Jewish World Review March 8, 1999 /20 Adar 5759
Monica's story: No morals
"IT WAS A SMALL, SUBTLE, FLIRTATIOUS GESTURE." That is how Monica Lewinsky
characterized her now-infamous opening gambit to serve as Bill Clinton's
temporary concubine (recall that she told Kenneth Starr's investigators that
she thought his regular girlfriend was on furlough). Showing your underwear
to the president of the United States, someone you met for the first time
only hours before, is by the lights of this product of Beverly Hills
"subtle." Whatever can forward look like?
Still, you've got to give her credit for at least knowing her man. The
fellow who told an MTV audience about his own underwear preferences
recognized immediately someone who spoke his language. The Monica interview
with Barbara Walters is an important piece of cultural history. It stands as
a monument to what liberalism and secularism have wrought.
Asked if she ever, during the 18-month duration of their affair, considered
that what she was doing was wrong, Monica said no. She was thinking only of
herself. She was infatuated. She was excited. She was having fun.
Sex educators of the world, take a bow. Monica and millions like her have
absorbed your message. Sex is shorn of moral dimensions or considerations.
It is the greatest achievement to be "comfortable with (one's) sensuality."
Thus, Monica can praise her first married boyfriend for making her feel
beautiful and again "sensual," without even a hint of shame. And she can
discourse clinically about Bill Clinton's "conflicts" on the subject. She
suspects that a "religious upbringing" might have made him feel that his
"sensuality" was "not OK."
That is rich. Here is a married man, president of the United States, sexual
omnivore of worldwide renown, carrying on with a woman less than half his
age while the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit, and Monica's analysis
of his discomfort is laid at the feet of a strict religious upbringing!
For all her psychotherapy, Monica hasn't yet come close to what really ails
her. Her lack of self-esteem is unfortunate. But her lack of a moral compass
is the shame.
One almost can't blame her. Her parents sound as immature and morally
adrift as she (Marcia Lewis was quoted in January 1998 as asking: "So he
lied, and she lied, what's the big deal?"), and it's a virtual certainty
that Monica was devoid of religious education.
Held aloft by antidepressants, she hopes for true love (or in her '80s
talk: "a meaningful relationship"), marriage and children. It doesn't seem
to have crossed her mind that stable marriages and happy families are
difficult to sustain in a world of 20ish Monicas flashing their sexual
availability to married men and never even having the decency to feel
contrite. The affair, she asserted starchily at one point, "was between us."
Still later in the Walters interview, Monica demonstrated that she has
learned little from her ordeal. Asked if she would do anything differently,
she said she sometimes wishes merely that she hadn't confided in Linda
This is not to suggest that she was the more guilty party in that squalid
affair. He is the lout, the master manipulator (didn't you love his tearful
reassurance that their relationship was not just about sex?) and the cruel
traducer. She is at least loyal. After being trapped by Linda Tripp and
interrogated by Ken Starr's staff, she was frantic to warn the president.
Within a few days, he was trashing her with lies and slanders.
The sex educators might want to think twice before congratulating
themselves too heartily on the creation of Monicas though. Because the true
nature of sex will out, even to those trained not to perceive it. Monica
took pride in her "sensuality" and did not feel used even as she serviced
him while he chatted on the phone. But later, when he finally admitted the
relationship to the world and called it "wrong," she said she felt "dirty"
and "like a piece of trash." How could his use of the tepid word "wrong"
elicit such a sudden sense of being sullied? Where did the pride in her
Can it be that despite all the chirpy talk of sex educators, sex is
actually freighted with meaning, easily abused and sometimes heavy with
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©1999, Creators Syndicate