Dear Editor,

Anita Hill’s Commencement Address was well received…

“At best, politely received, you mealy-mouthed suck-up; it was the usual mess of progressive potash.”

One muse’s opinion.

“Excuse me?”

The only one that counts. And I was about to say that under the aegis of Michael Roth, that celebrated student of the stance (his point is too-too), Wesleyan (“We don’t care what you say about us as long as you spell our name correchtkly”) conferred high honors upon jocosely deserving, “J’accuse!”-immersed Anita Hill.

NPR’s Nina Totenberg, in an April 14, 2016 interview, reprised her pivotal role in ‘arranging’ Anita Hill’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee assessing the High Court nomination of her former EEOC employer, Clarence Thomas: “Well, she didn’t want to disclose what allegedly had happened to her, but she was contacted by Democratic staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee. And then the committee really didn’t want to know, and so there it lay until a bunch of things occurred. And I found out about it and went with the story.”

Coy little Nina – ya gotta love her penumbras. Fleshing them out, an educated guesser might venture a guess that social justice warrior Totenberg (exchanging fire with Senator Alan Simpson, “I think I told him to shut the f!!! up” – an odd command, that, coming from the lips of a crack investigative journalista) had promised not to disclose Anita Hill’s name if she would accuse her former employer of something unheard-of (it was), then broke her promise to the accuser and disclosed it. A double feature: THE SETUP (a film noir) and then (don’t leave your seat) a coloratura media picnic: THE OUTING.

And so the stage was set for Anita’s command performance. Verbally speaking, the “something unheard of” would have made a palsied sailor blush. My muse, who covers the waterfront…

“Not lately, matey. Every dive I tacked into gave me the same old jive. Berthing my fantail on a barstool, the soul of politesse, I’d order: ‘Hey, you behind the stick, get offa your barnacled keel and bring me a wineskin of nectar.’ Off his keel, ‘You heavy cruiser…’ ‘A hundred-and-eight pounds, soaking wet. I don’t suppose you have an honest pair of scales in this pirates’ coven…’ ‘How old are you?’ ‘You won’t believe this…’ ‘Probably not, but try me.’ ‘I just turned 3521.’ ‘Days, or weeks?’ ‘Years, you wry whiskery sour.’ ‘Show me your driver’s license; you barge in….’ ‘You flat-bottomed scowl, are you for real?’ My protégé…”


Dear editor, needless to say, my muse is no shrinking violet, no belle of the wallflowers’ ball, and SHE would have been appalled by racy Saint Anita’s choice of words…pardon: her verbal harasser’s.

“A case of he said/she said.”

“My muse, if memory serves me, no one who knew both Hill and Thomas would take her word over his, and not one of her female EEOC colleagues would vouch for her character, much less her bonhomie: one quick-on-the-trigger Oklahoma kid was she. And this: Clarence Thomas has been in the public eye for nearly forty years. Where is his pattern of ‘insensitive remarks’? If there was a potty-mouth in the mix, it wasn’t the accused. Dan Handler ’92 was compelled to withdraw from speaking at Commencement for having committed ‘insensitive remarks.’ Bill Clinton should have been invited, don’t you agree? His rap sheet has always been refreshingly free of them.”

“And refreshingly free of insensitive behavior as well. Wasn’t it during his second term, that hours after her husband was laid to rest, his widow, Kathleen Willey, desperate for employment, was physically ‘imposed upon’ by prospective employer billy-goat Willy? Tell me: was he caddified?”

“Not by the Hill who’d raised the roof over verbal harassment. On a higher plane she walked us bumpkins through the context: ‘I think we have to evaluate (his behavior) not on the basis of whether it’s sexual harassment, but…on the basis of what we would like to see in terms of the behavior and the moral decisions and judgments of the president.’ Saint Anita appears to be preaching to the choir. This backbencher’s dreadful translation: ‘To qualify for a platinum-plated get-out-of-jail-free card, you must row and wade through the smelly, dank, and croc-infested so-called traditions that made America great. That said, Judge Cave-in-awe, you’re eminently unqualified.’ ‘But, Madam Grand Inquisitor, I’ve been charged with having been there.’ ‘Guilty as charged.’ ‘But there’s no there there.’ ‘Oh.’ (Resounding bang of her gavel.) ‘Off with his head, away with him.’”

“My protégé, your reading was dreadful, you get the part. And I must declare: when lawyers dismiss the misdeeds of the lawless, all things are possible. Is that where we are?”

“Stay tuned. But I think I know where Brandeis Law Professor Hill is: re-assessing her career choice; she’d be out of a job. But no great loss to the legal profession, a tourney whose one-trick pony couldn’t unloose the latchet of Justice Thomas’ briefcase.”

“Justice Brandeis must be spinning in his grave.”

“You knew Louie Brandeis? You get around.”

“It hurts me, hurts me deeply, to say this: the law is my hottie’s true love. I, excuse me…”

“My shoulder….”

“I’ll drench it! Oh, alright. You’re awfully kind.”

“Granted, your hottie Shakespeare’s plays are well-versed in the law, but how could Brandeis’ opinions have landed on his desk? You’re in denial, my love; your dude’s been dead 400 years.”

“Who told you that? My dude, for your information, is living quite comfortably in Elysium.”

“Really! You think maybe I…”

“I don’t see how. Your one god is unequivocal: ‘My Chosen People, those ingrates, can all go to Sheol.’ So Clinton’s behavior was given a pass.”

“Given a pass by his pledge of allegiance to “fairness.”

“A Protean term; try pinning it down.”

“What about social justice?”

“A euphemism for faminism.”

“The students in their letters addressed to Admissions, in one or another form, all take the pledge of allegiance to social justice; AND they’re held to their pledge by the floor consiglieri, contractually obligated to report all ‘deviations’ – defined as catchall “hate speech.”

“In my letter to Admissions I paraphrased Jacquerie Cade: ‘We kill all the NRAers.’”

“You’re kidding.”

“I’ll show you my letter of acceptance, along with an application form for ‘your comrade in arms’ – alluding to Jack. A personal touch: across the top of the application form is scrawled: ‘A mere formality.’ We left Ms. Hill with Kathleen Willey.”

“A few months later, on Feb. 24, 1999, Dateline NBC, Juanita Broaddrick broadcast a tale of a cagey predator, Arkansas AG Clinton, making mincemeat of her lip to keep her from screaming, then leaving her with a tender forget-me-not, ‘You’d better put some ice on that’ – the title of the survivor’s bold-colored memoir.”

“Why isn’t the predator in a cage?”

“Don’t ask Anita Hill.”

“Why not? Where is she?”

“Grab your hook, you still can make the morning shape-up. Then look for our elusive quarry perusing a picture book down in the hold. Do not disturb, though: as regards one Billy Friendly she is D and D. And as regards Ms. Hill herself, don’t be surprised if, going forward, Michael Roth, the man who set up the plaster saint, most wisely will be D and D as well.”

— Martin Benjamin ’57

  • The Doge

    This reads like an acid flashback. I started and by the fifth sentence I was concerned that I was having a stroke.

    Totally bonkers. Much insanity. Wow

  • Neil Tagliamonte

    One tradition that makes the Argus great? The unintelligible opinion writing of Mr. Benjamin; Post-Modern New Journalism gone haywire, refusing to suffer the grind of making any sense at all.