Horror and Hillary

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It
appears that major donors to Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the
United States Senate were rewarded with invitations to stay in the
Lincoln bedroom of the White House or to spend weekends at Camp
David. We have heard this kind of news before. Certainly there are
compelling arguments against such close associations between elected
politicians and private benefactors. But they don’t interest me
because I assume that there exists no moral propriety in Washington
business transactions and no limit to the permutations of its sleeping
arrangements.

But
the attraction of spending any time at all in the White House, particularly
in the Lincoln bedroom, is perplexing. The comic aperçu that
follows a night in this room usually is about having had sex in
its regal atmosphere. This might be amusing if we could assert that
Lincoln was exactly as he is perceived by most Americans and not
a pernicious tyrant who cast, into a vortex of destruction, the
dream of liberty. Still, imagine yourself writing Hillary a check
for some immense figure. She thanks you for the graft, startles
you with that strangely obsequious sneer, then sends you straight
to bed.

Thus
begins your reverie in the lair of the beast itself, Theseus vanishing
between columnar plinths of the Labyrinth gate. Down he goes once
again, as often before, imagining the secret inside his name: The(y)Se(e)(U)s,
that bower of deep history impelling him ever way from dreams of
rest in arboreal spaces and ever toward cataclysms in catacombs.
His lantern illumines the anteroom’s careful detailing of arcing
arabesques and florid mosaics, dense with denizens of an allegorical
world, shadow harlequins and transcendental ghouls of the night
watch, fissures in cold stone, burbling with liquescent ghosts of
the Civil War dead. He traces with slender fingers glyphs in the
marble balustrade while, behind him, the light of memory, splinters,
scatters and is gone.

Darkness
erupts in a rhizomatic bloom of ventricles plunging through Southern
soil, doomed faces fed through oubliettes in the plasms of mud.
Screams entangle the logic of Ariadne’s thread. The Minotaur’s grim
retribution for Athenian ardor writhes beneath the map of Appomattox
and speaks in riddling cant to Minos, Father of ignominy, stately
solipsist of a warring cosmology. Their mouths open in unison, in
union. And you wake.

Professor
Harrison Horne of the Sleep Research Laboratory at Loughborough
University in Leicestershire, England, reports in the Quarterly
Journal of Experimental Psychology 2000; 53 (1)271-9, that
sleep deprivation impairs temporal memory. But this alone cannot
explain your vexed encounter with Hillary’s nightmare world. For
in the sleep of Lincoln, the world of truth is reconstructed on
the Knossosian model, and the multicursal maze becomes the multi-cultural
ruin of a once great society. The Minotaur was born of the unholy
conjunction between a magic bull and the vengeful Pasiphæ,
a fiercely ambitious woman who let herself be raped by an animal
in order to keep the palace in the family. The Minotaur’s birth
scandalized the Cretan gentry, polarized the clergy, but was a harbinger
of power. And though she was horribly disfigured by the delivery,
Pasiphæ displaced forever all her husband’s mistresses and
excesses with a singular act of political acuity. Thus are horror
and Hillary fused in the dark conjugation of the Lincoln bed.

September
15, 2000

Scott
Wilkerson is curator of the Ward Library at the Mises
Institute
.

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