Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Touching Behavior 


Primary Colors - a movie with an uncomfortably honest yet favorable depiction of the Clintons during Bill's presidential campaign - has a segment in which one of the aides talks about the man’s use of touch, touting it as the basis of his ability to make meaningful human contact with people in limited situations. This aide explains how each variant - the hand on the shoulder, the grasping of an elbow, the pressure on a forearm - conveys a different level of instant intimacy. Clinton's behavior is described as though his manipulation of other people's bodies is what convinces them that the man is concerned about their issues.

Could it be possible that Clinton might really be concerned about people - that they could be capable of reading that in him, could have read it in him even if his hands had been securely tucked into his pockets? They weren't puppets, were they?

This reminds me of that story about an eastern religious guru who decided to take a walk on the beach. He buried his only possession, a bowl, in the sand, making a mound above it so he could find it when he came back.

His followers, wanting to be just like him, made mounds in the sand, too, then set off after him along the beach.

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