Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and the National Interest

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Overview

Alongside the O.J. Simpson trial, the affair between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky now stands as the seminal cultural event of the 90s. Alternatively transfixed and repelled by this sexual scandal, confusion still reigns over its meanings and implications. How are we to make sense of a tale that is often wild and bizarre, yet replete with serious political and cultural implications?

Our Monica, Ourselves provides a forum for thinking through the cultural, political, and public policy issues raised by the investigation, publicity, and Congressional impeachment proceedings surrounding the affair. It pulls this spectacle out of the framework provided by the conventions of the corporate news media, with its particular notions of what constitutes a newsworthy event. Drawing from a broad range of scholars, Our Monica, Ourselves considers Monica Lewinsky's Jewishness, Linda Tripp's face, the President's penis, the role of shame in public discourse, and what it's like to have sex as the president, as well as specific legal and historical issues at stake in the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

Thoughtful but accessible, immediate yet far reaching, Our Monica, Ourselves will change the way we think about the Clinton affair, while helping us reimagine culture and politics writ large.

Contributors include: Lauren Berlant, Eric Clarke, Ann Cvetkovich, Simone Davis, Lisa Duggan, Thomas Dumm, Jane Gallop, Marjorie Garber, Janet R. Jakobsen, James Kincaid, Laura Kipnis, Tomasz Kitlinski, Pawel Leszkowicz, Joe Lockard, Catharine Lumby, Toby Miller, Dana Nelson, Anna Marie Smith, Ellen Willis, and Eli Zaretsky.

Author Biography: Lauren Berlant is Professor of English and Director of the Center for Gender Studies at the University of Chicago. She is author of The Anatomy of National Fantasy and The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship, and co-editor of the journal Critical Inquiry. Lisa Duggan is associate professor of American Studies and History at New York University. She is co-author of Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture and author of Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence and American Modernity.

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Editorial Reviews

Salon.com
Insightful!
12/14/2001
Salon.com
The book contains more than its share of smart writing.
Library Journal
Despite the silly title, this set of 18 essays offers a variety of interesting commentaries a "progressive forum" on the Clinton sex scandal. It comes out of the postmodern school, with an emphasis on cultural and queer theory; most of the contributors are professors of English or media studies. The breadth of the analysis provides more than the occasional insight and laugh. The collection includes (in part) ruminations on body imagery, the idea of "the Jewess," the association of sexual recklessness with notions of race and class, the peculiarities of Clinton's politics (as well as his personal behavior) that made him vulnerable to such an attack, and the implications for Clinton's (reluctant) feminist supporters. Editors Berlant (English, Univ. of Chicago) and Duggan (American studies and history, New York Univ.) intend it as a "medium-range perspective," and many thoughtful readers will appreciate the nuanced approach. Recommended for large public and academic libraries. Cynthia Harrison, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher

"The book contains more than its share of smart writing."

-Salon.coM,

"This set of 18 essays offers a variety of interesting commentaries a 'progressive forum' on the Clinton sex scandal. . . . The collection includes (in part) ruminations on body imagery, the idea of 'the Jewess,' the association of sexual recklessness with notions of race and class, the peculiarities of Clinton's politics (as well as his personal behavior) that made him vulnerable to such an attack, and the implications for Clinton's (reluctant) feminist supporters."

-Library Journal,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814798645
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2001
  • Series: Sexual Cultures Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 349
  • Product dimensions: 5.99 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren Berlant is Professor of English and Director of the Center for Gender Studies at the University of Chicago. She is author of The Anatomy of National Fantasy and The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship, and co-editor of the journal Critical Inquiry.

Lisa Duggan is associate professor of American Studies and History at New York University. She is co-author of Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture and author of Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence and American Modernity.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction Lauren Berlant and Lisa Duggan 1
PART 1: DEMOCRACY AND PRESIDENTIALISM
1 The Culture Wars of the 1960s and the Assault on the
Presidency: The Meaning of the Clinton Impeachment Eli 9
2 The Symbolics of Presidentialism: Sex and Democratic
Identification Dana D. Nelson and Tyler Curtain 34
PART 2: BODILY IMAGINARIES AND SEXUAL PRACTICES
3 The Face That Launched a Thousand Jokes Laura Kipnis 55
4 It's Not about Sex James R. Kincaid 73
5 The Door Ajar: The Erotics of Hypocrisy in the White
House Scandal Simone Weil Davis 86
6 Sex of a Kind: On Graphic Language and the Modesty of
Television News Sasha Torres 102
7 The First Penis Impeached Toby Miller 116
PART 3: FANTASIES OF RACE, CLASS, AND ETHNICITY
8 The Return of the Oppressed Frederick C. Moten with
B Jenkins 137
9 Trashing the Presidency: Race, Class, and the
Clinton/Lewinsky Affair Micki McElya 156
10 Moniker Marjorie Garber 175
11 Monica Dreyfus Tomasz Kitlinski, Pawel Leszkowicz,
and Joe Lockard 203
PART 4: FEMINISM AND SEXUAL POLITICS
12 The President's Penis: Entertaining Sex and Power
CatharineLumby 225
13 'Tis Pity He's a Whore Ellen Willis 237
14 Loose Lips Jane Gallop with Lauren Berlant 246
15 Sexuality's Archive: The Evidence of the Starr
Report Ann Cvetkovich 268
PART 5: ETHICS AND MORALITY
16 Sex and Civility Eric O. Clarke 285
17 "He Has Wronged America and Women": Clinton's Sexual
Conservatism Janet R. Jakobsen 291
18 Sexual Risk Management in the Clinton White House
Anna Marie Smith 315
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