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 (www.therealmonica.com) 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.