The Aphrodisiac of Power

Mmmmmm . . . Monica!

Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh it up now. 

But I’m telling you, I have carried a torch for this zaftig Jewish American Princess ever since she first came to attention as Queen of the Presidential Pants. 

She has, however, quietly managed to persevere in the aftermath of the most publicly played and hypocritical sex scandal ever to hit The White House.  She is much smarter than anyone might give her credit for, and while she is always pretty, she can be a downright stunner when she’s hosed off and dressed up. 

That’s why I am madly in love with Monica Lewinsky.

Monica Lewinsky (frontispiece)

The Golden Age in America
We are going back in time once again. 

Before taking this little field trip a review of the rules are necessary: keep your hands in your pockets – your own pockets, this time – and don’t cross the velvet rope.  [Insert cheesy time-travel special-effects graphic here . . . ]

Goin' Back in TimeCredit: Vic Dillinger, 2011

 . . . it was the decade of the 1990s.

The Sun truly never shone brighter on America. 

Ne’er didst the bunnies roam more freely and carelessly; nay, nor didst the deer and the antelope play more friskily than when the greatest President this country has ever known sat regally and benovently on his throne in the Oval Office. 

Under the party-time, feel-good, LIFE-IS-GREAT administration of William Jefferson Clinton we were finally seeing that the light at the end of the tunnel was not an on-coming train (having just come off two economically disastrous administrations, Ronald Reagan’s and George H.W. Bush’s)Ronnie & Georgie (ex-Prez's)Credit: Vic Dillingerâ„¢, © 2012.

But woe came to the land when a dark pall spread its ugly talons, clawing away our veneer of prosperity and joy.  Our President, it turned out, was not a god after all, but a regular, ordinary horn dog that got caught with his hand in the . . . ummm . . . cookie jar. 

And, unfortunately, the owner of said jar – a cheery, very pretty, and vivaciously bouncy brunette White House intern named Monica Lewinsky – became the most reviled home wrecker on the planet. 

Who was this succubus using her feminine wiles for evil instead of good?  Who was this foul temptress who led our benighted President, Wild Bill Clinton, astray?

It turned out she was just a girl. 

The Little Intern That Would
San Francisco, California, gave rise to Bill Clinton’s Bathsheba on July 23, 1973.  Monica Samille Lewinsky (probably the only woman on the planet with such an interesting middle name – I’m guessing it’s Jewish for “Salma” as in Salma Hayek) was born into affluence and grew up in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles.  Monica’s moneyed background was double-barreled.  Her father, Bernard, was an oncologist of German Jewish descent (his father escaped the Nazis before migrating to the US via El Salvador).  Her mother, Marcia, was of Eastern European Jewry, and is an author under the pen-name “Marcia Lewis” (not a good one, but an author nonetheless). 

Monica’s parents couldn’t play nice, however, and in 1987, they divorced when Monica was in her mid teens.  This was tough on my little Jewish princess, and it may have been from here that some of her “daddy issues” were formed (interests in older, unattainable men.  She later had an intimate relationship with a teacher).  Marcia and Bernard both married other people – Marcia, who is a socialite drama queen in her own right, managed to snag a really old fart that also happened to be a multi-zillionaire.   

Monica and her family practiced their Jewish faith, attending synagogue and her going to a Jewish school when she was younger.  She went to elementary school in Bel Air as well, and later to Beverly Hills High School.  She was Monica Lewinsky (pensive & uncertain)named “Outstanding Junior” in school.  In 1991, she transferred for her senior year to another prep school in Bel-Air.  She went on to do two years in community college where she also worked in the drama department of her former school, Beverly Hills High, and at a boutique. Completing a lot of her undergrad general education studies, she moved on to Lewis & Clark College (Portland, Oregon), where she graduated in 1995 with a degree in Psychology.

Her aspirations led her far afield: she moved clear across the country into the Washington, DC area after college.  Taking advantage of her family’s wealthy connections in the Land o’ Politics, Monica gained a coveted internship in the Clinton White House in July 1995.  On November 13, 1995, she got a paid position in the White House’s Legislative Affairs Office.  She’d only been on board for four months.  It was November 15, 1995, the day of her first sexual contact with the President, which put her on the fast track.  She was barely 22 years old. 

Wanton of the West Wing
Details, of course, are dodgy. 

Bill Clinton had already had more mud slung at him than any other president before him.  No president before or since has come under the media spotlight, the intensely microscopic scrutiny, that Bill Clinton endured during his campaign and when he was in office.  The very word “beleaguered” describes his two-term administration, not because anything important was happening, but because he was Bill Clinton.

Monica Lewinsky (w/ Pres. Clinton, 1995)Credit: AP

Wild Bill’s history of infidelities is well-known now, but was just beginning to rear its ugly head then.  And I do mean ugly.  And I’m not talking about the details of what he allegedly did with various women while governor of Arkansas or even during his campaign and after.  I’m talking about his “conquests”.  Once these women started surfacing, I completely understood Monica’s appeal – she was young, and gorgeous, and definitely a major step up from what he’d previously associated with. 

Later, Monica confirmed that she and the President had nine sexual encounters over the period from November 15, 1995, to March 29, 1997.   This is 499 days, kids, and that means she and the Monica Lewinsky (c 1998)Prez weren’t really doing so much.  That’s an average of one sexual encounter about every 55.4 days or 7.9 weeks (dang, I love math!!).  I could only hope that was neither’s sum total sexual output during that time, because that is frankly pathetic. 

And pathetic describes the nature of their “sexual” relationship.  Yes, it was sex.  Yes, it was all oral or manual, but it was still sex.  No, vaginal intercourse was not involved.  That does not, however, diminish the experience for either party nor does it undermine the seriousness of the situation (married man, hot intern)

On April 16, 1996, Monica got moved to the Pentagon because her superiors thought she was hanging around Bill too much. She later spilled the beans about her liaisons with Bill to her yenta “friend” Linda Tripp.  Tripp began secretly recording conversations between herself and Monica when Monica discussed her sexual contacts with Bill. In January 1998, Tripp (a busy-body harpy with an axe to grind) coughed the tapes up to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr (who was already looking into the Whitewater Land Company dealings involving the Clintons). 

The rest is comedy history.

“Aaaannnndd, We’re Stupid in 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . ” 
Late night talk-show hosts had a field day with Monica Lewinsky and the situation (fellatio, the semen-stained dress held for evidence, etc.).  She was the national punch line. America got its pMonica Lewinsky (distressed)Credit: fanpix.netrudish, hypocritical, post-Victorian, poker-up-the-wazoo panties all in a bunch over this.  One would think Bill and Monica were like Bonny and Clyde – only, instead of robbing banks, they rampaged across the countryside killing all the baby bunnies and puppies.

The ensuing simian-media feces-flinging about this non-event will stand as perhaps America’s lowest moment in journalism.  First, there was no story here:“Man Cheats on Wife”.  Yeah, there’s something we don’t hear about every day.  So what?  No crime was committed.  So what if Bill Clinton was President?  The US Constitution does not have any part of it that states “The President shall not get any strange while in office”. 

The impeachment movement was a joke – there was no offense against which to impeach him.  He had not compromised the nation’s security, he had not committed treason, nor had he undermined anything in the Constitution.  He had not been seditious.  He had not fomented a rebellion.  He had not traded arms for hostages or masterminded a break-in of another political party’s headquarters.  He had not gotten us involved in a pointless and costly conflict in the Middle East (as his predecessor had done or as his successor would do).

Lied to the country? That’s what you got?  He didn’t owe the country any goddam explanations about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, so whether he lied or not is irrelevant.  And any guy caught cheating is definitely going to lie to his wife.  Even if she catches him physically in the act, he will lie: “What?  I didn’t do nothin’.  Who you gonna believe: me or your lyin’ eyes?” Lying is not only normal under such circumstances, it should be expected.  No, any excuse for a vendetta against Bill Clinton by Republicans and other Clinton haters was needed; he gave someone such an excuse.  [And Hillary Clinton was not the wounded or wronged wife she would play later.  She knew all about it before it went public, trust me.  She had been to this particular rodeo before, having been married to Bill for over two decades.]  

The absurdity of Ken Starr’s “investigation” was sickening.  Those people were slavering over the chance to use titillating words such as “fellatio”, “vagina”, or “hot pastrami on rye”.  Every official involved in this non-starter looked like (and apparently was) a moron.  There are not enough short buses on the planet to transport the level of idiocy involved here. 

When I think of the millions of tax-payer dollars (and the broadcast time, ink, and buzz) thrown away on this incident, it makes me feel bad for us.  Surely, America (and the world) had more important things to worry about. 

I know I did – I was trying to find out Monica’s phone number!

Monica Lewinsky (moody model)Credit: tumblr

I thought Monica Lewinsky was a doll. 

I’d never seen her until that one video clip where Wild Bill gives her a hug in a crowd scene and she’s wearing her little beret.  My heart melted for that image of Monica.  I could see it in the way she looked at him in that moment; I understood her.  He was the most powerful human being in the free world.  “Starry-eyed” would barely begin to describe the look of adoration on her face.  I’ve seen the groupie mentality at work, and I’ve taken unfair advantage of it myself.  [Not maliciously, but if it’s being handed over on a silver platter, what the falgol?  I just made that up: “falgol”.  You can use my new word.]  I totally got Monica Lewinsky. 

Bill Clinton couldn’t keep it in his pants.  So what?  The only people who should have known (if any) or been discussing this issue at all, if they even deigned to bother, would have been Bill, Monica, and Hillary Clinton.  [Hillary was known around The White House by her staff as “The Big Girl”.  With ovaries of steel, Hillary could weather this little blip on the radar easily and cannily – and she did.] 

But America, paving the way for the false prudery and unnecessary prurient interests in all things that deflect the bright light of truth away from themselves, vilified Monica as if she were a killer of baby harp seals and baby polar bears.  Her humiliation only worsened when Bill, under oath before Starr’s feces-encrusted-in-the-corners-of-his-mouth’s interrogation, denied having any sexual relationship with her.

Intellectually, I know Monica knew this was just a diversion.  But in her endorphin-addled brain, spinning no doubt from the headiness of the situation (Would they get caught? Terrors!!), sheMonica Lewinsky (red carpet pretty!) would have done anything I’m sure. 

Bill, I must say, should have known better.  Not so much the cheating part: who cares?  I’m talking about using Monica as a plaything, knowing he literally had her eating out of the palm of his hand.  This is his only crime as far as I am concerned – he let his position dictate the terms of their relationship, and he let her be overpowered by it.  He could have, just once, been the bigger person.  [Although I did want to high-five him.  Seriously, I’d be proud to have called Monica Lewinsky my girlfriend.  I’d brush her hair out nice and fluffy, dress her up in a pretty spaghetti-strapped backless thing, and get her some subtly tasteful earrings, maybe a . . . ]

What?  Oh.  Yeah.  Sorry . . . just drifted off there . . .

Bill should have been the adult.  Yeah, I see it from his side, too.  Here’s this tasty young morsel, just cute as a button, with those big ol’ perky sweater puppets, gorgeous hazel eyes, and that bright smile.  I know I couldn’t resist.  She had no power in that relationship, and although it is certain he did not force her to do anything, the very nature of the dynamic between them (he the Prez, she an intern in a soon-to-be-stained dress) meant he should have walked away. Gently.

Had Monica not worked as an intern, I could’ve forgiven him. Had she been a waitress at Hooters, or Janet Reno, or somebody outside his sphere of influence and authority, I could’ve easily overlooked it. I’m not upset with him for his sexual behavior (rock on, dude).  I’m upset about his taking advantage in many ways of this confused and star-struck young woman. 

After the “Mess on the Dress”
The sheer dumbness of keeping a crumpled dress, with dried Presidential semen stains on it, was a classic moment in both stupidity and white trashery.  Monica Lewinsky is not white trash, yet why she succumbed to Linda Tripp’s white trashery is beyond me.  And she shoulda just washed the dress. 

Probably the only person in the world who could have understood and sympathized with Monica Lewinsky’s plight at that time would have been US Olympic figure-skater Tonya Harding.  In January 1994, Tonya’s husband conspired to have her greatest rival, Nancy Kerrigan, taken out of competition.  This was done by knee-capping her at a practice session in Detroit.  Tonya was not involved in the conspiracy to disable Kerrigan (who recovered nicely and went on to win a medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics).   But Tonya knew about what had happened after the fact, and she did not come forward in a timely manner.  Instead, she let it slide until investigators figured out the plot, then came after her for obstructing justice.

Nobody knows better than Tonya Harding what it is like to have your name become synonymous with “evil” overnight.  She was banned from working in skating, she was vilified in the press as an ogress (which she was not), and she was practically railroaded out of town.  It took her years of trying, getting slapped down again and again, to recover some semblance of a normal life in the wake of that disaster.  I’d bet Tonya was watching the news the day the Monica mess broke, thinking, “Well, they’ll forget about me for a while!”

Monica unintentionally followed in Tonya’s footsteps.  As with Tonya, she was suddenly anathema – no one wanted to work with her or be around her except to make fun of her or to capitalize on her notoriety.  [I thought for sure some savvy advertiser woulda snatched her up – wouldn’t Monica have been a great pitch-woman for ChapStick®?]  But, no, she was shunned.  Although not the social pariah that Tonya Harding was made into, Monica couldn’t get a break, either. 

Back in Business?
Monica was a celebrity almost instantly but, unlike the Paris Hiltons of the world, she quickly recognized the thing that got her attention was not something of real merit, not something you proudly post on a résumé.  The dubious nature of her cult status sunk in and by early 1999, she quit giving autographs, explaining, “I’m kind of known for something that’s not so great to be known for.”  [Now if Paris Hilton could only be a big, grown up girl like Monica, and have such an epiphany the world would be a better place.]

Monica Lewinsky (soft and dignified)

In March 1999, Monica’s interview with Barbara Walters set a viewership record for a news show.  She helped create a book from her perspective with author Andrew Morton, also published in March 1999.  Here’s where my love for Monica grows – she was savvy enough to get not only $500,000 for her participation in the book, but she also secured a totally cool $1 million dollars for the international rights to her interview with Babs.  Time magazine excerpted parts of her book as a cover story, also in March 1999.  Good sport that she is, Monica (as Sarah Palin would several years later) appeared on Saturday Night Live in a couple of sketches in which she was the punch line.  You go, girl!! 

During her time of tribulation, she took up knitting as a diversion.  She turned her little hobby into a business when she got serious about it – she designed a line of handbags in September Monica Lewinsky (slummin', still hot!)Credit: fanpix.net1999 under her new company name The Real Monica. The bags were sold on-line as well as in boutiques in New York, Los Angeles, and London.  They were made in Louisiana, presumably by toothless swampbillies (“As Seen on Tee-Vee!”), and Monica traveled there often to supervise their manufacture. 

Monica’s weight (like many women’s) fluctuates with her mental state (getting fatter the more miserable she becomes).  Although a regular-sized Monica Lewinsky is a totally hot über-babe, a super-sized one tends to start looking like Liz Taylor at her more gross Liz Taylor (lumpy, 1979)Credit: Guy DeLort/WWD, 1979extremes in the 1970s. So, in early 2000, Monica – who, chunky or not, is still pretty and always puts herself together well – inked a deal with weight-loss guru Jenny Craig and started shooting commercials for the fat reducer plan. Her deal called for her to lose 40 pounds in six months to endorse the program.  [Holy Cats! Truth in advertising! Can we stand it?] 

In return she would get $1 million. 

Monica had not wanted to be in the public eye, but she needed the money for legal fees, so she agreed to come out and play.  She also said she believed in the program. Jenny Craig was lambasted for their choice of spokesperson, but defended Monica by saying she reached a younger demographic (she did) and she represented the busy, active woman of today (she did).  They also said she represented a lot of women across America with weight struggles and weight issues (she did).

Monica Lewinsky objectively was ideal for Jenny Craig to use as a model.  However, other dopey franchise holders didn’t agree, and lobbied for the company to go back to using an older, less-controversial ad campaign.  [There should have been no controversy here at all, ever.  Remember?  Monica did not kill all the puppies and baby bunnies in the world, she just – you know . . . ]

The company quit running Monica’s commercials in February 2000, cut her contract short, and gave her $300K of the million she should have gotten.  They didn’t even give her a chance to prove her worth to them.  [Shades of Tonya Harding – what the hell is wrong with this country?]  Frankly, for want of anything better to do, she moved to New York City, and became a scenester.  That same month in 2000 she did a shot on The Tom Green Show (a Canadian “funny man” who was once married to Drew Barrymore).  Later the same year, she got a correspondent-at-large gig for British Television on a show called Monica’s Postcards.  She did person-on-the-street stuff and reported on US pop culture and lightweight things of that nature.  But it was a job.

The terms of the Clinton sex “scandal” involving Monica were agreed not to be discussed publicly by the principals until a certain time had passed.  In March 2002, no longer having to abide by that expired agreement, Monica showed up on HBO where she bravely answered questions from a studio audience about her relationship with Uncle Bill.  Monica then hosted a short-lived reality show on Fox in November 2003.  From there she appeared as a guest on British TV, in Sweden, and on a couple of talk shows in the US.

It’s Alive!
Bill Clinton produced an autobiography in 2004, imaginatively titled My Life [I guess he stayed up all night thinking that one up.] In it, according to Monica, he is less-than-truthful about the nature of their relationship and her part in it:

“He could have made it right with the book, but he hasn’t. He is a revisionist of history. He has lied.  [. . . ] I really didn't expect him to go into detail about our relationship. [ . . . ] But if he had and he’d done it honestly, I wouldn’t have minded. [ . . . ] I did, though, at least expect him to correct the false statements he made when he was trying to protect the Presidency.  Instead, he talked about it as though I had laid it all out there for the taking.  I was the buffet and he just couldn’t resist the dessert. [ . . . ] This was a mutual relationship, mutual on all levels, right from the way it started and all the way through. [ . . . ] I don’t accept that he had to completely desecrate my character.”

This book, of course, renewed interest in her for all the wrong reasons.  In 2005, she stopped selling her line of bags, uprooted, and moved to London.  She attended the London School of Economics,Monica Lewinsky (lookin' a bit like Liz Taylor) and got her master’s in Social Psychology in December 2006. In perhaps one of the most personally relevant master’s theses ever written, Monica explored her public trials and torments: “In Search of the Impartial Juror: An Exploration of the Third-person effect and Pre-Trial Publicity.” Knowing what it is to be tried in the court of public opinion, as a modern-day Jezebel, Monica knows: there is no such thing as an impartial juror.

She has done her best to stay out of the limelight, almost pathologically avoiding publicity.  She lives semi-reclusively, venturing out on occasion.  Monica Lewinsky sightings are becoming almost as elusive as Loch Ness Monster sightings. 

PBS scheduled a four-hour (two-part) documentary on the Clinton Administration, Clinton, as part of its ongoing American Experience series.  The show originally aired over two nights, February 20, 2012, and February 21, 2012.  The part detailing the affair started in the third hour.  

In early May 2014 she came out again to publicly discuss her relationship with Bill for an interview in Vanity Fair magazine.   It is unclear as yet how Monica Lewinsky will fare in the wake of this renewed rehashing of her short time in the Oval Office. 

No doubt there will be more jokes. 

Such a Nice Jewish Girl
Monica is mostly bi-coastal in the US these days.  She has her New York apartment, and a place in LA owned by her family she stays in occasionally. She is trying to start her own public relations firm.  [She should do business with former child star Johnny Whitaker’s company in Los Angeles – if anybody could understand what her life is like right now, it’s gotta be any former kid actor.]

Her self-esteem is reportedly very low.  It’s really sad in retrospect.  Monica, this beautiful woman doomed to be tittered about (and 17 years after the fact, still the punch-line of many jokes, newMonica Lewinsky (smiling pretty again!)[2011]Credit: Mark Richards, 2011 ones at that) can’t seem to settle.  Most tellingly the sexual “scandal” between her and Bill is almost always called “the Lewinsky Affair” or “the Lewinsky scandal” or some variant.  That terminology places blame for the whole thing apparently at her feet.  

However, this was not Monica’s scandal.  She was not the married party.  She was not the President of the United States.  She was just an impressionable intern taking advantage of her position.  Power is an aphrodisiac, and those with it should wield it wisely. 

Monica Lewinsky is still a hottie in my book.  [I really love her hair; I just wanna plunge both my hands into that thick mane.]  She’s still pretty, she still smiles brightly, and you know what?  I’d marry Monica Lewinsky in a heartbeat and be proud to call her my woman, even if she is a little fluffier than I might like these days. 

I do adore her.  Chutzpah in the face of adversity, beautifully soft hazel eyes, luxuriant tresses, smart, educated, and -- yeah -- sexy: that's why I am madly in love with Monica Lewinsky. 


look how pretty she is !!!

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