Monday, September 19, 2005

Give the girl a break!

The Hindustan Times is being touted as a sensible alternative in the current Mumbai newspaper market. However, this report published prominently at the bottom of page 1 today shows that sense - and sensitivity - is a commodity still in short supply.

'LSE freshers on Lewinsky alert' says the headline of a story from London filed by one Vijay Dutt.

Monica Lewinsky is joining the London School of Economics for a Master's in social psychology. And she is in all likelihood attending the freshers' foam party on September 27. The freshers are excited and, at the same time bracing themselves to deal with the prospect of living in the vicinity of the former White House intern - whose cigar sharing habits with Bill Clinton made headlines in 1998.

There's more crap to follow:
Ever since the news of Lewinsky joining LSE broke, many male students at the institute's compact campus are reportedly claiming to be 'married', 'handcuffed' or 'attached'.

The picture being painted - that of a nymphomaniac, man-eater. Why? Because at an impressionable 22 years of age she had a brief affair with the most powerful man in the world. A man with the solid reputation of having a roving eye, one who has been accused of sexual harassment by more than one woman.

But do you see headlines like 'Clinton visiting Oxford - undergraduate girls beware?'. No sir. Whereas poor Monica Lewinsky, 10 years after her little liaison, is unable to live down the pervy image.

In the interim she suffered by losing her privacy - and self esteem. She put on over 75 pounds ( although that helped her in a way - she became a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, the weight loss company).

Then she tried selling her own line of purses and accessories ( and yeah, she also released a biography called 'Monica's Story'. But it didn't exactly set the bookshops on fire - who wanted to hear her story? The cigar and the 'blue dress' are what sum up Monica to most people. How many really want to give her a chance to move on in life?

Who's looking at you, kid?
A student of Indian-origin told HT he was hoping she would concentrate on his white male contemporaries. "Anyway I am only 23," he said. "Most students here are much younger to her. She should be looking for suitors outside the campus." Maybe at the diplomats at the Australian High Commission, opposite the LSE, he added helpfully.

Really! The most hilarious bit is our desi dhakkans reeling under the misconception that Monica would be looking forward to dating them. I mean, who's interested anyways? Not even women their own age.

Just because Monica gave Bill Clinton a blow job, doesn't mean she'll do it for the guy who sits next to her in class. But will that guy understand that and treat her with the respect that any fellow-student deserves? To judge her based on her class participation and not what she said or did 10 years ago in the White House? I very much doubt it.

And yes, she was given a tin of English spotted dick pudding as a farewell gift by friends (thankfully, HT clarifies that spotted dick pudding is made from boiled hard fatty tissues around kidneys of sheep mixed with dry fruits). Well, it's the kind of thing friends do - no deeper meaning needs to be attached to it.

"Maybe I'll meet my husband there (in London) and have kids, " she says. But any 32 year old single woman could have made a statement like that.

Net: net - Monica joining LSE is news but I think it needed to be reported simply and with minimum innuendo. Like this.

And I sincerely hope desi LSE students realise, humming "Monica - oh my darling" when she passes by is really not cool. Letting her just be, is.


  1. Well said Rashmi. The current media coverage is at times appalling.The media is not here to conclude or form impressions, they are here to present facts. Sadly not many believe in it.

    Have a look the breaking news each channel has these days! Is earning TRPs the only aim now and we will have it by any means?

  2. Hi Rashmi.

    Your post nowdays reak of mundane stuff. Could this be due to:

    1. Your current association with TOI / Mumbai Mirror.

    2. Watching the daily dose of 'K' Serials made by Jumping Jack's daughter.

    3. The IPO of 'JAM' is being considered hence pandering to innane stuff to increase the page hits.

    Long gone is your cutting edge analysis, intelligent reads and opinionated stuff. Perhaps there is another Shoba De in the making.

  3. The text in BOLD was totally uncalled for. That sounds more like a rant of a frustrated woman. Quite disappointing coming from a decent person like you.

  4. The comments of above bloggers are true upto some extent,sorry but yes!dishing out on monica doesnt mean totally that you are in shape of shobha de! But i personally like when you write on relationships! There is a confusion about writers ppl think and jude them by their work..very uncanny..those who are in this field generally love to dish out anything they like! Somes times it come up as an honour sometimes...instead giving comments on your blog i m giving on u! sorry, but i really love your writing especially on relatioship!Do write on new format of IIT-JEE! I found you like to write out on engg engg grads!THere is no comparison between you and shobha de you are far ahead.

  5. good analysis,

    For any newspaper whose readership seems to be skewed in the favour of hormonally over-endowed young men, Monica Lewinsky would always be a good subject ....always good for a little bit of wink!wink! nudge! nudge! humor...

    Sadly, they'll only lose viewership.

    I was brought up on the TOI in the days of Sham Lal, before the Jain brothers subverted and messed it 2 years ago I shifted to The Hindu...which is along with the Express India's last good newspaper!

  6. Not read a more forceful yet casual article in a while...

    Good show.

  7. who cares? It's none of our business to be in business talking about someone's private life

  8. yeah nicely written...but was "Really! The most hilarious bit is our desi dhakkans ..... I mean, who's interested anyways? Not even women their own age. really necessary?" Much as I admire ur writing, this seemes totally out of place and in poor taste. I mean do our "desi" guys need to be put down so badly, taht too by a fellow Indian?

  9. Personally i liked the stuff on this article. The theme seem to be "letting her just be", and the article makes perfect sense. Its my first time here, so i don't know how rashmi writes, so maybe i like it. And the bold Text was a fiting remark for the guy ACTUALLY thought monica would want his Cigar, desi or otherwise. :-)

    Only funny thing I found on the Article was about the sharing of Cigar, i didn't know bill went down on himself.

  10. LOL! tony ... I don't think HT was referring to Bill going down on himself.

    A careful study of the Ken Starr report reveals (ok ok, I admit I studied it carefully) that indeed there was a REAL cigar involved which Bill puffed on after inserting it somewhere where Monica usually wouldn't!

    Rashmi, sorry for the obscenity but hey .. you picked the topic :-) Btw whats this about a JAM IPO? Better be quick coz this bull run is entering the home stretch!!!

  11. Well said..

    Indian journalism sure is going down the drain.

    I guess all of them are tip-toeing around that thin line between being a newspaper and tabloid.

    One of the comment mentions you being associated with TOI & Mumbai Mirror. Well M.M has printed the same comic strips for 2 consecutive days and i guess the su-doku too is the same.

    And i gotta mention this Bombay Times = Certified Toilet Read


  12. As Mark Twain migh have said, "
    The news of a JAM IPO has been greatly over exaggerated..."

    Same goes for my being a successor to Shobha De :)

    Btw, I just write for TOI once in a way - dunno if that qualifies as 'association'! I have critiqued them/ will continue to do so if and when the need arises.

  13. Bountiful hyperboles ! A threat to humanity's perception of a simple life :(

  14. Successor to Shoba De? You're way better than that!

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