The Pornography Of Self-Revelation

Biography in the service of politics is not new to America. It goes all the way back to Abe Lincoln and the log cabin and beyond. But as the Democratic Convention demonstrated, American politics is now seized -- obsessed -- with the politics of autobiography. The acceptance speeches of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, orgies of self-revelation, mark the full Oprahtization of American politics.

U.S. politicians routinely vie with each other for the Li'l Abner prize for most humble, most miserable upbringing. The Democrats in Madison Square Garden were no exception. After four days of speeches a foreign visitor could be...

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