• author
    • Debra DeAngelo

    • May 8, 2014 in Columnists

    Lewinsky made a splash on history

    (Just for fun… here’s what I wrote about Monica Lewinsky in August 1998. Am I as amused by her recent reappearance in the news? Stay tuned…)  

    Never before, in the entire history of our beloved country, have things been going so well. Decades from now, students will read about the late 1990s as a time when American life reached the peak of prosperity.

    How do I know this? Simple. The most important news item these days is Monica Lewinsky’s dress. Not crime, not poverty, not the national debt. The only thing we care about is Monica Lewinsky and her laundry habits. Or lack thereof.

    Will the fascination with this woman never end? And now it isn’t just her, it’s her clothing too. Monica’s dirty little frock is in the same league as Michael Jackson’s silver glove and Elvis Presley’s white jumpsuit. If Monica was a shrewd businesswoman, she’d take that dress on tour and charge people $20 just to look at it.

    That little tour could spark a fashion trend that’s just waiting to explode. Look just like Monica… splash a little something on your skirt and accessorize with a goofy little black beanie and some kneepads (well-worn, preferably).

    Don’t be left at the gate when this latest fashion fad hits the track. The Splash Look. Available at all quality clothing outlets in which you can purchase clothing while pushing a shopping cart.

    The heck with the Winters Express. I should be writing cutting-edge fashion commentary for Glamour and Vogue.

    Remember, you read it here first.

    Okay, I know. It isn’t really the dress we care about. It’s what’s on it. I keep waiting for someone in the news media to just come out and say the word. But everyone tiptoes around it. The closest anyone will come to actually saying the word for the Fluid-We-Won’t-Mention is to refer to it as the “President’s DNA.” Well then, if that’s the only safe place to focus our attention, let’s discuss DNA.

    First off, did we learn nothing from the O.J. Simpson trial? If droplets of a victim’s blood inside the suspect’s car cannot link the suspect to the victim, are droplets of any other bodily fluid any different? Couldn’t any bodily fluid be placed on just about anything? Couldn’t they all be ruled out as circumstantial? Besides, DNA evidence is easily picked apart in court. Just ask Johnnie Cochran.

    And even if the Fluid-We-Won’t-Mention is undeniably proven to be the President’s, it has no legal value. An extramarital affair is not an impeachable offense. So why the rabid fascination with the whole issue?

    The only legitimate issue at hand is whether or not Clinton tried to persuade Lewinsky to lie. And even that boils down to “he said, she said,” which won’t stand up in court. So why is Kenneth Starr wasting our time and money on a dead-end issue? Now THERE is a legitimate question.

    Beyond that question, I have one of my own that I really want answered: Why didn’t Monica wash that dress? I mean, assuming it really was splashed with the Fluid-We-Won’t-Mention, why on earth would she keep it in that condition? For a White House souvenir? Personally, I would have opted for a Ted Kennedy shot glass or a nice little Al Gore action figure (it has no moveable parts).

    If you think all the uproar over Monica’s dress is causing our national obsession with the disgusting to spiral ever downward, just wait until Monica’s panties turn up. Paraded across every front page and featured on every lead story on every evening news program in the country.

    “Don’t go there,” you say? “Over the top,” you say? Mark my words — you’ll turn on The Today Show one terrible and frightening morning to find Tim Russert and Cokie Roberts engaged in heated debate about the significance of Monica’s soiled skivvies, as Katie Couric looks on with appropriately furrowed brow.

    Like I said before — you read it here first.



    (And here is what I wrote a month later, in September 1998)

    I never would have learned this without Monica’s help

    I don’t know about you, but I, for one, am eternally grateful to Monica Lewinsky. The stories of her encounters with our beleaguered President have motivated me to do that one task I’d always avoided.

    I know, lots of women do it, and some even claim to enjoy it. Me, I avoided it at every turn. It always seemed so boring, with no intrinsic value whatsoever. And the entire activity is geared completely for men. I mean, you rarely hear women raving about it.

    Okay, a few brag about their expertise and skill, but I wasn’t one of them. Until now. Thanks to Monica. If not for her, I would have dodged this activity for the rest of my life. But I’ve finally facing the ugly monster. I’m learning about the stock market.

    Had it not been for the complete (God, how I wanted to say “blow-by-blow”) account of the Clinton/Lewinsky affair in the Starr Report, splashed across every news program, I wouldn’t have been forced to find something else to watch.

    Oh sure, I tried to read the Starr Report, mainly out of a sense of journalistic obligation. I looked it up on the Internet and, God help me, I tried to read it. After having a good chuckle over what would not even make a bad Harlequin romance (redundancy mine), I decided that this was way more information than I ever needed to know about Bill Clinton’s sexual preferences.

    In fact, I’ll never be able to look at a cigar or a tin of Altoids again without feeling slightly queasy.

    We could end this obsession with Clinton’s sex life by focusing on the real issue, which is “Did he or did he not commit perjury?” Put the man on trial, convict or acquit, and dole out the appropriate penalty, if necessary.

    Impeachment isn’t a penalty for perjury. Fines or jail time are. On the other hand, Mark Fuhrman committed perjury in a murder trial and got off with a slap on the hands and probation. Apparently there’s some latitude in the punishment. Remember that old “Innocent until proven guilty saying?” Until there is a conviction, could we just drop the whole sad, tired issue?

    Well, maybe we could, but the television media can’t.

    Even CNN, usually relatively hysteria-free, can’t seem to make it through a news report these days without breathless announcements of the latest public opinion poll. And the polls never change much. The message most Americans have for the President is “Zip your pants and get back to work.”

    My sentiments exactly.

    Unfortunately, the producers of every television news program are determined to fan the flames of the Starr Report for all they’re worth. So where is a news junkie supposed to turn in the morning while waiting for the first jolt of caffeine to kick in? CNBC, that’s where.

    In the morning, CNBC is all stock market, all the time. No Bill, no Monica, no Kenneth Starr (or, as my boss calls him, the Chief Persecutor). Just little ticker tapes running across the bottom of the screen, lengthy discussions on the merits of a diversified portfolio and on-the-scene updates from frenzied Wall Street reporters being jostled about by wild-eyed brokers scurrying to nearby phones.

    A year ago, I would rather have spent the morning chewing glass than watching stock market reports. But compared to yet another clip of Monica Lewinsky mooning at the President as she gives him an awkward hug, it’s downright fascinating.

    Take this Alan Greenspan character, for example. Apparently he is the most powerful entity in the universe, second only to God himself. One furl of Greenspan’s brow and the stock market bursts into chaos.

    This week, the corner of Greenspan’s mouth curled up, as he hinted about a likely cut in interest rates. Not only did the U.S. market come thundering back in response, but so did markets in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South America and Europe.

    I don’t know why the man is so omnipotent, but it doesn’t really matter. Just keep him happy. Gather up natives to lay baskets of nature’s bounty at his feet, slaughter a fatted calf…do whatever it takes. Just don’t let the man so much as twitch an eyebrow, and we’ll all be better off.

    Besides learning about the big things, there are little things to learn as well, like the difference between growth and equity-income funds, and why only cowards invest in bonds. And I’ve garnered some very wise investment tips, such as “Invest in the things you buy.”

    Wise advice. I started following Dell computer stocks a few months back because I purchased one of their computers after months of research. Sure enough, Dell stocks are some of the hottest around. By God, I think I have a gift for this. It’s just like picking horses at the track, on a much grander scale.

    So, with this newfound knowledge and an instinct for picking hot stocks, I ask myself, in what is the American public most interested right now and, therefore, likely to be buying? Easy: cigars and Altoids. Get my broker on the phone.

    Thanks, Monica. You’re going to make me a wealthy woman.

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