Don’t you just love the aversion journalists have towards Monica Lewinsky’s soon-to-be released Vanity Fair piece? Covering her is beneath them. When will this end!? What does it matter? Etc.
In Slate, Dave Weigel points out that, “It really doesn’t seem like Lewinsky has anything new to add about the facts of the most-thoroughly reported extra-marital intercourse of all time. But let’s pretend that she does.” She probably doesn’t. So what? It never hurts to review. The media is crammed with stories that revisit all kinds of events and people. A few weeks ago, you might remember, Anita Hill was back – a new documentary rehashes her story, which goes all the way back to 1991 – and there was no grousing about re-living the 90s or hand wringing about journalistic integrity.
Yes, the Lewinsky story is salacious and highly entertaining – I look forward to every debauched detail – and as little as it may matter politically, it’s always valuable to revisit the smarminess, ruthlessness, mendacity and corruption of Bill Clinton, a guy who is paraded around as the paternal voice of the Democratic Party.
Click-craving #journalists telling Monica Lewisnky to shut up and go away maybe should heed their own advice.
— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) May 7, 2014
Granted, it’s unimaginable that a political figure could survive a similar scandal today (Anthony Weiner acted like a Puritan in comparison). It’s also worth recalling that as badly as Republicans overplayed their political hand back then, for every phony White House scandal cooked up by some overzealous conservative there was a genuine scandal brought to us by perhaps the shadiest people to ever run the place. I look forward to more of them when Hillary is president.
And let’s not forget Hillary, who by all accounts is ready for her turn, because when she wasn’t playing the distraught wife, she was shamelessly concocting conspiracy theories on national television and working to destroy a 20-something intern (among others) to protect her husband for the cause and her own political ambitions. As Christopher Hitchens put it in 2008, “What do you have to forget or overlook in order to desire that this dysfunctional clan once more occupies the White House and is again in a position to rent the Lincoln Bedroom to campaign donors and to employ the Oval Office as a massage parlor?”
The GOP would be wise not to make too much of Monica’s return (I’m still confused why Rand Paul is constantly bringing it up) because it wasn’t really all that politically potent back then and it probably won’t matter much today. And I can also sort of understand the partisan impulse protect your own. But journalists? Now, surely this isn’t as important as tracking down the legend of Mitt Romney’s dog, or covering an obscure conservative state senator’s troglodytic comments or even treating Donald Sterling as if more than five percent of Americans had ever heard of the guy, but it’s probably worth covering since this may be the dawn of a new Clinton era.
“I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. (What this will cost me, I will soon find out.),” Monica teases in Vanity Fair online. Well, once you perform fellatio on a sitting president your narrative is pretty much written for you. Life’s unfair like that. And it really is a sad episode. The thing is, life’s not equally unfair for everyone. And that story is surely worth revisiting, occasionally.