FEAR THE FUTURE Okay, gotta make this quick. Monica might burp and I’ll be forced to comment. Monica Lewinsky no longer exists. We are moving into the realm of Princess Monica. She says that she isn’t a princess — “in the royal sense.” And I don’t think she means a Jewish American Princess either. No, she has gained peerage in the new American aristocracy. She is a victim — which always conveys nobility. “I’m not a princess in the royal sense, but I was also wronged by a man who said he loved me . . . And remember, I was in love with him. I was trapped, too. I had a lot of pressure on me, and like Diana, I had nowhere to go, nowhere to hide.” In other words, she didn’t share Diana’s old-fashioned princessness but she’s got all of her media-age celebrity and feel-your-pain victimization. And it’s even better because Monica is American.
I fear for the future now more than ever. Since Bill Clinton was part of the political culture, his victory was an entirely hollow one. He was humiliated and exposed for the lout that he is. But Monica Lewinsky has moved into the realm not of the political culture, but the culture proper. And she is about to be anointed. Barbara Walters might as well tap her on both shoulders with her microphone and say “In the name of Saint Diana, Saint Bobbit, and Saint Anita I dub you Queen of the Zeitgeist.”
We have spent a year compartmentalizing the many Bill Clintons. Policy Wonk Clinton has been trapped like the Prisoner of Zelda by his own ghosts, but we have celebrated him nevertheless. Hillary is the wife of Clinton as FDR. But Monica is the number-one-girl of Clinton as Elvis. She is in touch with his sensual side. She thinks the president of the United States is a “good kisser” and we all giggle with her as she says it. Don’t bother to point out that she is, in fact, America’s most successful prostitute — that would be like noticing someone passing gas at a dinner party. Last night I tried to say this on a television show and I was booed down. One man said, “Oh c’mon Jonah have a heart. It’s Monica’s week.” Well it’s going to be a hell of a lot more than that I fear.
As I look into the new millennium I see Monica Lewinsky diets and self-help books, a contract with Weight Watchers some day in the not-too-distant future, and, perhaps, her own television show. When she starts dating again the cameras will be there. When she gets engaged, expect an entire week of Oprah dedicated to it. Monica Lewinsky never wanted to be Clinton’s John Dean. She wanted to be his Marilyn Monroe. She has succeeded. She is our new sex-pot goddess. The fact that she is struggling with her weight is all the better. We can feel her pain and we can celebrate her triumphs. When she comes out with her sequel book, Food Isn’t Love: My Struggle with Overeating and the World Leaders Who Drove Me to It, we will line up to have her sign our copies. We will worry how she is handling her fame and we will measure her emotional state by the width of her belt line.
Nobody cares that she is a liar about the things that supposedly matter, like obstruction of justice and perjury. Nobody cares that there is an accusation pending that the president of the United States raped a woman. The network which broke the Broaddrick story hasn’t even run it on their own Nightly News and they have now barred their various affiliated stations and programs from using the footage. Indeed, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC, CNN, CBS, and even FOX are promoting their rival network’s interview of Lewinsky like it was a moon launch, but they have barely mentioned the rape allegation. But why expect anything different? Barbara Walters may have the broadcast rights, but it’s everyone’s coronation.