Don Williams
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Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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Alpha male advice to Al Gore spirals down to a pinkie
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   04/28/2000)

A fly on the wall in Al Gore's Nashville campaign headquarters might have heard a conversation like this with Naomi Wolf, his New-Feminist campaign adviser: Gore: First of all, Naomi, let me say, the advice you gave me about being more of an Alpha Male really worked. We smoked that traitor, Bill Bradley, revealing him for the, uh, Beta Wolf he really is. I'll wager he's still off licking his wounds.

Wolf: Not literally, Al. Remember, it's only a metaphor. And Al, lay off lines like "first of all," and "let me say." They indicate hesitancy.

Gore: Sorry.

Wolf: And don't apologize, Al. It demonstrates weakness.

Gore: Right. I'm still new at this. I was reading about all this stuff in the May issue of Discover magazine, here, and frankly, I find it rather confusing.

Wolf: It's best never to appear confused, Al. What didn't you understand?

Gore: It says here that scientists use four different definitions to identify the dominant male in any group of animals. There's the one who can beat up everybody else. The one who displays the most aggression. The one that gets the most attention. And the one who ends up with the best food, the most sex and the nicest place to sleep.

Wolf: So?

Gore: So, take the part about the one who beats everybody up. In political terms, that would be Jesse Ventura, right? He's the only politician I know who likes to fight. Well, maybe McCain, but Ventura's up front about it.

Wolf: Where are you going with this, Al?

Gore: Well, you're the controlling adviser here, so... should I step into the ring or not? We could take on Sting or Hollywood Hogan... stage something right here in the new arena... I could wear my taupe-colored sweatsuit, the one you....

Wolf: No Al, that's not the kind of Alpha Male I had in mind.

Gore: That's a relief, quite actually. What about the second type the article mentions. The one who displays the most aggression. That would be Buchanan right? Always snarling about the Latinos and Chinese stealing our jobs and howling about our World Trade initiative....

Wolf: No, we musn't forget that Buchanan thinks Hitler had his good points. That sort of thing can be misinterpreted, Al.

Gore: I see. Then I take it you think I should be more like Bill Gates? That would be in keeping with the third definition: The one who gets the most attention....

Wolf: Not that kind of attention.

Gore: Well, that only leaves Definition Number Four: The one who gets the best food, most sex and nicest sleeping quarters.... That would be....

Wolf and Gore (together): Bill Clinton.

Wolf: Forget the sex part, Al. Kennedy could get away with it, not Bill. Congress and the press put the brakes on that particular Alpha Male activity.

Gore: Of course, I wasn't suggesting....

Wolf: Focus on the food and sleeping quarters. That's what you must aspire to. And who gets better food or linens than the president?

Gore: No one, and frankly, it rankles....

Wolf: Musn't show it in public, Al. Like it or not, when it comes to you and Bill, he's still the Alpha Male, and you're the Beta Male. But we're going to change that, Al. Your task is to prove that you can be the Alpha Male. Too late to do anything about old footage of you fawning all over Bill while he was being impeached and tossing bombs around. Still, you took a step in the right direction by telling everybody during the Bradley debates how disappointed you were in Bill's behavior with Monica.

Gore: And don't forget I publicly disagreed with his policy toward little Elian.

Wolf: That's tricky, Al. Bill acted decisively there. He bared his fangs, so to speak, then used them. In the long run he'll get respect for it. Very Alpha Male behavior.

Gore: I see.

Wolf: So consult me before you make any more public breaks with Bill.

Gore: Right, Naomi, of course.

Wolf: And Al, make eye contact when you address me or anyone else. Now. You'll wear the plum-colored jacket at Wednesday's town hall meeting in Huntsville. And don't forget to saunter. Sauntering is very important, Al. George "W" has that down. Now, let's talk about your eyebrows....

Gore: My eyebrows?

Wolf: You should arch those more when confronted by reporters. And the chin, Al....

Gore: The chin?

Wolf: Yes, elevate the chin; it demonstrates self-assurance. And remember—keep the pinkie aligned with the ring finger, like this, when clapping. Try it Al.

Gore. Pinkie...?