The Scrapbook would be remiss if we failed to note that Monica Lewinsky is back. She has a tell-all article in the latest issue of Vanity Fair, and it’s a curious moment for her reemergence. Much more than during the Clinton era, the American left is now ruled by identity politics and the virulent strain of dogmatic feminism that accompanies it. This dictates that the Lewinsky story be viewed in a new light. As the Daily Beast ever-so-subtly explains: “Stop Slut-Shaming Monica Lewinsky! . . . [W]hile we’ve all forgiven Bill Clinton, we can’t seem to quit blaming his intern.”
At the risk of further descent into identity politics, The Scrapbook would ask the Daily Beast: “What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?” Not all Americans have forgiven Clinton his transgressions against decency. And further, while no one would uphold Lewinsky as a role model for young adults, those of us who still bristle at Clinton’s boorish behavior have never lacked moral clarity about who deserves the preponderance of blame for the unfortunate sexual encounter between the much-older and married leader of the free world and an impressionable White House intern. Yet somehow the segment of American society that is obsessed these days with “checking your privilege” and Foucauldian power structures is just now having an epiphany about who behaved most shamefully?
Or are they? The timing of Lewinsky’s glossy and heavily orchestrated comeback seems more than coincidental. Consider that the most prominent slut-shamer of them all is now gearing up to run for president. In February, the Washington Free Beacon uncovered correspondence in which Hillary Clinton back in the day referred to Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony toon.” When your husband has been convicted of perjury charges related to covering up his serial adultery, calling his sexual conquests narcissistic might be looking at things through the wrong end of the telescope. And improbably, the correspondence also showed Hillary blamed herself for her husband’s straying. We sympathize with a wife’s difficulty in coming to terms with an unfaithful husband, but we suspect that contemporary feminists will tie themselves in knots if they are forced to defend Hillary’s stance toward Monica.
Which is why we’re guessing that Lewinsky’s reemergence now—months before Hillary is likely to declare her candidacy—is probably being stage-managed by some division or other of the vast pro--Hillary conspiracy, whether Lewinsky knows she’s a pawn or not. Better that Monica have her 15 minutes and the liberal Democratic base have an opportunity to hash out the Clintonian contradictions now, rather than in the middle of a presidential campaign. We’re not normally paranoid about such matters, but we think it’s safe to assume that Vanity Fair would not be keen on publishing anything they perceive as damaging the Clinton candidacy.
Liberals have gone through the motions of absolving the Clintons so many times there’s no expectation the outcome will be different this time. But the rest of us are not looking forward to spending the next couple of years having allegedly intelligent people dismiss concerns about the Clintons’ morality. Just last week, Hillary was asked at an event, “What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?” She paused and responded, “I’m just trying to think of G-rated ones.” Oh, how the sophisticates in the crowd laughed. But thanks to their cretinous behavior, every time we see the words “Clinton” and “guilty” in the same sentence—we can’t think of anything G-rated, either.