I can’t help but wonder why Monica Lewinsky is writing about a mistake she says she wants to move beyond.
The famous former White House intern has penned an essay in the June issue of Vanity Fair slated to be released online today about the affair with President Bill Clinton that we will forever remember. It was an ugly mess for all involved.
Now, with Lewinsky’s thoughts on life after the affair, publications are digging up the past. The Washington Post has a video timeline of comments about the saga from Hillary and Bill Clinton, and a refusal by their daughter ,Chelsea, to discuss it at all.
“And then there is Lewinsky, who alone among the protagonists in the national soap opera saw her life irreparably shattered,” wrote Washington Post Opinion writer Ruth Marcus. “Bill and Hillary made millions on the speaking circuit.”
Lewinsky, now 40, hasn’t made out so well financially, although not without trying.
“She tried co-authoring a book in 1999 with Andrew Morton. She designed a line of hideous purses. She had a reality show,” The Post’s Soraya Nadia McDonald wrote.
Interestingly, Lewinsky said she “turned down offers that would have earned me more than $10 million, because they didn’t feel like the right thing to do.”
“Monica is in danger of exploiting her own exploitation as she dishes about a couple whose erotic lives are of waning interest to the country,” wrote New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd.
As The Post’s Marcus pointed out: “Despite a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics, Lewinsky has never really held a steady job.”
In hyping the essay, Vanity Fair says that after moving between four cities, Lewinsky interviewed for jobs in “communications and branding with an emphasis on charity campaigns.” The jobs would have required her to be at events covered by the media.
Lewinsky wrote, “Because of what potential employers so tactfully referred to as my ‘history,’ I was never ‘quite right’ for the position.”
So how is rehashing the story you want to disassociate your name with going to help the job-hunting now? Lewinsky needs a career coach, not a spread in Vanity Fair where she’s lying across a couch.
“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” Lewinsky said.
Or maybe she decided, in financial desperation, to finally profit from an affair she doesn’t seem to want us to forget.
Color of Money Question of the Week
What’s your take on Monica Lewinsky complaining that she can’t find work?
Send your comments to email@example.com. Please include your name, city and state.
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Mother’s Day Presents
This week I wrote about how I’ve changed my perspective on the presents my children want to buy me, particularly my son. As I wrote, my 16-year-old son hounds me for ideas on what he can purchase for me for Mother’s Day.
“Your love is all I need,” I said to him recently. “That and promising to take care of me in my old age.”
Still, he pressed on, trying to figure out what I wanted.
Frustrated, I said he could just pick out a nice Mother’s Day card and save his money. He looked hurt and walked toward the card section with his head down, looking more 6 than 16.
“The expression I saw on my son’s face that day in the store has changed my perspective,” I wrote in my column on Wednesday. “Sometimes a thought isn’t good enough for people whose love language is the giving of gifts. I’m going to be much more cooperative when my children try to figure out what I may want or need. Even if receiving a present isn’t important to me, the joy I see in their faces when they give me a gift is a gift to remember.”
I wanted to share my growth in learning to receive gifts of love. I’m not a good gift giver or receiver because I object to pressure to buy something with a price tag to show our love. My son has made me realize that sometimes a thought isn’t good enough for people who want to show their love in a material way that isn’t materialistic.
That column prompted a number of readers to respond, which I really want to share with you.
“Your column really hit home because this year is different,” wrote Becky Ericson of Fairfax, Va. “My youngest son, a senior about to graduate from University of Mary Washington, died after an epileptic seizure in his campus apartment on Good Friday. How I wish now that he would call and ask what I wanted for Mother’s Day. I would tell him, ‘Only you, sweetie, only you.’ But after reading what you wrote, I would also say, ‘But if you want to buy something I would love a Mary Washington mug, or maybe a license plate holder, or I have had my eye on a poetry book that I saw in your bookstore.’ The beautiful pottery vase he found for me for Christmas sits on the bay window, a physical reminder of the fact that he loved me, that he wanted to please me, that he knew me so well.”
Ericson continued: “Of course we want nothing more that the sweetness of those hugs from our children, their physical presence, their conversation, their faces as we play games together, sing in church, or share a meal. But sometimes, as you said so well, it is a gift to enable them to give. I am so glad my son had such a generous heart, and if I could go back in time I would do just as you suggest and give him more openings to give as he desired to do. My mother lives in Washington State, and I have no idea what she might want, but there is a book on the way, one I want to read, and one I imagine her reading with pleasure. Tangible gifts are the visible flowering of love. I have decided, thanks to you, to embrace them.”
“Loved your column,” wrote Richard Thrift of Herndon, Va. “A great service for husbands and sons everywhere. A nice, little hint gives us direction and takes off the pressure. Last Christmas, I let it be known that I like reasonably priced after-shaves and colognes such as English Leather because they remind me of my college days. I believe I now have a 10-year supply!”
Of course there are equally great ways to celebrate without presents. Jim Kellett from Harrisonburg, Va., said his family has found a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
“We started a ‘new tradition’ for Mother’s Day almost two decades ago that everyone loves, and beats the heck out of flowers-and-candy for mom!” he wrote. “It’s become ‘the’ family-and-close-friends holiday for us. It’s a special meal with special rules.”
Here are the rules, Kellett wrote:
1. Mothers are not allowed in the kitchen before, during or after.
2. Mothers get a nice steamed lobster and a filet mignon; everyone else gets their choice (which I provide).
3. Sons, nephews, non-maternal siblings or daughters or nieces, etc. provide appetizers, snacks, desserts, salad, vegetables, a starch, drinks and do all the cooking, serving and cleaning up.
4. All washed down with soda, tea, wine or the specialty drink of the day — genuine mint juleps (full disclosure: you have to have a designated driver to get a julep!)
“We started this when my in-laws were still alive and with just a few family and friends (we didn’t have a herd of grandkids back then!) totaling maybe 8 to 10 people,” Kellett wrote. “Now all our kids have kids, and we include some special friends, as well, so the group has grown — this coming Sunday, we’ll have 25 people! And people gather from Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and, on occasion, Texas for this event. Now THAT’S a gift!”
The Price You Pay for Bigotry
Last week, I asked you what you thought about Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s punishment for racist comments he made about black folks.
NBA officials said Sterling admitted that the voice on an infamous recording first released by TMZ was his. Sterling is heard telling a friend, identified as V. Stiviano, that she should not associate with black people or bring them to Clippers games.
The NBA has banned Sterling for life from any association with the league or the Clippers and fined him $2.5 million. And NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said he is going to try to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
So I asked in last week’s Color of Money Question: Will Sterling really pay the price for his racist comments?
Here’s what you had to say:
“I think owners of business can say anything they want,” wrote Susan Wagner of New Kingston, N.Y. “I don’t understand forcing a person to sell a business because they say something I don’t like. And I certainly don’t like forcing a person into bankruptcy or stripping them of their income because they have a point of view I disagree with. Free speech, right?”
Leon Bailey of Shelton, Conn., has an idea that’s not likely but interesting nonetheless.
“My thought is that substantial portions of ownership of the team be given to urban youngsters who are high-achieving third-graders,” Shelton said. “Their shares are put into a trust until these youngsters become adults. The conditions for them to benefit from and be fully entitled to their shares [would be] predicated upon them becoming good citizens with demonstrated records of academic and community accomplishment. Sterling’s money would essentially be doing the work of developing young black millionaires. That type of punishment definitely fits the crime.”
“Donald Sterling will pay a steep price if he’s forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, even if he makes a mint from selling the team,” wrote Mike Sarzo of College Park, Md. “The fact that he has described their home games as ‘his’ games and they’ve been described as ‘kiss the ring’ events that boost his ego suggests that being forced to sell the team will take away a major status symbol of his. The fact that he would no longer be able to say he’s the owner of the team would be a huge blow to his ego. More importantly, he has lost enormous respect around the country, if not the world. That’s something he’ll never be able to get back. So, yes, Sterling will pay a huge price. He already has.”
Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to www.postbusiness.com.