Skip to comments.Monica Lewinsky: Righteous Good Girl (By Modern Standards, She's Actually a Prude)
Posted on 05/08/2014 5:36:32 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet, Monica Lewinsky writes in Vanity Fair. And though her affair with Bill Clinton may have kicked off our modern era of sex scandal and set the standard for the boom-bust cycles of denial and apology, sexist fascination, and pseudo-celebrity a lot has changed since 1998. A presidential candidate made a sex tape. Two U.S. Congressmen resigned over flirtations with women they never even met. Slut-shaming entered the lexicon, but so did cyberbullying, sexting, and reality star. Sixteen years after Interngate, technology has managed a neat trick: Its now possible to have a sex scandal thats simultaneously more chaste in its execution and far sleazier in its aftermath. Anthony Weiner never got laid, but the woman who sank his mayoral campaign nevertheless made and marketed a Weiner-themed porno.
By comparison, the woman who had oral-anal contact in the Oval Office is the portrait of ladylike restraint. Monica also enjoyed a brief period of celebrity, of course (remember when she hosted a dating show?), but as America became increasingly attention-obsessed and media-optimized, she fell into an adult life so silent that the buzz in some circles has been that the Clintons must have paid me off; why else would I have refrained from speaking out?
Today whore is a pejorative that has more to do with profiteering than promiscuity; the mainstream is learning, slowly, to be sex-positive, but there is no corollary term for empathizing with unabashed attention-seekers. And so Monicas claim that she turned down offers that would have earned me more than $10 million becomes her redemption, a form of abstinence she uses now to prove her virtue. But she decries this double standard, too: Not lying low exposed me to criticism for trying to capitalize on my notoriety. Apparently, others talking about me is O.K.; me speaking out for myself is not.
Capitalizing on notoriety is easier than ever. During Monicas decade of silence, it actually became a viable career: In the aftermath of Tiger Woodss sex scandal, porn star Gina Rodriguez founded a PR company dedicated to monetizing what she called mistresses, a catch-all term connoting not sexual contact but mere sexual notoriety. For clients ranging from Weiners sexters to Woodss prostitutes to the adultery partners of Mel Gibson and Jesse James, Rodriguez has organized mistress nights at strip clubs, mistress photo opportunities, and dating-website endorsements. Six months after she went public as the recipient of Carlos Dangers text messages, Rodriguez client Sydney Leathers invited a photographer to document a series of cosmetic-surgery procedures culminating in labia reduction. She had wanted to sell the cut-off remnants of her labia, too, but U.S. laws about medical waste thwarted her.
Suddenly, Monicas foray into designing tote bags seems quaint.
Some of Monicas relative classiness may, in fact, be a matter of class. When employment was hard to come by, Lewinsky writes that she fell back on loans from friends and family. She was, after all, the kind of twentysomething who worked at the White House, a distinction nobody in Gina Rodriguezs mistress club can boast. (Rodriguez does, however, represent White House party-crasher Michaele Salahi.) But who knows how things might have been different if her scandal had unfolded in the age of the selfie. Today, the feedback loop for sexual schadenfreude has been paired with a relentless egging-on. A decade ago, Monicas turn at TV stardom had her playing the stout matron of a family-friendly dating show; today, notorious women are more likely to play the warbling reality star sobbing through false eyelashes. Would she have filmed ads for Jenny Craig, or something more tawdry?
Lewinsky's essay is in the June issue of Vanity Fair. Even without modern opportunities for post-scandal livelihood, Lewinsky has been branded by the scandal that made her famous. She theorizes that some of her problem arose from the scandal taking place before shed had a chance to develop her adult identity:
Unlike the other parties involved, I was so young that I had no established identity to which I could return. I didnt let this define me I simply hadnt had the life experience to establish my own identity in 1998. If you havent figured out who you are, its hard not to accept the horrible image of you created by others. (Thus, my compassion for young people who find themselves shamed on the Web.) Despite much self-searching and therapy and exploring of different paths, I remained stuck for far too many years.
Now 40, Lewinsky is no longer a naïf playing at stardom. Shes one of the first adults to have gone through the modern gauntlet of mass sexual scrutiny. The impetus for her essay, she says, is a desire to aid the victims of cyberbullying and to help dismantle Americas culture of humiliation. I believe she is genuine in that desire (in the depths of her misery, Lewinsky says she contemplated suicide), but I also cant help but marvel at what may be That Womans savviest self-branding decision yet: In the age of Sydney Leathers, she is aligning herself with Tyler Clementi. Monicas legacy will be about sexual politics, not celebrity.
So far, That Woman has never been able to escape the shadow of that first depiction, Lewinsky writes. I was the Unstable Stalker (a phrase disseminated by the Clinton White House), the Dimwit Floozy, the Poor Innocent who didnt know any better. Initial reactions to Lewinskys appearance in Vanity Fair played into that trope: Yesterday, Monicas media nemesis Maureen Dowd (Moremean Dowdy, as I used to call her) described the ex-intern as striking yet another come-hither pose. If sex is on sale here, I dont see it. If anything, Mark Seligers casually glamorous photos are remarkable for their chastity. When Seliger photographed Rielle Hunter for GQ, the adulteress posed in bed with her pants off. In Vanity Fair, Monicas virginal white dress looks like something Audrey Hepburn would wear.
The last time I encountered Monica was at the Bombay Club, a restaurant nestled between my office and the White House, Dowd reflects. After requesting that the piano player play Send in the Clowns, she leaned in with me, demanding to know why I wrote such scathing pieces about her. Today, Monica might choose a more dignified song. (Survivor? Roar? Or Cathys Clown by the Everly Brothers: When you see me shed a tear and you know that it's sincere / Dont you think it's kinda sad that you're treating me so bad?) But shes leaning in again, and to a tune of her own choosing.
Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet, Monica Lewinsky writes...
Actually, Monica, it was your behavior that led to global humilation.
Ah, let’s remember how she introduced herself to Bill. She is not a prude.
Early July: Monica S. Lewinsky begins work as an intern in the White House chief of staff’s office.
(Reuters)Nov. 13: Lewinsky accepts a paying job dealing with correspondence at the White House office of legislative affairs.
Nov. 15: During the government shutdown, Clinton visits the chief of staff’s office for a birthday party. Lewinsky lifts her jacket and shows him the straps of her thong underwear. Then he invites Lewinsky to his private study, where they kiss. Later that evening, they have a more intimate sexual encounter during which he takes a call from a member of Congress.
Nov. 17: Lewinsky and the president have another sexual liaison during which he spoke to Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Ala.) on the phone.
Economic collapse = roaring economy
Ice storms are caused by Global Warming
And Monica Lewinsky is a prudish feminist role model for young women.
Write a book and sell the dress at auction.
And you are not unattractive - find a good man. Everything opposite a Clinton.
There is a new euphemism there somewhere....
If this had been a republican president, the teen, unpaid intern, would never have been converted into being the one in power, and that goes for ever other female, including clear cut victims, that the media turned into super predators, and greedy trash, etc, exploiting the poor guy who became a two term president of the United States.
MAUREEN O’CONNOR”S nickname for Mo Dowd: Moremean Dowdy, as I used to call her
Can I get a CZJ photo?
I think it’s a fairly safe bet that the Clintons were doing the “daily double” with interns back in 96.
Monica has become a cheesy joke.
Huma will become WH Chief of Staff.
Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet,
You were the first of Slick Willy’s stable of whores outed publicly and justifiably subjected to global humiliation for your part of the sleazy affair.
Never heard about that before. So, who was licking whose poop chute?
Monica was Bill Clinton’s Chef. She tossed his Salad.
Funny how that little fact is never mentioned. Just saying.
From everything I've heard, this woman is just terminally stupid. She's been working on her book for years, and can't seem to get anywhere.
She could have made a fortune from her "fame", but her fondness for the Clintons is holding her back... as if she's expecting that they'll do something nice for her in return. What a fool.
Check out Ken Starr’s report on Monicagate.
It’s all in there.
He: Vienna sausage/hallway
She: Softball/garden hose
I was tired of hearing about this bitch back in 96, now we have to hear about her again?