FEELINGS WOE WOE WOE WOE FEELINGS. . .
Between 5 percent and 10 percent of the e-mail I get every day tells me that I am “too angry” or that I have “too much bitterness” or “hate” in my heart. Normally, these e-mails are wrong, but not today. So, if such bitter “feelings” offend your sensibilities, you should double click elsewhere. I am cranky. I want to inflate the hate and surcease the peace. These are my “feelings,” so they are authentic and you cannot challenge them. I “feel” tired and I have a caffeine-withdrawal headache that almost no amount of coffee seems capable of expunging. I’m dipping coffee grounds between gum and inner lips and spitting all over the floor.
But my addictions are not my fault. They are the background noise to my deeper “feelings.” And we are in the feelings construction zone for as far down the road as you can peer.
In Monica’s book we can read a lot about feelings. She felt like she was “raped” by Ken Starr and after he released his report, she “FELT very violated. I really FELT raped and physically ill . . . I just FELT like the whole world looked at me as a whore.” It was like her “stomach had been cut open and someone poured acid onto [her] wound” when Starr’s deputies told her she had broken the law and could go to jail. Around her jabbering bozo-lawyer Bill Ginsberg she “FELT like an exhibit in a traveling freak show.”
As for the other Bill, you know “President Kiddo,” as she liked to call him, Monica says, “I FEEL that he should have shown more restraint . . . Sometimes she FEELS “sick looking at him.” But, of course, last night she told us she still FEELS very proud of him sometimes too.
Now, about last night. Full disclosure: I hate the Café-Vienna moment chick-talk infotainment that Barbara Walters passes off as news. I always have. Never in the history of human affairs has it mattered what kind of tree a person would be if he could be one. When a historian says to me, “Y’know we could have stopped Hitler in ‘38 if we only knew that he was a Birch tree on the inside,” then I’ll care. Ms. Walters made her name as the woman who broke the glass ceiling because she could do hard news. Once she checked that box on her résumé she fell backwards into the sort of “how do you feel?”-hairstyle-is-more-important-than-facts interviews that sexists said were the natural domain of women all along.
Her interview last night was the last straw of an abandoned career as a real journalist. It was not, by my reckoning, until 10:55 that an honest to goodness question about the impeachment trial actually surfaced. But while I was writing “10:55″ on a piece of paper, the question disappeared unanswered because it was getting late and was time for Monica to cry. To borrow a phrase from the not too dissimilar porn industry: crying is the “money shot” for interviewers today.
It’s too soon to tell if my fears from yesterday’s column will materialize. A woman interviewed at her “Monica Party” last night by the Washington Post said, “I thought she came off very sympathetic. She’s going to have her own TV show. It’s her sense of humor that is charming . . . She’s going to be a host on MTV.”
Well, now wouldn’t that be fitting? MTV is where a lot of this started. It was on MTV that the president answered cutesy questions about his underwear to a dimply teenager who by now is probably a little older than Monica Lewinsky. So why shouldn’t the woman who seduced the president by snapping her thong underwear at him go back to where it all began?
I thought Monica Lewinsky was awful last night. Sure, she seems more like a human being now. But saying someone is human seems to me a pretty minimal compliment. I mean if you wanted to say something more mundane, would you say: “Gosh, she really came across as a bipedal mammal. Good for her”? (For the Trekkies out there we could call her a carbon-based unit). My favorite moment last night was when she was asked about the White House “meanies” who banished her to the Pentagon. Barbara Walters in a flash of understatement said the meanies were right for banishing Monica. Oh no, replied the vixen, “I don’t think my relationship hurt the job he was doing. It didn’t hurt the work I was doing. It was between us. I don’t think it was their business really.”
Really? We have just finished a thirteen-month ordeal. Bill Clinton became the second president of the United States to be tried in the Senate. There is talk that foreign powers were in a position to blackmail a sitting U.S. president. The entire government was wrenched to a halt . . . okay, you know what happened in the last year, you don’t need me to recap. So, there are a few unsung heroes of the Democratic Party and the Clinton White House who were actually willing to make an effort to nip this “consensual relationship” in the bud, preventing some of the national disaster that later ensued. They probably couldn’t predict how bad the consequences were, but clearly they at least knew that no good could come from such a relationship (or even the appearance of one, which used to be the standard).
But after all this; after feeling raped, feeling wounded, feeling betrayed — feeling, feeling, feeling — Monica thinks it “was none of their business, really. ” And why not? Her ministering didn’t interrupt his phone calls to congressmen about Bosnia or interrupt her “work” either. Because you know that was the chief concern of the meanies — that her Xeroxing and pizza-delivery services might have been impaired by her constant oral pleasuring of the president of the United States. What were they thinking?
Every time my glacial disgust of this little tramp began to melt from her tears, I would pinch myself with a reminder that she was lying. The local news in Washington last night had an FBI expert monitor Lewinsky’s comments for signs that she was lying. Apparently there were enough signs to fill a municipal garbage dump. She lied about Linda Tripp goading her. If you listen to even ten minutes of the Tripp tapes you will realize this. She lied about the talking points. And if she told the truth last night when she said lied to Tripp about obstruction, death threats, and Vernon Jordan, shouldn’t Tripp catch a break? If Monica convinced Linda that such crimes were taking place, doesn’t it lessen the betrayal? Even a little? No, of course not.
Monica is a victim.
For example, in an excerpt of the 20/20 interview that was not aired but was printed in the New York Daily News, Lewinsky refers to “forces,” which tried to continue the relationship. You see, Monica is a victim of “forces” which sounds vaguely like the Vast Right-Wing Conspirators that her competitor Hillary warned us about. This wasn’t her fault. It was a setup. She is still clinging to the advice given to her by Darth Clinton, “Use the Forces, Monica.” But none of that matters. Who cares about those old facts? Monica’s feelings are everything now.
And if Monica’s feelings have been hurt, then the culprit must be: A) The president of the United States who used her like a $2-dollar Havana hooker and then humiliated her on the nightly news for over a year or B) The man who interrogated her about obstruction of justice and perjury. You guessed it — B! Starr’s heinous crime has been splashed all over the papers and the news. But try and find in those papers or on the news a report that mentions the fact that two judges have looked at Ken Starr’s actions in regard to Monica Lewinsky and cleared him of any wrongdoing. You’ll probably find it in some papers around the 37th paragraph next to the ads for furniture clearance sales and cosmetic eye surgery.
Prosecutors often hurt the feelings of people who break laws (they also put them in jail, fine them for big dollar amounts, and other stuff too. But SHHHHHH, we’re talking feelings). I heard that when G. Gordon Liddy was arrested, his self-esteem took a brutal beating and he was having a really bad hair day too. Bud McFarlane, the victim of Lawrence Walsh, the independent counsel who briefed the New York Times and Washington Post every morning, contemplated suicide too. But hey, the New York Times didn’t care about his feelings.
As Ken Starr said in response to David Kendall’s indignation about Monica’s bruised self-esteem during the impeachment hearings, Monica Lewinsky’s feelings are irrelevant. If feelings are relevant, then let’s give cops nerf bats instead of guns. But, I must say, that we made a good start in that direction when Starr’s deputies took Monica on a shopping spree at Pentagon City after they nabbed her.
This has been the worst two-week period in the history of feminism. Let’s quickly survey the damage. Barbara Walters, as stated above, has done significant damage to the notion that women can do hard news. The key witness in the most important trial of the century was treated as if she had just come out with a new book about how to throw tea parties for cats. A credible charge of rape against a sitting president of the United States has been swept aside to applaud a trampy champion of “consensual” sex in the workplace. Anita Hill seems like the queen of a fantasyland now. Indeed, lying in sexual-harassment cases has been given legitimacy by the entire Democratic party, the cultural establishment, and the brightest lights of the American Bar. The greatest icon of the feminist movement in a generation has been thoroughly humiliated. Hillary Clinton was supposed to represent the new paradigm of feminist marriage; a partnership of equals where all the love of conventional marriages co-existed with professional respect and intellectual parity. Well, that’s gone too.
And you know, it was all Ken Starr’s fault.