essays and articles by david g allen

Hillary Actually Meant To Say, “… THE Village”


Can we even imagine the excitement that Hillary Rodham felt when she made her first contact with Eleanor Roosevelt?  Our cute little First-Lady-To-Be, that darling blonde wonder from the Chicago suburbs, that dreamer of building villages must have shivered with joy when the Grande Dame of Hyde Park appeared in her bedroom on that dark and stormy night!

This was Hillary’s chance to learn of such phenomena as immortality and the magic of transforming a doll house into a living, breathing community.  Little Hillary was raised in a Republican household and she had tired of lifeless, conservative-minded, rag dolls.  If only she could learn how to cast Eleanor’s magic spell, then Hillary knew she could make her dollhouse come to life.

So fanciful was she of her hoped-for séance with Eleanor that little Hillary wrote in her diary of her belief in immortality (although one transcription service derived the word as “immorality.”)  Though raised in a conservative household that disdained communicating with dead liberals, Hillary’s parents nonetheless allowed her flights of fancy.  Hillary recalled how her mother had told her, “You were named after Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Mt. Everest!”  That Tenzing Norgay dragged Edmund Hillary uphill for six miles in 1953 made no difference to the blonde child born in 1947.  She took her given name, and her given immor[t]ality, to heart.

Eleanor had transformed her dollhouse into many villages during her physical life.  But Arthurdale, the West Virginia commune, was the Grand Dame’s most magical village of all.  And that night in Hillary’s bedroom, Eleanor revealed the secret that made it so.

“You have to find a way to be the First Lady; even if that means marrying your cousin!” Eleanor beamed.  “With that position, you wield the power of the federal purse—a power so great that the down-and-out’s will move into your village.”

But Hillary yearned for more than mere fealty from her subjects.  She had read enough fairy tales by then to know that the peasants obeyed the king but always loved their princess.  So she inquired of the matronly spirit, “How would I make the villagers love me?” 

“That’s the least of your worries, child.” Eleanor bespoke.  “Give them government checks, and they’ll do the rest.”

As you know, Hillary (Norgay, in Nepalese) Rodham grew up to be a First Lady.  But in a subsequent séance in 1993, Eleanor Roosevelt advised her thusly: “Why don’t you just write up your village plan for now.  Then you can get yourself elected president and turn the whole continent into a village!” 

It was a no-brainer and Hillary soon after hired a ghostwriter.

Well, she should have waited a few years in my opinion.  She should have hired M. Night Shyamalan, the writer/director of “The Village.”  If you have seen the movie, then you’d know that Hillary would never have mentioned the “vast, right-wing conspiracy.”  No, she would have referred to the vast, right-wing conspiracy as “Those we do not speak of.”

At the outset, The Village appears to be a nineteenth century haven in rural Pennsylvania.  There are no telephones, no electric poles, and no running water.  In short, it’s the perfect village plan for the blonde executive who doesn’t want to be bothered with trifling complications like infrastructure.  The denizens of The Village are not consumed by questions like: “Does water run uphill or downhill?”

As perfect as it is, The Village does have a one ghastly drawback—the neighbors.  Ogres live in the woods surrounding the enclave and venturing into the woods means certain death.  As evil and ugly as the ogres are, they still serve the idyllic hamlet with a needed purpose.  True evil lives in “the towns” that lie beyond the forest and the ogre-patrolled forest keeps the evil of the towns at bay.  Utopia, we learn, does come with a price—learnéd ignorance.

The Villagers are not living in the nineteenth century as we initially believe.  They are modern-day denizens who have sought to escape the forces of Darwin that wreak havoc on Philadelphia.  Each villager has a tale of horror and their elder, played convincingly by William Hurt, has engineered their retreat from society.  His village is not financed by Uncle Sam but by the next best thing—inheritance of his father’s billions. 

The movie’s ending is intriguing.  “The Village” does indeed have a village idiot, Noah, who stabs his friend, Lucius, in a jealous rage.  To save Lucius’ life, his blind fiancé volunteers to enter the woods and travel to the towns to procure medicine.  As she stumbles through the forest, Noah attacks her but he is killed in a fall.

William Hurt then immortalizes Noah.  He forgives Noah of his murderous attempts and declares that Noah’s masquerade as an ogre has given realism to “Those we do not speak of.”  He tells the other elders that Noah’s acts will allow The Villagers to continue on with their isolation and beliefs.

Imagine that—giving a full pardon to the evildoer in the closing moments of the drama.  I wonder where M. Night Shyamalan got that idea?

David G. Allen, Clarksburg, WV

Hillary Actually Meant To Say, "... THE Village" appeared in the April 29, 2005 edition of the West Virginia State Journal.




Copyright 1990-2005  David G. Allen