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Jewish World Review April 3, 2001 / 10 Nissan, 5761

Julia Gorin

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Babs and Bubba forever -- DAYS after Barbra Streisand fired off a three-page memo to Democrats on Capitol Hill in which she defended former president Bill Clintonís pardons and blasted Democrats for, among other things, distancing themselves from him--thereby diverting attention from his successes--the entertainer explains how she came to be the last person in the country to still carry the Bill Clinton torch.

Dear America,

I know I promised to move away from you, but letís be realistic: Who else would tolerate such a big mouth? I donít mean to stick my nose everywhere; it just happens to extend that far.

You see, I wasnít born a diva. I wasnít even born Barbra. I was born Barbara Joan, and my own mother told me I was too ugly to ever make it in show business. Indeed, what a cruel hoax god had played! Imagine: Blue eyes but beady and closely set. A nose I couldnít fix because it would strip me of my unique sound. A body to die foróbut with this face sitting on top of it.

And yet I overcame. Not only did I achieve the career of my dreams--I became a sex symbol. I made ugly beautiful. Gawky turned sexy. And "Funny-Looking Girl" became, simply, "Funny Girl."

Still not convinced that Mama was entirely wrong, I continued to make movies into middle age reassuring me that an ugly duckling deserved love and success. (By the way, I donít appreciate jokesters calling it "The Mirror has Two Ugly Faces." The studio eventually agreed to take the fifth word out.) And here I am. Beautiful. Sexy. A diva. Over all the complexes. (Except I wonít share a frame with an actress whom the camera considers to be technically more attractive.)

Naturally, my success in show businesses led to a platform in politics. Then, just when it seemed life couldnít get any better, a tall, blue-eyed, silver-haired Adonis swaggered into Washington from Arkansas. (From Arkansas!) And actually noticed me.

(Me!) Never in my wildest dreams as a young girl could I have imagined that this kind of Mr. Popularityójock--macho manócall him whatever you want--would ever look in the direction of this poor, pathetic little Brooklyn yenta. Hello, Gorgeous!

So why am I so attached? Why, you ask? Iíll give you a hint: I directed three movies. In "Prince of Tides," my romantic lead was played by Nick Nolte. In "The Mirror has Two Faces" it was Jeff Bridges. (Mandy Patenkin in "Yentl" doesnít count; who would have believed Axle Rose as a Yeshiva bocher?) So what do Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges, James Brolin and Bill Clinton all have in common?

Thatís right: He wasnít just the Other. And it wasnít just the White House. Iíd been inside a trailer, and Iíd been inside the White Houseóbut not that kind of trailer, and not this kind of White House. And he liked me. Me! And no, it wasnít charity on his partóI donít appreciate those jokes either. Bill didnít need a reason.

So how is it that Iím just about the last person in the country still carrying the Bill Clinton torch? Well, after an experience like that, you sort of carry a torch for a guy, that's all.

And I always will, because Babs is devoted to her Bubba.


JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and stand-up comic residing in Manhattan. Send your comments by clicking here.

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