the crucifixion of my generation

[from "The Clinton Conversation," Rolling Stone, November 12, 1998]

Patti Smith's thoughts on the Clinton fiasco were tapped for a Rolling Stone feature called "The Clinton Conversation": "The most credible minds in the culture step up to the podium." Her comments in full:

This is more depressing than Watergate. I was really anti-Nixon, but it broke my heart to see all of that happen. Because it wasn't happening to Nixon, it was happening to the entire country. But at least he did things that were definitely criminal behavior. The Clinton thing is so insidious; what they're unraveling--you could take any human being, start probing and find their little private can of worms. We are becoming our own Big Brother by allowing all this to happen. If we are going to say it's all right to take away the privacy of the person who has the highest seat in the land, how can the rest of us possibly be protected?

When Clinton apologized, people were like, "He didn't do a good enough apology." We have forced President Clinton to publicly and privately strip himself totally naked before his wife, his child and their whole world, made him go into himself as a human being, examine his heart, examine his behavior and examine his whole self. We asked him to do that--without asking anything of ourselves. I have not seen any contrition from us as a people, a willingness to say, "We are guilty of being voyeuristic, enjoying it, watching it. Now let's all put it aside and come out clean and move on."

When I look at the crucifixion of Clinton, I look at the crucifixion of my generation. They are finally nailing us for introducing new ideas about sexual mores, sexual freedom, personal freedom: "OK, you wanted sexual freedom, we're gonna give it to you--to the point where it is going to saturate and sicken the whole planet."

Copyright © Rolling Stone 1998

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