Part 3—Feminist hero at home: Is Stephanie Clifford a feminist hero?
Is she a hero or a feminist at all? Does she have to be?
Staing the obvious, everything is possible! That said, we wouldn't be inclined to see Clifford in such ways, at least not in the context which is currently devouring our failing nation's appalling and broken-souled corporate cable news monster.
Within that context, we'd say that Clifford is a person who had a seamy sexual relationship in 2006, then tried to make some money from it. We don't know if she was being paid in real time, though that's certainly possible, given the fact that her paramour was the highly disordered man known as Donald J. Trump.
Perhaps it was love at first sight! But in 2011, Clifford reportedly tried to sell her story about her affair to a tabloid entity for $15,000. And uh-oh!
By the summer and fall of 2016, Trump had become a much more significant figure.
Sure enough! According to Slate's Jacob Weisberg, Clifford was trying to sell her story again during that glorious time. Wisely, she wasn't willing to reveal "the juiciest details" until she could finger Slate cash:
WEISBERG (1/16/18): In our conversations, Daniels said she was holding back on the juiciest details, such as her ability to describe things about Trump that only someone who had seen him naked would know. She intimated that her view of his sexual skill was at odds with the remark attributed to Marla Maples.She'd been offered a six-figure deal, but the money was slow in coming.
She didn’t allege any kind of abuse, insisting she was not a victim. The worst Trump had done, she said, was break promises she’d never believed he would fulfill. She claimed he’d offered to buy her a condo in Tampa, Florida, and that he’d said he wanted to feature her as a contestant in an upcoming season of Celebrity Apprentice. Daniels, who is far from naïve, says she did not take him seriously, but Trump had insisted his NBC contract let him do whatever he wanted on the show. Eventually, she said, he’d told her the network wouldn’t allow her on the air because of the objections of an executive’s wife.
Given what was going on in the final weeks of the campaign, during which Trump was facing a torrent of accusations of sexual abuse, I didn’t think an extramarital affair would be a highly significant story. What interested me more was Daniels’ allegation that Trump had negotiated to buy her silence. Daniels said that, through intermediaries, she and Trump had worked out an agreement for the presidential candidate to pay her a six-figure sum to keep quiet.
"Given her experience with Trump, she suspected he would stall her until after the election, and then refuse to sign or pay up," Weisberg wrote. "As an alternative to being paid for her silence, Daniels wanted to be paid for her story."
Slate doesn't provide sacks of cash in exchange for news, so the deal couldn't be consummated. Clifford ended up taking the cash from Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's guardian devil or angel.
To our eyes and ears, none of this looks or feels especially heroic. None of it looks or feels very "feminist."
Still, it's a marker of our modern world that our many tribal groups are willing to assert and believe almost any proposition which furthers some tribal narrative. On this basis, Salon's Nicole Karlis has now declared that Clifford is a "feminist hero" who is fighting for the right to share a "#MeToo story."
Claims like these tend to convince the wider world that we liberals are crazy, possibly even nuts. Part of Karlis' detailed reasoning appears in this part of her essay:
KARLIS (3/18/19): Why has the feminist left been slow to embrace her? Why is there still a mocking undertone when we talk about her? Is it because she’s a Republican? A stripper and adult film star? Is it because of her campy Make America Horny Again tour? Maybe it’s because she allegedly had consensual sex with Trump, an act that’s unthinkable to so many of us? But she was 27, and it was 2006 when the alleged tryst happened. As Clifford’s friend/assistant Kayla Paige said to Rolling Stone, "Who hasn't gone and f**ked someone we regret?”As a thought experiment, we're prepared to revise and extend that thoughtful question from Clifford's friend, Kayla Paige. Here's how we'll rewrite it:
Who hasn't gone and f**ked someone we regret, then tried to sell the thrilling story, humiliating his wife and his 5- to 12-year-old child?When we restate the question that way, we suspect that almost no one "has gone and done that!" But just to double-check, we reviewed the Rolling Stone piece from which Paige's question emerged.
Rolling Stone is the well-known liberal publication which recently convinced the world that we liberals are crazy and very possibly nuts. The magazine accomplished this task through its appalling treatment of a (false) claim about gang rape at the University of Virginia.
The gong show-flavored publication engaged in this clownish behavior a few years after a range of liberal thought leaders, including half the faculty at Duke, stampeded off to believe a (false) claim about a gang rape there.
In these ways, our liberal tribe persuades the world to despise us. Dumb and tribal as we are, we never seem able to grasp the fact that this loathing could be based on anything but the demonistic mental states Hillary Clinton keeps attributing to The Others on her endless world tour.
(Most recent stop, Mumbai.)
We liberals are quite a bunch! At any rate, Rolling Stone told Denver Nicks to pay a home visit to Clifford. He too decided that Clifford's a hero, or at least his editors were willing to say that he did.
His profile of our feminist hero appeared under the headlines shown below. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh! Wink wink wink wink wink:
One Night with Stormy Daniels, the Hero America NeedsHeh heh heh heh heh heh heh! It sounded just amazingly hot, thought perhaps not totally feminist.
Frozen g-strings, squirt guns and hot wax—how Trump's alleged porn-star fling is unapologetically cashing in on a presidential scandal
For the record, Nicks is the author of Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History—but also of Hot Sauce Nation: America's Burning Obsession, which appeared in 2016.
Amazon describes the latter book as "a journey of discovery...[which] explores the unique hold the dark prince of condiments has over the American heart." And how apt! In service to this terminally stoned, braindead magazine, Nicks stumbled upon some very hot sauce when he dropped in at the home of on our feminist hero.
Here's how his profile began:
NICKS (3/9/18): Stormy Daniels answers the door of her Houston hotel room wearing little athletic shorts and a green Pantera tank top over a sports bra, her long blond hair in a loose ponytail. We shake hands and she jumps back onto her bed, sitting up with her legs tucked under her in half lotus. Her assistant and longtime friend Kayla Paige, a retired adult-film actress and wife of Limp Bizkit founding member Sam Rivers, buzzes with aimless energy around the room they're sharing. They'd only just woken up and are in the middle of a discussion about penile implants, which I confess I didn't know is a thing. Then Paige half-jokingly wonders if she needs vaginal lip reduction surgery and drops her pants for reference. She isn't wearing panties.Just so incredibly cool! Especially for feminist men and boys of all ages!
Daniels rolls her eyes and laughs. I stand for a moment unsure where to sit, then motion to the other bed, which Paige says I can sit on. "I don't have anything," she assures me with a chuckle.
We've always wondered what heroes are like if you catch them at home! Nicks was getting a chance to find out. The start of his profile continued:
NICKS (continuing dorectly): I sit on the edge of the bed and Daniels and I make small talk. Her safe word, I learn, is “penguin.”What a super-cool, foxy lady! This is the kind of feminist hero we'd like to take home to the voters!
"Penguins have terrible breath," she says.
"How do you know penguins have terrible breath?" I ask.
"They smell like they've been eating bad vagina. I got to pet one at a zoo–if you ever go to the zoo, the penguin habitat is the stinkiest one. It smells like a really bad porn set."
She goes on like this for half an hour, bouncing from topic to topic.
Should progressives hope that Stephanie Clifford gets to tell her #MeToo story, helping ten of millions of deplorables develop strong feminist values? For better or worse, does Clifford actually have any such story to tell?
We'll admit that we aren't seeing a whole lot here that smacks of "feminist" values. Being human ourselves and opposed to hate, we do wonder about something else.
Tomorrow: "Penguin" but also "Rosebud," plus disfigured hearts and heads