And the winner of this year's popularity contest is....

Hillary Clinton was posed picture perfect yesterday for her feature in Humans of New York, in which she recounted a harrowing encounter while taking a law school entrance exam at Harvard in the 1960s. This story was meant to serve as an explanation for why people may perceive her “as aloof or cold or unemotional.”

There are a lot of curious things about the story. One is that she’s never shared it before so the timing is curious, and highly convenient since her deadly personality has become a big campaign issue.

Second, there’s no way to immediately verify it because there are no witnesses, other than an unnamed friend.

Third, a key part of the story makes no sense, which suggests that, as often is the case with Hillary, she’s mixing fact with fiction.

Fourth, even if it is true it in no way explains her cold demeanor. That’s something future psychiatrists and historians will have to explain.

Here’s what she said:

I was a senior in college.  I wasn’t sure how well I’d do.  And while we’re waiting for the exam to start, a group of men began to yell things like: ‘You don’t need to be here.’  And ‘There’s plenty else you can do.’  It turned into a real ‘pile on.’  One of them even said: ‘If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die.’  And they weren’t kidding around.  It was intense.  It got very personal.  But I couldn’t respond.  I couldn’t afford to get distracted because I didn’t want to mess up the test…I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions.  And that’s a hard path to walk.

Could male students in the 1960s have said such horrifying, insulting things to a woman? Of course, male students — and men in general — are still that ignorant today. There is a lot of male resentment towards successful, intelligent women out there and we are a long way from gender equality in this country.

But do I think that this is a total bullshit excuse that Hillary is using nearly half a century later to excuse her cold, lackluster personality? Very most definitely.

From laughing and partying with Saudi dictators and Vladimir Putin to her incredible awkward recent dancing with Bill in the Hamptons while Jon Bon Jovi and Paul McCartney played for her, I would say that Hillary’s cold demeanor and tight-lipped personality can be traced elsewhere.

She is an elitist. Her inability to connect with her fellow humans — at least the 99 percent — has little to do with misogyny and a lot to do with her years of basking with the bourgeoisie, from Long Island to Davos.

In terms of the honesty of the story, one thing stands out.

How is it that smart, educated men who were prepped and ready to sit down to take their LSAT’s didn’t realize that draft deferments weren’t secured by entry to college?

This article in the Harvard Crimson was published in 1967. Hillary graduated from Wellesley in 1969. No one was going to lose their deferment because of her admission to law school.

So it appears that Hillary may be human after all, in at least one way: She can’t remember small facts.

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  • p p

    Fwiw, if you read Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman, Ginsburg does talk about how when she was at Harvard, the dean told her she was taking up a man’s place.

    I’ve always thought that Clinton takes others’ stories and makes them her own. Given that she’s never used it before, I think she’s likely done it this time.

    But as for the context? Yes, that kind of thing did happen.

    • Melissa Eckert Garriga

      I hadn’t even considered that she could have stolen the story in a way! Thanks for sharing that.