WHAT IS THAT THING?
WHAT IS THAT THING?

Today, in Emperor’s New News, the kind of stories that are only news if you do not stare directly at them, people are deeply concerned that, on the cover of People magazine, Hillary Clinton appears to be leaning — on something.

“She’s leaning on something. But what?” everyone asked. “And, most pressingly, how will this decision to LEAN on a THING affect 2016?”

“Women who want to be president must lean IN, but never lean ON!” “Is this a walker?” “This is serious! This is really serious! This is the kind of minute fluttering of a butterfly’s gossamer wings that could cause a MASSIVE STORM come 2016!” “Leaning is a powerful statement for a woman to make! Any kind of leaning anywhere! We must scrutinize it!”

People are analyzing this with the fervor of that one kid in seminar who has not done the reading and is frantically clinging to one paragraph on page 34.

Good lord. Hillary 2016 is possibly a campaign but definitely a condition the national media are acutely suffering. These are not the questions of well minds. “What is Hillary truly leaning on? A chair? A stroller? A Benghazi? A gate? Could this be Gate-gate?”

Also, has no one in this discussion ever seen a chair? Surely we have. There was that one time, at the Republican National Convention, when Clint Eastwood spoke to one for an extended period and we had plenty of time to observe it. Did we retain nothing? Have we not seen walkers, either? What have we been doing with our lives during the time when we were supposed to be learning the difference between those items?

I wish that I were making this up, because this is the kind of sad non-story that makes you want to sit down with the press corps and murmur soothingly and say, “It’s okay, it’s okay, yes, I’m sure it’s very important for 2016, absolutely, shhhhhh, shhhh, look, here comes Marco Rubio, maybe he’ll drink some water, you can talk about that, that’ll be really interesting and just as powerful.”

There are questions to ask about Hillary 2016. This is not among them.

But for every stupid question — “What Mystery Does Hillary’s Cover Hide?” there is someone who goes out and dutifully supplies an answer. Spoiler alert: it is a chair.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.