The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I did not have sexual relations with that woman...

In researching the recent "Downing Street Memo" flap I came across another reason why I felt compelled to give the benifit of the doubt to the word "Fix."  The reason is that language is so damned fluid and subjective.  During the Clinton impeachment hearings, much has been made of the fact that he lied about having sex with Monica.  I'm not so sure he did.  For all my life, I'd heard that in much of Southern society, oral sex was not considered "sexual relations", a term which was applied exclusively to penetrative, vaginal intercourse.  That being a widely-held opinion, it is entirely plausible that, if someone had had the clarity to ask Bill: "was your penis ever in Monica's mouth?" he would have answered "yes."  Now, this clearly implies that he wasn't trying to cooperate, but neither was he exactly lying.  I'm afraid that I have to give the same flexibility of language to both sides, guys.

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