Starr, the sex-symbol

Monday, 14 September 1998

The finest cigars used to be hand rolled on the inner thighs of young virgins.

The story of Bill, Monica, and the cigar greeted me on the front page on Saturday morning. By the evening, I had received six cigars as gifts from friends in anticipation of my birthday tomorrow.

Coincidence? Was there a message in there for me? Has Bill Clinton sparked a new fashion? Or was it because of my spirited defence of Fidel Castro last week?

And then I figured out Clinton's problem. Trying to free himself from his reckless libido, he came across the words of Rudyard Kipling who reminded him that a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.

You must choose between me and your cigar.
Open the old cigar box, get me a Cuba stout.
For things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out.
We quarrelled about Havanas we fought o'er a good cheroot,
And I know she is exacting, and says I am a brute ...

Americans have not been able to legally enjoy a Cuban cigar since before I was born. They are not allowed to buy them outside the US, and they are certainly not allowed to take them back home.

So when upstart third-worlders developed the habit of breezing into New York blowing clouds of fragrant Havana smoke, they threw their collective toys out of the pram.

They wrapped their country in no-smoking signs to let it be known that this would not be tolerated, and have been sulking ever since.

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"Are you sure about the cigars?" I asked my American friend who was patiently trying to explain all this to me many years ago. "I thought the reason you guys hated the Cubans was because they whipped your butts in the Bay of Pigs?"

"What are you talking about?" he responded. "America has never lost a war. Ever."

"Never lost a war? What about Korea? Vietnam?" I asked.

He shook his head furiously. "No, no, no. We never lost. You see, we never declared war in any of those cases. So we couldn't have lost."

Of course not. How silly of me.

But back to Bill "It tastes good. I didn't inhale" Clinton. The guy probably should be impeached for gross human rights violations in bombing the Sudan and Afghanistan.

So what happens? Special prosecutor Kenneth Starr was originally empowered to investigate claims of real estate fraud on the part of the president in his home state of Arkansas. This resulted in Clinton being hauled before a grand jury to answer questions about a somewhat shortsighted - but in any case, legal - sexual dalliance with a woman young enough to be his daughter. This in connection with a matter that only came about because the litigant in a now closed civil case subpoenaed other women in a bid to smear his character.

Confused? Think about this too. Starr's evidence found its roots in illegally recorded conversations between said young woman and a person she considered to be a friend. Now, Starr wants to make out a case for the president's impeachment because he supposedly lied about an affair that was no one's business anyway.

Research has shown time and again that most Americans have extra-marital affairs. Research has also shown that such affairs normally take place with the knowledge of the cuckolded partner.

But Americans are also taught to believe in the American dream. And the American dream normally involves a nuclear family (no pun intended) made up of a husband, a wife, 2,3 kids, a dog, two cats, and a close-cropped lawn behind a white picket fence. There is no room for niggers, spics, wops, kikes, faggots ... or philanderers.

When something comes along that disturbs the dream, cognitive dissonance sets in. So most Americans ignore their partners' extramarital sojourns and get on with their lives, holding hands in church on Sunday morning. They did not lose a war in Vietnam because they never fought a war in Vietnam. Americans do not lose wars.

Now take a close look at Starr's face. Does he not look the picture of a man who has a happy and vibrant sex life even within the confines of monogamy? Aren't you envious?

The moral majority is neither.