The rest of Monica
A satirist looks into his crystal ball and foresees Lewinsky's future
By Christopher Buckley
December 21, 1998
April 1999 Monica is invited to attend the glitzy White House correspondents dinner in Washington as guest of Vanity Fair magazine, prompting official harrumphing about how much more dignified the occasion used to be. Old-timers grumble that in the old days, they not only didn't invite presidential mistresses to the dinner, but they didn't even write about them, even when they were famous movie actresses and Mafia go-betweens. Clinton threatens not to attend the dinner but relents at the last minute, after Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter promises to keep Monica under the table for the duration of the dinner.
May 1999 Monica's book is postponed after she says she can no longer work with British ghostwriter Anthony Holden because "all he wanted to know about was the whole Clinton deal, and my life isn't just about that, O.K.?" Columnist Maureen Dowd of the New York Times is hired as a replacement. The final result, a 500-page indictment of Ken Starr in particular and men in general, is titled Dear Handsome, Dear Creep.
September 1999 Monica tells Barbara Walters that she would "like to see Linda Tripp get hit by a truck, if they could find one big enough," and that she has lost 6 lbs. since giving up Ring Dings.
October 1999 Former Monica attorney William Ginsburg, already mad because Monica is refusing to pay him for his legal services, sues Monica over her description of him in her book as "the worst lawyer in America" and a "bow-tied yo-yo."
November 1999 A cigar company in the Dominican Republic introduces the Monicacristo No. 1. The Davidoff cigar company sues on the ground that it was planning to bring out a similar cigar.
January 2000 Annoyed by paparazzi trying to photograph her while she eats a hot dog on a New York City sidewalk, Monica goes "ballistic," according to witnesses, and embeds the heel of her Manolo Blahnik shoe in the forehead of a photographer. Monica is charged with assault with an expensive weapon. Under Mayor Rudy Giuliani's new "zero tolerance" assault-shoe laws, she faces 25 years to life; but since she now has competent lawyers, the case is quietly settled out of court. "Can you imagine if Ginsburg were still representing her?" comments ABC's Jeff Toobin. "She'd be on death row."
March 2000 Premiere of the movie Dear Handsome, Dear Creep on the Lifetime channel. Cast: Kate Winslet as Monica, John Larroquette as Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres as Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey as Betty Currie, Gerard Depardieu as Linda Tripp, Angela Lansbury as Lucianne Goldberg, Bob Balaban as Ken Starr and Jack Palance as Walt Whitman.
June 2000 Monica signs a reported seven-figure contract to replace the Duchess of York as celebrity spokeswoman for Weight Watchers. At the press conference, she shows off her new size-8 figure, which she attributes to a liquid-protein diet, running from paparazzi and "crying a lot." She expresses the hope that Linda Tripp will "die in a horrible car crash."
May 2001 The Modern Library reissues Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass with an introduction by Monica titled "Thong of Myself." In it she describes how President Clinton would call her late at night and read her "the dirty parts." Through a spokesman, former President Clinton, now dean of law at Jesuit University, says it "depends on what you mean by Whitman."
October 2002 The Supreme Court rules 9 to 0 that William Ginsburg is not entitled to be paid for his "disastrous representation" of Monica. In a scathing opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia writes, "One only regrets that this man was not entrusted with the defense of O.J. Simpson." Ginsburg vows to appeal the ruling until it is pointed out to him that you cannot appeal a Supreme Court ruling.
April 2003 Bedeviled by paparazzi who snap pictures of her eating frankfurters, bananas and cannoli, Monica declares that she is leaving the U.S. and is moving to Europe, "wherever that is."
April 2003 Paris Match magazine publishes a photo of Monica eating a baguette sandwich.
May 2003 Pursued by photographers on motorcycles, Monica narrowly escapes death when the car she is driving careers off the Seine river embankment and crashes into a passing bateau-mouche full of tourists. Several of them are hospitalized for le choque (shock) and, represented by American attorney William Ginsburg, file suit against Monica for le steering lunatique. Their case is eventually dismissed by a French magistrate after Ginsburg misses an important court appearance because he was giving an interview to Radio Liechtenstein.
June 2003 Monica leaves Paris for Winnipeg, Man., which has the lowest per capita paparazzo population on earth. One week later, however, an amateur photographer takes an unflattering picture of her eating a corn dog, and she flees on a snowmobile.
July 2003 Headline: MEDIA FRANTIC AS MONICA DISAPPEARS.
September 2003 At a joint press conference, the editors of major U.S. media make an impassioned appeal to Monica to come out of hiding. They cite declining circulation and ratings, which appear to contradict the public's statement to pollsters that they are tired of hearing about her. In return, the editors promise not to run any more pictures of her eating and to limit to six the number of paparazzi and TV crews stalking her at any given time. But Monica remains in hiding.
February 2004 In a coup that will result in its first Pulitzer Prize, the National Enquirer breaks the story that Monica has undergone plastic surgery by the same doctor who successfully transformed New York City socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein into a cross between a human and a panther. The surgeon refuses to divulge what the new Monica looks like, other than to say that "she's a darn sight less scary-looking than Jocelyn."
April 2040 The Clinton presidential library opens in Fibb, Ark. Owing to Clinton's somewhat controversial reputation, it has taken longer than usual to raise the money to build the library. The library, consisting of three double-wide trailers parked next to one another, is, according to local architect Euple ("Big") Monroe, "sorta smaller than most of them other presidential libraries, but it's your same basic idea." The only reference to Monica is in the exhibit titled "Years of Mendacity, Years of Tenacity," curated by longtime Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal: "Following the magnificent triumphs of the first term, an intern whom President Clinton had selflessly agreed to mentor became obsessed with him. Rather than hurt her feelings, the President attempted on several occasions to minister to her physically. The episode, blown out of proportion by the vast right-wing conspiracy and the media, only strengthened the President's resolve to leave the presidency stronger, more dignified and more honorable than he found it."
July 2073 Unsolved Mysteries does a two-hour special on the centennial of Monica's birth. It is mostly a rehash of the hundreds of Monica "sightings," except for "startling new evidence" that someone resembling Monica was seen "tinkering" with Linda Tripp's Chevy Suburban shortly before it went off the road into the Potomac River in January 2001.
Christopher Buckley is editor of Forbes FYI magazine. His novel Little Green Men will be published this spring.
MORE TIME STORIES:
Cover Date: December 28, 1998
The story of the year
The Clinton in us all
The better half
How Starr sees it
The Starr report
The outrage that wasn't
Where the Right went wrong
On to the Senate
The rest of Monica
The friend from Hell
The indiscreet charm of Lucianne
The Speaker who never was