August 25, 1998
Now that President Clinton has testified in what the straight-faced media have called the Monica Lewinsky affair and made his public apology, it remains to be seen whether this sordid scandal will lead to impeachment. Those who expected Clinton to tear a page from the Jimmy Swaggart playbook and shed big oily tears as he proclaimed, "I have sinned" were sorely disappointed by his defiance and his insistence that even a President has a private life. To some, Clinton doesn't seem contrite enough to avoid impeachment.
One thing is certain, however. The principals will be negotiating book and movie deals and hitting the high priced lecture circuit before the ink is dry on Kenneth Starr's report to Congress. Having consumed millions of our dollars and hundreds of our hours, they are no doubt planning to steal more money and more time from us with $25 hardcovers, $7 movie tickets, and $40 a seat lectures.
How soon will it be before Monica's autobiography, I Should Have Kept My Mouth Shut, reaches book stores and pay-per-view? Can Linda Tripp be far behind with I'm Just Like You or Any Other American Who Secretly Records Friends? Maybe her sleazy agent, Lucianne Goldberg, will advise her to tell her story as fiction to protect those already ruined by the scandal.
Then there's Kenneth Starr, who will supplement his million-dollar-a-year salary at a top law firm with twenty thousand dollar lectures. He could take the title of his book from the climax of Moby Dick, To the Last I Grapple with Thee. And taking a cue from OJ Simpson, President Clinton himself could generate a quickie book called I Should Have Told You to sell during his impeachment trial and defray his six million in legal expenses.
I have had the privilege of knowing many fine writers, from the fourth grader who surprised me with the depth of his poetry to the Nobel laureate with whom I briefly shared a table at the Marriott. I count writers among my casual acqaintances, closest friends, and most personal relationships. These writers have been journalists, teachers, students, doctors, lawyers, roofers, computer programmers, dancers, social workers and horse groomers. My late mother was a writer, and my daughter continues the family tradition. It is for these writers I have known and loved that I call now for a boycott of all books, movies, and lectures from the Lewinsky players: Monica or her mother or her lovers or her lawyers, Starr or his associates, Clinton or his apologists, Tripp, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, or the stylists and plastic surgeons who did their makeovers or nose jobs. Real writers work hard to speak to the human experience and suffer rejection for their efforts, while semi-literate scandal mongers grab the fame and fortune. Like the Watergate conspirators and the OJ Simpson ensemble before them, the Monica gang is just another pack of vampires feeding off the public neck. Put on some garlic and send them back to the intellectual boneyard from which they came.