One last brief from Monica's lawyer - flack

Thursday, June 11, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Monica Lewinsky was depressed.

Maybe it was all those news clips of Susan McDougal shuffling in and out of jail in leg shackles. Any fool could see that Ms. McDougal has had absolutely no access to a decent hairdresser. And nobody looks good in orange. Nobody.

Well, attorney William Ginsburg hit upon an idea that might raise the spirits of his young client, now his former client. You get the impression that Mr. Ginsburg is a kind of holistic lawyer, taking an interest in both the mind and body of his customers.

Especially if the body is going before a camera of some kind -- any kind -- he is right there to offer a two-shot and a sound bite.

Glamour Shots defense

"She needed to feel good about herself," he said. So he helped arrange a photo session with Vanity Fair magazine's Herb Ritts, who makes everybody look glamorous. If the magazine had sent, for instance, Annie Liebovitz, she might have included a shot or two of Monica in, say, a business suit and a beret.

This has been done to death already.

Instead, they got the guy who put Madonna in Mickey Mouse ears. And who did Calvin Klein ads. Noted Christine Temin of the Boston Globe after a collection of his work appeared at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, "It's good to see sand-coated penises on the walls of the MFA, an often prudish institution with a ho-hum track record in contemporary arts." She praised the artist's "obsession with the body as sculpture, a teasing sexual ambiguity, a fascination with fame."

Isn't this just the ticket for a client who has been accused of a sleazy liaison with the president of the United States? Isn't this just the right plan for a young woman negotiating with a special prosecutor who doesn't look as though he has much of a sense of humor?

When the going gets tough, the tough go to Glamour Shots.

Herb Ritts no doubt has a very fancy entourage of makeup artists and stylists. But I'll bet it's still pretty much like one of those places where they dress you up and fix your hair and makeup before they take your picture.

As I understand it, they go to work on you with hot rollers and mousse and hair spray and combs until you look like a country singer. They have boxes and bags of cosmetics and spackling compound so they can erase and fill in every real and imagined flaw.

Only your closest friends will recognize you. Unless, of course, you include a name tag. Ms. Lewinsky is identified as the "face that launched a thousand subpoenas" and the "lips that Revlon nearly hired."

Vamping on the beach

Herb Ritts pictured her vamping barefoot on the beach with an American flag. She was posed like Sally Rand with a feathered fan and like Marilyn Monroe in a checkered shirt and jeans with the cuffs rolled. And just in case we still didn't get it, Vanity Fair had Christopher Hitchens write a sly, yet exceedingly dopey narrative. Mr. Hitchens is probably best-known for trashing the memory of Mother Teresa. I guess this was Mr. Ginsburg's idea of a dream team for his young client.

"She's one thing to all men, and to all women, too, and that is: a reminder," Mr. Hitchens writes. "Kings and presidents and potentates may rise and fall, but Mother Nature is boss, and her daughter is no slouch either. That's what Bill Clinton means to say when he spoke generically about "that woman.' "

It could have been worse. Mr. Ginsburg could have written it himself. In the June issue of California Lawyer magazine, the attorney suggested that special prosecutor Kenneth Starr "may have succeeded in unmasking a sexual relationship between two consenting adults." Just in case there was any lingering doubt.

I can think of only one reasonable explanation for Mr. Ginsburg's behavior. He must be part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

Laura Pulfer's column appears in the Enquirer on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 768-8393 or fax 768-8340. She can be heard Monday mornings on WVXU radio (91.7 FM), and as a regular commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. E-mail her at