Humiliating Monica Lewinsky

Fox’s 2004 reality show, <i>The Swan</i>.

Fox’s 2004 reality show, The Swan.

Former president Bill Clinton ought to get an Oscar for Best Rehabilitated Character.

Never mind 1998's impeachment vote for perjury and obstruction of justice, he's spent the past decade or more rescuing damsels in distress in North Korea, calling for equality, headlining the Democratic National Convention and magnanimously supporting his wife's career from the wings.

And then there's "‘that woman". Not to put too fine a point on it, 2013's Father of The Year left a stain on more than just Monica Lewinsky's dress.

Bill Clinton hugs Monica Lewinsky at the Democratic Fundraiser in Washington, DC, October 23, 1996. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/Liaison Agency)

Bill Clinton hugs Monica Lewinsky at the Democratic Fundraiser in Washington, DC, October 23, 1996. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/Liaison Agency) Photo: Dirck Halstead

I really don't care who Slick Willy has had sex with — or non-sex, or whatever we decided the  meaning of "is" is. Those are private matters between the people involved — and no, that doesn't include Linda Tripp and Ken Starr.

Advertisement

What's more damning is how this perennial Comeback Kid, as Clinton was known in the presidential nomination process, has risen from the ashes of Monica Lewinsky's trashed reputation and stunted life.

Somebody had to pay. And just like  Christine KeelerJunie Morosi, and Cheryl Kernot, Monica took the fall for a man's undoing, thereby excusing Bill of all responsibility for keeping his dick in his pants. Like a naughty schoolboy, it wasn't his fault, she made him do it.

Monica Lewinsky.

Monica Lewinsky.

While Bill's been riding high, Lewinsky's fall from grace was so hard that she's never recovered. She has barely worked since the Clinton administration. Other than a brief foray into the handbag business and earning a masters of science in social psychology at the London School of Economics, she has remained virtually unemployable for anything other than a punch line.

She was even dumped as a Jenny Craig spokesperson after only three months, following criticism that she wasn't a good role model.

The life-long punishment for her affair is staggeringly unjust, especially when you consider that she was only 22 years old at the time. Who hasn't done something dumb at 22?

Lewinsky was out-classed and out-manipulated from beginning to end. Conservatives treated her as nothing more than a weapon to derail the Clinton presidency. And many US liberals lined up to make excuses for Clinton. Author Toni Morrison christened him the "first black President", claiming "he was being treated like a black on the street, already guilty, already a perp".

All of which might work, except for the fact that he ain't black. And he doesn't even embody the tropes of blackness as Morrison was suggesting. There's also the small matter of power. I'm pretty sure that in the White House org chart, commander in chief outranks intern.

Clinton was also the one who was married, and therefore had the responsibility to be faithful. But even Lewinsky's "friends" hung her out to dry, with Linda Tripp secretly recording their conversations and leaking the tapes to the press. And how we all salivated over the salacious – and private – details.

Now, 15 years later, comes news that Lewinsky is about to be manipulated and humiliated all over again for our entertainment. The  The New York Post reports that Lewinsky is rumoured to be participating in Fox's new reality show, Celebrity Swan — the celebrity version of the 2004 series The Swan that wins the prize for being the most sadistic reality series of the decade.

Drawing from the already awful fairytale The Ugly Duckling – about a chick who is a total loser until she obtains physical beauty by transforming into a swan – the producers at Fox thought it would be a good idea to cut up "ugly" celebrity women on TV and then have them compete in a beauty pageant.

What could go wrong for Lewinsky?

Plenty. Former Swan contestant Lorrie Arias, whose make-over included a face lift, nose job, brow lift, upper lip lift with fat transfer, upper/lower eye lift, full body lift, breast implants, tummy tuck and liposuction on her knees, blames the show for ruining her life.

"I had the most surgeries of any Swan in the history of the show and it has all gone to absolute shit," Arias said. "I am a 300-pound mess of a person who is afraid to go outside."

While Fox hasn't officially confirmed Lewinsky's involvement, her participation is sadly entirely consistent with her life narrative and how the world treats fallen women: as a laughing stock who should be grateful for being given a shot at redemption by becoming less ugly.

Call me cynical, but somehow I don't think Monica is going to have a fairytale ending.

Kasey Edwards is the best-selling author of 30-Something and Over It, 30-Something and The Clock is Ticking, OMG! That's Not My Husband, and OMG! That's Not My Child.

www.kaseyedwards.com

128 comments

  • She should have just laid low after the blow up, changed her name & look & then lived a normal life leaving Monica Lewinsky behind.
    This has car wreck written all over it!

    Commenter
    Steve
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    February 27, 2013, 7:23AM
    • Did you read the article?

      Bill Clinton didn't change his name, lie low or alter his look and he has not suferred one iota.

      What did she do wrong, other than get involved with a married man (she was not married herself), and she was not impeached.

      Commenter
      Richo
      Location
      Melbourne North
      Date and time
      February 27, 2013, 10:49AM
    • http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/features/4481/

      Commenter
      amuchbetteralbeitolderarticle
      Date and time
      February 27, 2013, 11:50AM
    • Richo,

      Clinton wasn't impeached either.

      What's your point?

      Commenter
      Dave
      Date and time
      February 27, 2013, 12:01PM
    • @Richo, "What did she do wrong"? She performed fellatio on the married President of the United States! I'm not defending him, but are you saying that's not wrong on her end either? Is that really just a mistake any 22 year old could make? Hands up how many women here did that to their boss at age 22? Anyone? Anyone? Didn't think so.

      Commenter
      Jay
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      February 27, 2013, 1:41PM
  • I feel sorry for Monica. She was set up by Linda Trapp, she never intended to "kiss and tell" let alone try to impeach a president. She needs to be forgiven by the public and move on- no more books about the saga. Bill was sleeping with a lot of women!

    Commenter
    Clairely
    Date and time
    February 27, 2013, 8:29AM
    • And she kept the stained dress because?

      Commenter
      Alex
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      February 27, 2013, 10:33AM
    • Exactly she was an unwitting tool of a rightwing element that would pursue Clinton at any cost. Monica was pawn, sacrifice and cannon fodder all in one. The whole issue was given more profile and press than it deserved. Hell, when adultery and sexual indiscretion rates as high on the media calendar as a beat up on Weapons of Mass Destruction, and illegal invasion into Iraq, Contravention of the Geneva Convention with Torture and Water Boarding it's time to seriously question the role of America's Fourth Estate. Clinton shares some of the blame, true and so does Monica...but the true onus lies on the likes of Linda Trapp and a gutter press?

      Commenter
      Alph Williams
      Location
      Red Rock
      Date and time
      February 27, 2013, 10:33AM
    • Er, it was actually Linda Tripp, although she did lay one hell of a 'Trapp.' ;-)

      Commenter
      lm
      Location
      Sydney CBD
      Date and time
      February 27, 2013, 10:40AM
    • 'Bill was sleeping with a lot of women!' ...and you know this, how?

      Commenter
      gb5
      Location
      prahran
      Date and time
      February 27, 2013, 11:00AM

More comments

Comments are now closed