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Trimming down Monica's appearances

JUST LIKE the Energizer Bunny, clever advertisements keep on going and going and going. Everyone can connect the lyrics "Da Da Da" with a shiny new Volkswagen. Most people are sick of the Budweiser frogs, iguanas, ferrets and assorted wisecracking animals. These and other advertisements are cute ways to grab the public's attention for a product, but there are some ad campaigns that just don't cut it. By the way, did you hear that Monica Lewinsky lost 31 lbs. with the Jenny Craig dieting program?

That's right, the one and only Miss Lewinsky: California beauty, beret-topped cutie, presidential booty. According to a Reuters report, Jenny Craig plans on spending $7 million in the next three months on TV ads featuring Lewinsky. They wouldn't confirm reports that she would make $1 million if she loses 60 pounds. Either way, they shouldn't be paying her anything. She isn't someone we want to be in the public eye as a role model.

In the commercial, Lewinsky boasts the effects of Jenny Craig while showing before and after pictures of herself. The change is amazing. If you haven't seen the commercial yet, glue yourself to your TV until it comes on. The effects of the Jenny Craig dieting system will amaze you. The drastic change in Monica's appearance and health will make you want to go out and join the program immediately. But then hopefully you'll remember why this woman is famous.

"Oh yeah," you'll say to yourself, "I've seen this woman before." Well, we all have. She was the subject of the biggest sexual controversy ever. The White House intern's affair with President Clinton led to the second presidential impeachment in U.S. history. For two years, the whole world watched Lewinsky's crazy antics as the scandal unfolded.

The flood of information was overwhelming. We heard congressional debate over the definition of oral sex, the treasured blue dress, the "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," followed by, "Indeed, I did have sexual relations with her." Then came the trial, the impeachment, and the vote to keep Clinton in office. We thought we'd seen the last of Monica, but then came the "20/20" interview, the Revlon contract, and the Saturday Night Live guest hostess stint. Finally she gave us a break from her endless skills, but now she's back, more talented than ever, looking slim and pretty like any famous starlet should.

But she's not a starlet. This woman shouldn't do commercials. She should not host Saturday Night Live. She has no acting talent and is famous only for her sexual affair with the nation's commander in chief. But she feels she's doing what is best for her at this time.

She stated, "Anyone who really knows me knows that I'm not a media hound and knows I'm trying to do the best with the situation I find myself." Maybe she forgot to say this in her various interviews and guest appearances. Sure she needs money, but she shouldn't get it by selling herself to the public.

Imagine her resume. "Previous work experience: babysitter, McDonald's cook, White House intern, Revlon contract, 20/20 interview, Saturday Night Live hostess." Wow, she's really come a long way in this world. The resume could continue with, "Special skills/talents: filing, losing weight, wearing makeup." You know where this is going. And yet we, as consumers, respond to this kind of commercial travesty.

Monica Lewinsky is highly recognizable and companies know that the public will respond. So they take advantage of her notoriety and pay her to sell their product. But giving her commercial contracts is like having the Unabomber do a spot for the Postal Service or O.J. Simpson hawk one-size-fits-all gloves. The two just don't mix.

People famous for notorious reasons do not belong all over TV. I'm glad I'm not the parent who has to tell their kids who that woman is on TV who losst so much weight and looks so pretty now. Oh wait, they probably already know. They already saw the Revlon commercial and Saturday Night Live. Thankfully, there are some objections to her appearances on TV.

Some Jenny Craig franchise owners have pulled the spots due to the opposition from the public. According to a Reuters news story, David Lahey, owner of three Jenny Craig franchises in Iowa and Michigan, expressed concern about his young daughter asking difficult questions about Lewinsky and Clinton. Lahey told Reuters, "I just felt like I didn't want to put parents in the same situation of answering questions they really didn't want to answer about Monica and why she's famous." ("Monica, Sarah diet rivals, Reuters, Jan. 24.) Let's hope other franchise owners follow suit.

Lahey has the right idea. TV commercials stay in the minds of viewers. Children don't need an image of Monica Lewinsky floating around in their head. Neither do adults. Putting her in the public realm only prolongs the uncomfortable feelings people have about the whole Clinton scandal. It's a new millennium, a new presidential race, and time to move on and get past the hoopla of the past few years. Jenny Craig should remove the TV spots. Viewers shouldn't watch them. Monica should take her money and go live a quiet, comfortable life in the mountains.

(Brandon Almond's column appears Tuesday's in The Cavalier Daily.)


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