Natural Disaster

Monica Lewinsky

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 April, 1999, 12:00am

We had all been thinking, hoping, that there was nothing more to know about Monica Lewinsky but E! apparently has dug up some extra detail about the poor woman in Monica Lewinsky: The Untold Story (Pearl, 8.30pm). E! seems to think Ms Lewinsky (above) has remained 'an enigma' even to those right in the thick of the whole distasteful mess. An enigma to whom? Those who have been on Mars for the past 18 months? We do not need to see the Barbara Walters interview to know far more than we want to. For those with an insatiable appetite for that kind of information, she also went several rounds with Andrew Morton. His book Monica's Story has been riding the best-seller list for some weeks, although the word is that it has not been the publishers' wet dream as predicted.


In the New Yorker two weeks ago, a reporter investigated not what it feels to be an unintentional media star like Ms Lewinsky but what it is like to be depicted as the cause of Monicagate.


Matthew Spalding is currently training to be a teacher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, but he used to be a classmate of Ms Lewinsky's, back in the days when she was too self-conscious to flash a thong at anyone.


Mr Spalding is now apparently a sensitive New Age kind of guy but at high school in Bel Air, he dubbed Ms Lewinsky with the nickname 'Big Mac'. Not a kind thing to do at the best of times, but made worse, according to the Morton book, by the fact that Ms Lewinsky secretly cherished a passion for Mr Spalding that was never reciprocated.


When the New Yorker got in touch, he hardly remembered her, and had no idea his tactless little joke had hurt Ms Lewinsky so deeply. Little did he know he was laying the psychological groundwork for a crisis that would nearly topple a president: 'My friends are saying this is the butterfly in Japan that caused the hurricane in Alaska.' To Die For (Pearl, 9.30pm) is also about the power of the media, more particularly about a strange young woman who is determined to get on television one way or another.


It would be unfair to say Ms Lewinsky actually craved the kind of media attention she is now getting. But lumping these two together one after another does give us pause for thought about TVB Pearl's programming department's angle on the crisis.