The Truth, Mainly - 02/09/1998

Telling the kids about Naughtygate
by Leon Satterfield

OK, so how do we tell the children about the President's latest scandal—the one a British tabloid calls "Naughtygate"? I say let's have Mr. Rogers do it. I can hear him now.


Our President may be playing Hanky Panky again, boys and girls. Do you know what Hanky Panky is? Mr. Rogers knows. But Mr. Rogers isn't going to tell you about because Mr. Rogers doesn't like to get excited. Mr. Rogers likes to stay very calm. That's why Mr. Rogers talks this way.

Yes it is.

Besides, it's more fun to imagine the President's Hanky Panky than to know about it. That's why so many people have been spending so much time reading their newspapers and watching their televisions.

Many of those people say the President's Hanky Panky isn't any of their business. Then they read their newspapers and watch their televisions so they can find out more about why it's not any of their business.

But the people who are most interested are the people who believe everybody's Hanky Panky is their business. They believe that Hanky Panky players are going to Burn in Hell, so they have great fun watching.

They believe Hanky Panky is a spectator sport. They watch so much that their faces are about to break out.

Can you say "Vicarious Pleasure," girls and boys? Can you say "Prurient Interest"?

Because Vicarious Pleasure is so pleasurable and Prurient Interest is so interesting, we have Over-Zealous Special Counsels. The President has his very own Over-Zealous Special Counsel who has nothing to do except follow the President around taking Hanky Panky pictures and recording Hanky Panky noises.

Would you like to be an Over-Zealous Special Counsel, boys and girls? Neither would Mr. Rogers.

No he wouldn't.

Because Mr. Rogers wouldn't want to be blamed for faces breaking out. And you wouldn't either, would you, girls and boys?

And some people think paying someone to do nothing but follow the President around taking Hanky Panky pictures and recording Hanky Panky noises is a Big Fat Waste of Taxpayers' Money. And that might make the Over-Zealous Special Counsel all cranky. And his fellow citizens might start making as much fun of the Over-Zealous Special Counsel as they make of the President's Hanky Panky.

Most people also think that the Over-Zealous Special Counsel is Getting Under the President's Skin. They think the President doesn't feel the Over-Zealous Special Counsel is a Nice Man.

But Mr. Rogers is going to tell you a little secret. Yes he is.

Mr. Rogers' little secret is that the President likes his very own Over-Zealous Special Counsel very much. A whole lot. Yes he does.

You want to know why, boys and girls? Mr. Rogers will tell you.

The Over-Zealous Special Counsel makes the President's approval ratings go way up. Does that surprise you, girls and boys? Listen to this.

When the Over-Zealous Special Counsel's staff leaked the news that the President's Hanky Panky had him in Deep Doo Doo, it made more people approve of the President's job performance than had ever approved of it before: 67% in the Wasington Post, 68% in the TIME/CNN poll, 70% in Newsweek, and 72% in the Chicago Tribune.

Do you suppose, boys and girls, that the President's fellow citizens were grateful that their leader had added some excitement to their lives? Do you suppose his fellow citizen had a funny idea of what "job performance" means?

Those numbers make a lot of other Politicians of Both Parties jealous. Those numbers make them wish they had their very own Over-Zealous Special Counsel to investigate their Hanky Panky.

I know none of you girls and boys want to grow up to be an Over-Zealous Special Counsel, but you might consider growing up to own a stable of Over-Zealous Special Counsels to rent out to Politicians in Deep Doo Doo whose approval ratings maybe aren't as high as they might be.

Maybe Mr. Rogers will go into the business himself.

Then Mr. Rogers won't have to talk this way any more. No he won't.


If he keeps at it long enough, he'll be able to explain Naughtygate to the kiddies without corrupting their innocence. Not that there's much of a market for uncorrupted innocence these days.


Lincoln English Professor Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays.

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