The Starr Report Disrobed
"What is this strange book" asks Fedwa Malti-Douglas, "that can bring the American presidency to its knees?" In this probing study of Kenneth W. Starr's influential and historic work, she reveals how The Starr Report exposed the cultural tendencies, desires, and taboos of Americans while it disrobed the most powerful man in the world.
Unveiling the political and ideological implications of the report's relentless pursuit of corporeal and prurient detail, Malti-Douglas underscores the document's ground-breaking nature both for its legal and cultural content. What does the report imply about American values when it repeatedly points to the dates on which trysts occurred? Why does gender seem so unstable in the report? And how do such varied objects as Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass or Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon or a Hugo Boss tie or Vox, a novel about phone sex, fit into the legal discourse of the report? Fraught with assumptions about gender and sexuality, the report reflects a strategy to use Clinton's "body natural" to undermine his "body politic."