Weekly Wire
Salt Lake City Weekly Sell It to Larry Flynt

By Kristen Riedelbach

JANUARY 19, 1999:  As a chronic insomniac, I am also a late-night television aficionado. I could quote you Ronco before Shakespeare, and sing the chorus of every hard-rock, classic-rock and party-like-it's-1984 tune ever written.

Maybe all that radiation warped my perspective. Or maybe that perspective comes from weeks at a time of knowing that, at some point, all my neighbors turn off their TVs and stereos and go to bed.

But somewhere in between PBS' Sessions at 54th and the crack movie of the week, I forgot to care about Bill freakin' Clinton.

I didn't read "The Report"--any of them. I haven't watched any hearings, observed any polls or joined any chat rooms. What I know about the debacle, I know because I work in a newsroom and have friends who are reporters--and of course Jay, Dave, Conan and Bill.

From that, I figure I understand the situation about as well as most of John Q. Public: It's sex, no it's lying; it's family values, no it's forced puritanical mores. It's an invasion of privacy, no it's the public's right to know. And, my personal favorite: The people I feel most sorry for are Hillary and Chelsea.

Frankly, the person I feel most sorry for is me. The cigar jokes got old, like, two weeks after they started. And there is nothing worse than having Jay's celebrity de jour wax philosophical about privilege and morality.

I mean, who's to say that Hillary even feels bad about this? Who are all of these people putting victim's words in her mouth? What's to say that Hillary and Bill didn't strike a deal years ago, let Chelsea in on it, so that everybody gets their cranks turned and still gets to return home for a peaceful family breakfast?

Consider this: Four years ago I read a poll that said some 40 percent of women surveyed admitted cheating on their spouses. What are the chances that number has decreased?

And all of this Henry Hyde and Bob Livingston and Helen Chenoweth ... I can't even stand to watch my parents kiss each other goodbye. Why in god's name would I want to know which Washingtonian is banging whom this week? Sell it all to Larry Flynt and leave me out of it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah it's this kind of apathy and ignorance that is destroying our nation. Well let me tell you about apathy: The people I know aren't worried about sperm-stained dresses because they are too busy worrying about how they are going to pay rent and college loans and have enough left to get drunk on the weekend. The people I know don't care about poor Chelsea and her Stanford education because they are thinking about how they can finance graduate school for a shot at getting out of their dead-end jobs.

We're not worried about what goes on or doesn't in the president's bedroom, because we're too busy trying to explain to our own partners why we're too tired for sex (read: "Are you planning on getting a job soon?").

It's not the American public who have grown apathetic; it's the politicians. They have ceased to care about us. They have ceased to care about what the majority of us struggle with daily, and have chosen instead to fill the privileged days of their lives with more drama and absurdity than a South American soap opera.

This week I have to baby-sit my nieces and nephews, host a consciousness-raising group at my apartment and figure out how to replace my sister's car, which I totaled driving home for Christmas. So how does any of this have to do with my insomnia and late-night TV? Absolutely nothing--get it?


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