Alternative Programming

What if the notoriously restive grand jury begins channel surfing during one of the inevitable legal wrangles that will punctuate the president’s testimony? Determined to leave no news angle uncovered, Chatterbox checked the TV listings and uncovered hints that Hollywood has turned against Bill Clinton. Is there a coded message in HBO’s Monday afternoon movie lineup? It features The Trojan War, The First Wives Club and, nudge, nudge, Fools Rush In. Adding to rumors of a vast Time-Warner conspiracy, Turner Classic Movies will be showing The Gorgeous Hussy about the time the president finishes wracking his brain under oath for memories of “that woman.” And tonight’s flicks on AMC are also oddly apt: Come Blow Your Horn followed by Crash Dive.

The Poll Perplex Revisited Sad to report, the Chatterbox Irregulars failed to penetrate enemy lines. No one came up with any evidence that presidential pollster Mark Penn was conducting focus groups over the weekend to test out the phrasing of possible Bill Clinton apologies. Chatterbox assumes that the White House spinmeisters decided, without a shred of scientific research, that euphemistically acknowledging an “inappropriate relationship” with Monica was better than confessing to “criminally stupid sexual antics with a White House intern.” Assuming the president makes a TV statement after his testimony, Chatterbox will be counting how many times Clinton uses the hedge word “inappropriate” (Prediction: three); how many times the president apologizes for “causing pain to his family” (probably twice) and whether the Philanderer in Chief will quote the Bible (yes, the Old Testament, but definitely not the Song of Solomon).

Walter Shapiro

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