An Essay about Our Times by Alan L. Chrisman, 2014
Monika Lewinsky says in the June issue of Vanity Fair that she is still being vilified over the Clinton affair. And it’s created quite a reaction. How dare she drudge up this scandal again! Media panelists’ have complained that she just move on with her life. But she maintains she has tried, but has been unable to find jobs (despite going to the London School of Economics). One female pundit said she could have volunteered to aid in Africa (like Bill Clinton and Bill Gates’ foundation) or changed her name, etc. Male P.R. consultants said she should have just re-created a new public “narrative” as ex-President Clinton has done. America just loves a comeback story.
I always thought it strange that it was, ironically, the female feminists who most criticized her but forgave Bill Clinton, the womanizer. Of course they were mainly Democrats and consider themselves and him progressive, so it could be excused. And there is a whole history of ‘progressives’ like the Kennedy’s being womanizers and it being dismissed. Of course, they can’t wait for Hillary to run for President in 2016. I recommend you read Roger Morris’s “Partners in Power”: The Clintons and their America, to get another view. CNN host, Don Lemmon, said Lewinsky should have been more mature, as he was when her age he hinted, than to have an affair with a married man. Lewinsky was an intern at the White House but only in her early 20’s when she became involved with the most powerful “boss” on earth. But we have long had a double standard for males and male politicians. At the worse, they became jokes like Anthony Weiner and Elliot Spitzer or right-wing fundamentalists, caught with their pants down. But as Lewinsky argues, we continue to blame the women. I was surprised myself, when my own mother had said at the time of the Clinton scandal, that it was Lewinsky’s fault.
We live, and have for a while now, in a time of political correctness. People outside the U.S .(as in Canada, where I now live) often have this view of America as a very religious, conservative place. Canadians see themselves as more liberal and nice and less violent (despite their love of hockey fights). But almost all the U.S. media is owned by big and ‘liberal’ corporations on the East and West coasts. And of course, Hollywood wants to have a social conscious with its overpaid actors and executives.
The recent Donald Sterling incident, the L.A. Clippers owner, when he was
caught making racist remarks, is also revealing. He has evidently had these views for years and the NBA knew it and allowed it all this time. It’s interesting: he actually grew up in one of the poorest and mixed-race neighborhoods in L.A., as did his supposed girlfriend (she went to the same high school 50 years later), V. Stiviano or “Visor” woman as she has become known in the media. And they both had created a new “narrative” in the American way: he changed his Jewish name to Sterling and she her’s too and has had plastic surgery, to hide her ethnic background.
So I think he’s genuinely surprised with all the controversy. Afterall, he made the mistake of just saying out loud what he’s probably thought all along and those around him have dismissed ( even Stiviano says he’s not a racist). Again, he’s just lived the American Dream and become a capitalist and escaped from the ghetto, like the rappers, and couldn’t understand why his girlfriend would want to dredge up the past by hanging around with a black athlete (even though the majority of NBA players are). He’s just an old man who has racist views, but like a lot of us, nobody wants to admit we’re not as unprejudiced in all kinds of things, as we think we are.
As I said in my own book, “It’s A Long Way Home”, (see 'memoir/book' heading), after living both in the U.S. and Canada, I believe politics is really about both liberals and conservatives each thinking that the other has less morals than they do. Liberals think conservatives are not “open” enough and conservatives think liberals are too “open”. But to me, there seems a lot of hypocrisy on both sides and in both the Clinton affair and the Sterling incident.
And the media is also guilty of its own.