Beneath the Red Cap: An Interview with a Hillary Hater

Elissa Schappell


“Thanks for taking the time to sit for this interview. I’d like to ask you some questions about your belief that Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy, and I want you to answer them out loud. Not in your head, out loud so you can hear yourself.”

“Wait–wait–before we get started I just need a baseline. Do you believe in global climate change?”

“And evolution?”

“Finally, do you hear voices?”

“I mean, for example, does God ever say speak to you, say through a pet or former pet, maybe a guinea pig once named ‘Dick Biscuit’ who now goes by the name of ‘Ronnie’?”

“I have to ask these things. No, no one told me anything.”

“Can we get started now? Why don’t you trust Hillary Clinton? Say it out loud, please. I want you to hear your answers.”

“She wants it too much?”

“She’s too ambitious?”

“Too ambitious?”

“Is that a problem for someone running for president, to really want to be president?”

“Okay. She lies?”

“Yes, I know about Benghazi. No, that was four people and as for a conspiracy—”

“Yes, let’s talk about that email scandal. Let’s do that. Do you know what an email server is? No need to be ashamed. Not everyone has a ten-year-old at home, like I do, who can explain it in under a minute.”

“Right, private just means personal. I don’t know why they don’t say personal either.”

“What is the first word that pops into your head when I say, personal?”

“Business? I was thinking, grooming. Also: hygiene. What is the first word that pops into your head when I say, private?”

“Property. Got it. For the record, the Bush Administration used a private email server set up by the RNC. It worked well and that’s why Secretary of State, General Colin Powell suggested Hillary do the same. You might remember that the Bush administration…seriously?…deleted 2 million emails from around the time of the Iraq—”

“Take your fingers out of your ears.”

“Now, are you saying Hillary is a liar because you heard someone, someone you think is smarter than you, or who you really respect or whose skin smells amazing, say it?”

“Have you ever totally by accident, bought the exact same pair of pants as this person?”

“Did they look good on you?”

“What about shirts, sweaters, shoes?”

“Do you now or have you ever worn your hair in the same style as this person even though your hair is a different texture and reacts differently to humidity?”

“Did you get this idea about Hillary being ‘a liar’ from the media? Do you trust them?”

“An emphatic no. Do you enjoy complaining about the media?”

“If only it burned calories, am I right?”

“Do you find that complaining about the media is a great icebreaker?”

“When you look at your cable guide is your channel listed as ‘news’ or ‘entertainment’?

“Do the hosts of these shows sweat a lot?”

“Do you know what naked pandering means? Do they yell and punch the air? Do they make unearthly noise? Do foam and spittle fly from their lips like they might have been bitten by a rabid raccoon?”

“These people in the media who are telling you that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a liar: Have any of them ever been arrested? The big Kahuna, for instance. Does finding out that one radio personality repeatedly sent his cleaning lady to a Denny’s parking lot to score enough Oxycontin to fell a rhino sit well with you? Can you define the word hypocrisy?”

“Do you think that people in the media who are arguing that we should deport all the illegal immigrants mean all the illegal immigrants, or can some stay?”

“The illegal immigrants who clean their houses, mop their floors, do the windows, scrub the toilets; who make the meals and school lunches, who pick up kids up from school; the ones who wax their balls and bushes, who carry the golf clubs, who do the tailoring, who walk the dog, who bring their drinks out on to the patio; the ones who they pay to do puzzles with their aged parents and take them for walks and to doctor’s appointments, and feed them; the ones who make their parents smile by bringing them school pictures of their kids, which the parents enjoy showing to their friends as though these children were their own–can they stay?”

“About the media personalities you admire: Have you ever read the books they write?”

“How much would you pay to have the memory of those sex scenes erased?”

“If sticking a fork in a light socket would do it, would you do it? “

“How many times?”

“No, don’t read them. You seem like a good person.”

“And about your favorite news program, are there women on this TV show?”

“Are you sure?”

“If there aren’t women on the show, do you think that the show could use a woman’s touch? If there are women on the show, would you guess they bring baked goods to the office?”

“Some manner of cake or loaf, I’m thinking, Perhaps Christmas cookies?”

“Not even around the holidays?”

“Would you say these women who work on these shows are good sports? Would they take a happy pat on the behind, or a heart felt expression of admiration for a particular body part, as it was intended?”

“Would you say that women in the media who are unhappy with how they’re being treated they should get out of the kitchen if they can’t stand the heat?”

“That was a soft ball. I really set you up, didn’t I? A little something for whatever Ailes you. Ha, ha, ha.”

“Do you listen to talk radio? Does the station have snappy call letters like WITE. White Radio for White People, Wight Now?”

“If this is a televised talk radio program (there is a reason some people go into radio, am I right?) have you ever seen a submarine sandwich on the desk of the host? What about an ashtray? Does make you like him more or less? Does it seem unprofessional?”

“What have these people in the media done to earn your trust?”

“Have they ever borrowed your leaf blower and returned it?”

“Do you know for a fact or imagine that they are good to their mother? Do you feel warmly towards them because they have suffered in their private lives? Can you relate to them because they too went through an ugly divorce? Or do they just have one of those faces?”

“On the basis of hard fact–math–service–even those channels you’re listening to concede that Hillary is the most qualified candidate for the President since Dwight D. Eisenhower. How do you account for that?”

“Did you say black magic?”

“I’m pretty sure she’s Methodist.”

“No. Emily’s List is not a coven.”


“Is that it?”

“Nothing else?”

“End of the day, is this a gender thing?”


Elissa Schappell is a co-founder and editor at large of Tin House, as well as the author of  Blueprints for Building Better Girl and Use Me, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and co-editor with Jenny Offill of the anthologies The Friend Who Got Away and Money Changes Everything. She is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review. Her essays, articles, and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies such as The Bitch in the House, The KGB Bar Reader, and The Mrs. Dalloway Reader. She teaches at Columbia University.