Volume 92, Issue 86

Thursday, March 11, 1999


Most-read publication can't wrong


Serbian Kosovo forever

Passe fat lady

New flag

Superstar without a clue

Superstar without a clue

In the world of reality Monica Lewinsky is a nobody. In America, she is a celebrity.

The interest in smut and scandal is striking in the United States, with politics being the ultimate forum of hype. It is the topic of choice around the water cooler, while news agencies love plastering it on every available media outlet. The reason – Americans hold their politicians up to the level of heroes. They are more likely to know the name of the president's cat than Canadians are to know the name of Prime Minister Jean Chretien's wife.

In America, when politicians break the moral ethics of society they are elected to uphold, citizens are shocked, outraged and glued to their television sets to hear more. The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal was a prime example.

American polls attempted to downplay the interest in the scandal but the polls only state what people are willing to divulge. No one wants to admit their interest in a sexual scandal. It is not socially acceptable. The truth is, however, everyone was paying attention.

I doubt Lewinsky would complain about the American attitude towards politics. Three years ago, she was a simple white collar worker – a dime a dozen in any city around the world. Now, she is riding the gravy train to fame and fortune. Million-dollar book offers are being tossed under her nose every day. Barbara Walters and Oprah are scrambling to bring her onto their national television broadcasts. She is the prom queen at the centre of attention with a small stain on her dress.

American talk shows are even conducting lively debates on Lewinsky's intelligence, hair style and diet.

What Americans cannot see is Lewinsky is a nobody. She has done nothing notable to the development of mankind. Her accomplishment whick rose to stardom? She had an affair. If it had been anyone else besides the president, no one would have cared. She was just in the right place – under the desk – at the right time and apparently by American standards that is enough to make her a celebrity.

More important people in society deserve the attention. There are individuals searching for the cure to cancer or saving elderly grandmothers from burning buildings. On the political scene, people are fighting for the real issues at the American capital. Yet Lewinsky takes the spotlight and she is laughing all the way to the bank.

Lewinsky must be proud to be American. In Canada, she would have been old news a week after the scandal broke.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999