The Virginian

Willie Was His Waterloo

After Clinton, are there second acts in America -- or just second rounds? Paula Jones wants to wear gloves. But what about the man who made her famous?

By 3.7.02

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News that Paula Jones will do a little pro boxing has raised plenty of hoots from the peanut gallery, but some of us are pleased to see her step into the ring. Among other things, Paula reminds us that there are indeed second acts in America, no matter how humble the first act may have been.

It seems like only yesterday when Paula burst upon the scene, thanks to the journalistic efforts of David Brock, who is himself attempting a second act. He mentioned her in a story, and the rest is history. What a sensation, especially when she related a conversation with a former president who will go unnamed, at least until the time of his demise, and only then if the demise is something dramatic, such as being shot at a bordello by an attending hermaphrodite.

Checking the transcript, the famous conversation went something like this:

Him: Kiss dis.
Her: Great galloping trouser snakes! Holster that thing, if you please!

Paula, of course, got beat up pretty good after she was dragged into the spotlight. James Carville famously tagged her as trailer trash. This was fiercely denied by her supporters, who may be forced to rethink their position as they watch Paula climb into the ring to try to beat up another woman. There were also nose jokes and big hair jokes. She reportedly got the nose sanded down a bit, though it still looks fairly sharp and dangerous. Her sparring partners would do well to exercise caution: Whack that thing the wrong way and you could lose your hand.

Yet for all the jokes we can make about Paula, she is conducting herself with much more honor than the man who brought her into the spotlight. Brock is currently trying to sell a book in which he turns on former friends, including Matt Drudge, who is reportedly accused of bringing Brock a handful of flowers and squiring him around Los Angeles sex clubs. It is fair to say that Brock hopes to defame Drudge by utilizing a prejudice Brock would otherwise denounce. As has been pointed out, he is one complex fellow.

But we are here to offer sympathy, and Brock could surely use some. He may be completely unhinged.

And who wouldn't be? Let us recall the grim tasks he has undertaken in the public interest. His first major investigation focused on the person of Anita Hill, who will also be remembered for a very short conversation, this one having to do with pubic hairs on a Coke can. That is fairly grimy stuff, and she apparently was a bit of a flake. Any reporter who delves into such material is bound to suffer some degree of negative psychological impact.

Yet he could probably have survived Anita. The fatal damage no doubt resulted from the arduous task of chronicling, in stupendous detail, the vast and enormous exertions of what would become known to historians and medical personnel as Slick's Willie. It is quite clear that Willie was his Waterloo.

This was an assignment that Brock clearly wrapped his mind around, and he did one hell of a job. Yet at some point, and we don't know exactly when that point was reached, the tables turned. The reporter's mind was captured by the subject of its inquiries. He clearly could think of nothing else. He was its captive.

The horror! Week in, week out -- month in, month out - fixated on the snake, that restless beast that pursued secretaries, pastry cooks, hairdressers, political appointees, clerks of the court, cabaret singers, tanning salon hostesses, pedicurists, depilatory technicians and other female prey through valley, vale, meadow, swamp, alleyway, tenement, drain pipe, and up the sheer sides of remote cliffs. No doubt, there were times when Brock awoke screaming:

Great galloping trouser snake! Please leave me be!

Now, he wishes to put that all behind him, and who can blame him? Sadly and perhaps tragically, this story is his legacy. He'll be remembered for nothing else. He is not alone, of course. Many others have been felled by this beast, which is still at large in the world. There is no telling who the next victim will be, only that there will be many more of them.

Meantime, poor Brock hopes to make a clean break with his past. That's unlikely, but then again this is America and all things are possible. He might consider taking up another line of work, however. Perhaps he should climb into the ring with Paula. A hundred bucks says she'll whip his ass.

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About the Author

Dave Shiflett is a writer in Midlothian, Virginia. His real CD "Time Goes Rushing By" -- as immortalized on Instapundit.com -- is now available.