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What Do You Know About Richard M. Nixon?

Depending on who we are, how old we are, and where we come from, associations with Richard M. Nixon vary greatly. The best is the SEINFELD episode wherein Elaine tricked into dating a guy because he has the perfect come-on. He makes bets with total strangers (women he is attracted to) about trivia topics and names that he intentionally gets wrong. In Elaine’s case, upon meeting her, he bets with her that Dustin Hoffman was in STAR WARS…then by the end of the show has moved on to Jerry’s girlfriend, Nikki (though the freak doesn’t know she’s Jerry’s girlfriend as he hits on her) what the M stands for in Richard M. Nixon.

There is also the brilliant, campy STRIPTEASE performance of Burt Reynolds playing Congressman David Dilbeck, who greases himself up with Vaseline to have his way with a token piece of fresh lint from his fantasy girl, Erin Grant (played by Demi Moore), then is cleaned up and hastened to a stage to speak to a huge group of Christians: as he enters to a standing O he holds both politician hand up in the sign of the V for victory but more looking like the Richard M. Nixon signs of peace. Such are the implications, anyway. This is the silliest of associations I have with that name, Richard M. Nixon, as I was in high school when the 37th U.

president was waving his phony peace signs and mumbling as if he had marbles in his mouth that he was “not a crook”—both becoming signature marks for the fallen president of the United States. I recall actual silent periods in Latin class, for instance, when we would de-rail from our declensions and go into grave, oppressive quiet time once the overhead speakers piped the latest news on the infamous Richard M. Nixon, interrupting our “normal” class periods. Yes, he has been made fun of, has been villanized and glorified equally by left and by right…. He was an iconic president, for numerous reasons, that is. Richard M. Nixon was responsible for issuing policy that brought price control and established SSI (Supplemental Security Income). Richard M. Nixon made electronic spying of the Big Brother of George Orwell’s 1984 a reality by spying and bugging (Democrats and others, including his own people) and bringing about his impeachment.

And Richard M. Nixon is, conversely, known as the president who—in a détente with the then USSR and China, ended the miserable Vietnam War. So whatever your associations are with Richard M. Nixon, may they be more accurate than mine were when I was a pot-smoking, Latinate language-struggling, anti-authoritarianistic teen.


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