Published on October 23, 2007
The US media is keeping a close watch on Clinton now, especially since she criticised ... no, not President George W Bush's Iraqi policy, but when she ... laughed.
It all began when Clinton was giving an interview with "Fox News Sunday", chatting with Chris Wallace late last month. Clinton burst out laughing at the opening question when asked why she had a "hyperpartisan view of politics".
Later on, Clinton cackled at several public occasions, including press conferences. The media had a field day. Some described Hillary's laugh as loud and inappropriate. Right-wing blogs described her laugh as "fakey, fake, fake, fake" or even a "hideous hyena mating call" and "a signal to launch her flying monkeys".
Respected columnists also gave lots of space to psychoanalyse her laughter. Frank Rich wrote in The New York Times: "Now Mrs Clinton is erupting in a laugh with all the spontaneity of an alarm-clock buzzer." Maureen Dowd, another Times columnist, wrote that Clinton's "big belly laughs" were a way of making the transition "from nag to wag".
Streetwise fans can check YouTube for her live-action laughter.
Well, people can laugh at different occasions. Laughter is a psychological effect of humour. But there are times when celebrities laugh at public events to reflect their positive energy. Laughing can also show that you are humorous. Sometimes, it even makes you feel good about yourself when you're down.
Clinton's laugh is a belly laugh and, come on, you should not expect a tough lady like Clinton to giggle mildly. She may not really feel that joyful, but human beings can react to difficult situations differently, such as when she does not know how to answer a difficult question.
But the US audience may expect more than that.
Unlike her husband, Clinton has been perceived as stiff and cold. So when she laughed more often in public recently, people were surprised.
Clinton herself was not amused by how people reacted to her laughter. She said people were often telling her to be funnier. But when she does lighten up, she laments, "I am psychoanalysed."
Who can blame her critics? Because even her spouse was surprised about Mrs Clinton's laugh.
The New Yorker's latest edition reprinted an excerpt from President Bill Clinton's September 13 interview.
Q: What don't we know about your spouse?
A: She has the world's best laugh.