"Ask yourself why nobody is agreeing with you."

Sept. 21, 2010


I recently came across the May 2010 issue of Esquire and was really impressed at the overall quality of writing-- it was far beyond the "lad mag" fare I was expecting from having thumbed through friends' issues of Maxim back in the day.  Lesson: Don't judge a men's magazine by its (very racy) cover!

Whatever your politics, I think it'd be difficult to dislike reading Tom Junod's nuanced and fantastically well-written profile of Hillary Clinton. I especially liked the part where, during a routine State Department meeting, Hillary takes an unexpected (by me, anyway, given Hillary's reputation as a die-hard feminist) stance on an African-American female employee's claims of discrimination:

Most of those involved in the meeting, however, are those who make up the vast majority of the State Department: career foreign-service and civil-service employees. ...A middle-aged woman in a green jacket stands up and says into the microphone, "I'm concerned that I've been here for eleven years and I've never had a good supervisor."

There's some laughter, and there's even more when the Secretary [of State, Hillary Clinton] says, "Well, shall we give equal time to your supervisors?"

But then the woman says, "I've been discriminated against," and the Secretary says, "Well, I think we have procedures inside State you can follow," and the woman says, "Which I have done," and the Secretary says, Well, just because you've spoken to someone, "that doesn't mean they're going to always side with you... ." It's almost as if the Secretary has decided to guest-star in an episode of The Office until suddenly she becomes Hillary Clinton again and says, "I mean, I've had more criticism in my life than probably whole countries have had." Now, that garners some applause, and yet the woman in the green jacket is not going anywhere. She asks, "So what can I do if the union didn't help me and the Office of Civil Rights didn't help me?"

And the Secretary — no, Hillary — says, "Well, I think you need to ask yourself why nobody is agreeing with you."

And you know what? It's beautiful... She was kind to this woman, almost tender. She was diplomatic. And she cut her off at the knees!