Monica Lewinsky was a first in more ways than one

After all these years of silence, Monica Lewinsky has resurfaced again.  It’s like she’s learned nothing from her past ordeal.

A Government employee photo ID of Monica Lewinsky

A Government employee photo ID of Monica Lewinsky

Now, I don’t want to browbeat her or be hating on her, as the vernacular goes, but I’m having a hard time buying this whole altruistic thing of baring your soul to tell your tale in the hopes of providing solace to anyone out there that’s also been wrung through the media wringer.

Maybe it’s me but I have to think that her episode started because she couldn’t keep her confidences to herself.  Furthermore since she was the one who readily, so far as we know, entered into an illicit relationship with, again as the vernacular goes, the most powerful man in the free world, what did she really expect to happen back then once her affair became public?  Did she expect to be embraced and loved for her indiscretion?

I think she misjudged the number of married women both in America and around the globe who seriously frown on that sort of thing and the women who do it.

Be that as it may, I’ll always consider Monica to be the first “other woman” of modern times to spill the beans about illicit goings-on between herself and a married partner.  Truthfully though, she wasn’t the “first”.  There were other women involved with powerful men, who kissed-and-told for one reason or another: usually the trinity of lust, money and/or power.

Warren Harding, the 29th President, had an affair with the wife of an Ohio department store owner, Carrie Fulton Phillips.  When Harding was nominated by the Republican Party to run for the Presidency, Phillips threatened to go public.  She was paid an initial sum of $50,000 for her silence and she and her family were set up in Japan where she continued to receive monthly payments from the Grand Old Party.

But after Monica’s bombshell disclosure to fellow Pentagon co-worker Linda Tripp, it seemed the floodgates opened and women (and men) involved in illicit affairs seemed more than happy to publicly come forward with details about their relationships.

In 2004, then New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey outed himself after a staffer and boyfriend, Golan Cipelo threatened to go public with their relationship and charge him with sexual harassment.  McGreevey later resigned from office.

In 2008, Ashley Dupre cashed in on her affair with then Governor of New York, Elliot Spitzer.  Spitzer resigned from office while Dupre went on to write a column for the New York Post, pose nude for Playboy and appear numerous times on the Howard Stern show.

And in 2009, more than a dozen women came forward to relate their affairs with pro-golfer Tiger Woods after his tryst with Rachel Uchitel surfaced.

Men and women have always engaged in affairs as far back as ancient times but back then and throughout history, things appeared to be kept closer to the board, the consequences of talking out of turn being either exile, social ruin, bondage or death.

Today’s participants, already in a dangerous liaison, do so at the risk of having one half of the equation being ready, willing and able to step up and tell a story, sometimes only for the sake of the notoriety the juicy saga brings them.

I can’t help but think that we can thank Monica for that change in the social dynamic.  So in that regard, you could argue that she has empowered people to some degree.  Still, you think she wishes she’d never spoken to that Tripp woman?

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Filed under Life and Society, Love and Sex, Opinion, Politics and Government

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