On PBS, Bill Moyers Connects Greek Hero Myths...to Bill Clinton and Impeachment

July 12th, 2006 11:15 AM

On Friday's edition of "Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason," the PBS omnipresence hosted a discussion more on Greek mythology than religion. The guest in his first half-hour was lesbian novelist Jeanette Winterson, who bitterly mocked her fundamentalist parents and suggested the Christian Bible showed a God and scriptures full of contradictions. Yawn. Standard "transgressive" PBS.

But it took a political turn about 20 minutes in, when Winterson elaborated on how Prometheus stealing fire from the gods for mankind led to suffering and punishment, his liver being ripped out daily by an eagle. To which Moyers responded: "Why do you think we're so fascinated with the stories of heroes and gods brought down by sex? I mean, do you think Bill Clinton wished he had known his mythology when he got into the White House?" It continued:

Winterson: "I wish somebody had told him. I wish somebody had told Kenneth Starr. It's exactly this -- it was a Greek myth being played out in front of our eyes. You know, that was a modern Greek drama."

Moyers: "In what sense?"

Winterson: "In the sense that, here was this guy -- you know, Clinton, I think, was, is a great politician, somebody who's capable of really achieving things in the world, who wanted to transform things, who wanted to make a difference. And so, you know, he fancies a pretty girl. That should not be the thing that brings him down, but, you know, when you read the hero myths, the things that bring them down are always very trivial. It's always the thing in themselves that they can't control. And there is also a truth about the hero, that they can never be killed or destroyed by anything simply from the outside. They have, somewhere, to collude in their own death or destruction."

Moyers: "So many of them experience death by female."

How deep. Or at least how deeply liberal.