is something that--you should pardon the expression--bedevils the columnist.
You don’t want readers to assume they know what you’re going to write on a given topic because if they already know what you’re going to say, they’ll just skip to the horoscope. Still, being human, I am not immune to the power of reverse psychology.
The other day, a reader sent me a copy of a wire-service brief that had appeared in his local newspaper (and The Times, although he had missed it), and dared me to write about it. The two-paragraph item began, “A man picking up his wife at a Louisiana abortion clinic shot at a demonstrator who had yelled, ‘You’re killing your baby.’ ” (After one shot, the gun jammed; the protester was unhurt.)
“I will be very interested to see how you handle this one,” wrote my un-fan, “since you have breathed fire on pro-lifers for such a long time. But, then, I’m equally sure you won’t touch it.”
Oh yeah? Take that back!
I am horrified that anyone would shoot at anyone else. I think that the gunman, who was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder, should face trial and the decision of a jury.
I also think that if anti-abortion activists had not engaged in a systematic campaign of murder, bombing and other kinds of terror, it is very likely that a man taking his wife to exercise her legal right to an abortion would not be fearful enough to carry a gun.
But you probably knew I’d say that.
* Robin Abcarian’s column is published Wednesdays and Sundays.