The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, February 21, 2004
 

Kerry/Polier: the 1998 Harvard student story


Just heard the news about Queen Victoria dying - bummer...

A piece in Kaus from February 12 at 11.23 am - and Mafeking relieved, too? - has a report from the Boston Herald dated September 12 1998 (from Nexis, he tells us).
Question of the day: Who was the statuesque blonde strutting out of Sen. John Kerry's palatial Louisburg Square manse late Monday night when Kerry's wife, heiress Teresa Heinz, was on Nantucket?

We are told she is [name omitted] a 22-year-old Harvard student and former model who, Kerry's people claim, was dropping off a resume.

Our spies on the Square say the stunning Southern gal, dressed in oh-so-chic black, arrived at Kerry’s townhouse around 11:15 p.m. and left just before the clock struck 12.

[snip]...


Whether we are being led to consider the possibility that the girl is Polier; or that Kerry had a conveyor-belt of girls he was boffing at time, I know not.

Nor whether anything came of the piece in 1998; or following Kaus' resurrection of it.

Kaus' piece did figure in the Daily Howler of February 13 - to no great acclaim [1] (a follow-up, featuring Susan Estrich, in the Howler of February 19). But, from a cursory glance, most of the stuff pulled up from Mr Google looks like dupes, more or less, of the original story.

The facts don't fit Polier - for a start, she never went to Harvard, that I'm aware of. She's not Southern. And was she ever a model? - that pic that was published in the Telegraph did not exactly scream model... (But then it was just a gossip piece.)

Is the name in square brackets Polier's? (At the time, I suspect that Polier's name was not widely diffused online.) If not, why not say not?

I don't get it.

  1. It points out words at [snip] edited by Kaus were Not unlike Cinderella.

MORE

It seems that the Kaus rendering of the 1998 Herald piece may be just a tad misleading.

Mooching around some more brings me to a Free Republic forum and a piece posted on January 20 - being, to all appearances, the self-same Herald piece. (Ctrl + F on student.)

In this version, the first two grafs are these:
Question of the day: Who was the statuesque blonde strutting out of Sen. John Kerry's palatial Louisburg Square manse late Monday night when Kerry's wife, heiress Teresa Heinz, was on Nantucket?

We are told she is a 22-year-old Harvard student and former model who, Kerry's people claim, was dropping off a resume.


Compared with Kaus' version, one thing is striking: in this version, there is no name to omit!

Now, the Free Republic forums are not exactly an intermediary source liable to inspire confidence in most folks. (Not in me, at any rate.)

But, by the same token, it's scarcely the Marquess of Queensbury kind of place that would want to spare the blushes of any woman who saw fit to consort (if that's what it was) with a Democrat Senator.

The rest of Kaus' square-bracketing also bears investigation: he uses the words the student in square brackets three more times, twice in replacing the young woman and once in replacing she.

None of those replacements were made necessary by his (we're supposing) insertion of [name omitted]. So why does he officiously tinker with the text as he does?

The FR text is a good deal fuller: Kaus' passage runs to around 200 words - he includes a (I assume) Nexis word count of 811 words. The FR version (from the first graf to the end) runs to 354 words. (It says at the top - as if it were part of the database header Full Text - I don't trust that, of course...)

(I suspect that 811 words is a hell of a long piece for that column; perhaps it's the whole column - of which the Kerry piece is just an item.)

With a little fiddling about, I match the wordage of the FR and Kaus' versions; Kaus very properly inserts an elision mark (...) at the end of his extract to show he has left out stuff: another 111 words, in fact. Which don't seem to me to add an awful lot to the story.

I'm betting a whole matchbox that the Harvard student wasn't Polier, and that the story came to nothing in 1998. (A time when pols' illicit liaisons with young women were something of a hot topic.)

So why should Kaus do all that tinkering: suggesting that the original piece gave the girl's name, when (it seems) it didn't; and doing a whole bunch more of unnecessary square-bracketing to boot.

I still don't get it.


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