BIKINI KILL. I hadn�t noticed at first, because the print is squintishly small, but the latest Vanity Fair cover takes a pretty rude and gratuitous shot at Hillary Clinton. The cover is of two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank in a white bikini kneeling in the surf, accompanied by the tag �Hey, there, HILARY!*� The asterisk references the following clarifying text: �*The Hilary you want to see in a bikini!�

You may recall the January 1998 episode when the Clintons were vacationing in the Virgin Islands and an Agence France-Presse photog hiding in the bushes snapped a shot of then-50-year-old Clinton in her bikini, dancing with the president. Her response, as recounted in Living History (p. 438), to the charge that she choreographed that for political gain: �Just name me any fifty-year-old woman who would knowingly pose in her bathing suit -- with her back pointed to the camera.� Even Hillary�s indefatigable, her-ambition-is-limitless critics, who are convinced that 99 percent of Clinton�s every word and deed is designed to slake her bottomless political thirst, would at least have to classify that moment in the remaining 1 percent. (Oh, except woman-derogating Kate O�Bierne at the National Review, who was still pushing psycho-analytical crap like this less than a year ago.)

Congrats to Vanity Fair for classing it up. Perhaps the magazine's editors aged 50+ might consider putting their asses where their snarks are and posing in white bikinis on the cover.

--Tom Schaller