The Best Monica Lewinsky Columns From Around the Web

We read everything on the resurfacing of Monica Lewinsky so you don’t have to — or maybe just because it’s fascinating.

National Journal
Lucia Graves
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Lucia Graves
May 8, 2014, 12:46 p.m.

Jimmy Fal­lon and so many oth­ers have joked about how Mon­ica Lew­in­sky’s Van­ity Fair piece is old news. Quoth he: “In the es­say she ac­tu­ally says, ‘It’s time to burn the blue dress, bury the ber­et, and move on.’ And Amer­ic­ans said, ‘Yeah, we did 15 years ago!’ ” There is vir­tu­ally noth­ing new in the piece — ex­cept per­spect­ive. And a great deal of that can be found in the piece it­self, which is now avail­able for sub­scribers and will hit news­stands May 13. But even more per­spect­ive (very smart, in­ter­est­ing stuff!) can be found on the In­ter­net, where the pun­dits have ana­lyzed it in­to a schol­arly pur­ee.

Fal­lon’s joke makes for a good punch line, but he’s wrong: Amer­ica has def­in­itely not bur­ied the ber­et, least of all some of our fa­vor­ite fem­in­ists. The best points from around the Web are be­low.

Aman­da Hess in Slate on how Maur­een Dowd painted Lew­in­sky as a crazy bimbo — and won a Pulitzer for it. “It didn’t take long for Dowd to buckle un­der the power of the Clin­ton nar­rat­ive and join the pile-on her­self. By Feb­ru­ary, she was call­ing Lew­in­sky ‘a ditsy, pred­at­ory White House in­tern who might have lied un­der oath for a job at Re­vlon’ and ‘the girl who was too tubby to be in the high school in crowd.’ At first, Dowd at­temp­ted to pass this nas­ti­ness off as a sly, satir­ic­al com­ment­ary on the ca­ri­ca­ture of Lew­in­sky that the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion had painted in the press. But soon, the ar­ti­fice dis­ap­peared, and Dowd de­voted her column to ar­guing that, come to think of it, Lew­in­sky was both nutty and slutty.”

Re­becca Tra­ister in The New Re­pub­lic on how Hil­lary and Mon­ica are in this to­geth­er.This Van­ity Fair story is not Lew­in­sky’s first at­tempt at re­in­ven­tion. In the years after the af­fair, she de­signed hand­bags, got that gradu­ate de­gree, shilled for Jenny Craig. Clin­ton, mean­while, has be­come a sen­at­or, a sec­ret­ary of state, a pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate, a wo­men’s lead­er; she’s cut her hair and changed her ward­robe. The reas­on that, no mat­ter what they do, neither wo­man can ever shake this old story is that it is nev­er-end­ing; and it is im­port­ant. It is the story of wo­men in the United States: mar­gin­al­ized, sexu­al­ized, and pit­ted against each oth­er since time began in an at­tempt to keep them at the fringes of a power struc­ture and very far from the top of it.”

Molly Lam­bert in Grant­land re­calls what it was like read­ing about Lew­in­sky as a fem­in­ist teen­ager and puts it all in con­text. I was 15 when the Lew­in­sky scan­dal broke, and it blew my mind, so to speak, on every pos­sible level. It was the ex­act age at which I nev­er wanted to talk to my par­ents about any­thing re­motely sexu­al, and yet there we were, watch­ing news an­chors de­bate wheth­er or­al sex should be judged dif­fer­ently from va­gin­al pen­et­ra­tion. Everything about the scan­dal seemed gray-shaded: wheth­er it was a pro­sec­ut­able of­fense, how and why Hil­lary Clin­ton would stay with Bill af­ter­ward, what it must have been like for the teen­age Chelsea to be so em­bar­rassed by her dad in front of the whole world. I was a ‘90s child with an ideal­ist fem­in­ist concept of gender roles, but the pres­id­ent was en­act­ing a scen­ario I some­how be­lieved had gone out with JFK.”

Dave Wei­gel in Slate com­plains Lew­in­sky’s aired this all be­fore. The ‘si­lence-break­ing’ head­lines made no sense. What si­lence was be­ing broken? The Huff­ing­ton Post notes that Lew­in­sky ‘is open­ing up about her af­fair with former Pres­id­ent Bill Clin­ton for the first time in years,’ but that’s not the same as break­ing ‘si­lence’….”

Jonath­an Chait in New York Magazine on the Lynn Cheney con­spir­acy the­ory. “Lynn Cheney has a the­ory about why Mon­ica Lew­in­sky wrote a long Van­ity Fair es­say about her ex­per­i­ence with Bill Clin­ton: It’s be­cause the Clin­tons wanted it. Cheney ex­plains her sus­pi­cions. ‘I really won­der if this isn’t an ef­fort on the Clin­tons’ part to get that story out of the way,’ Cheney, an­nounced on an in­ter­view on Fox News. ‘Would Van­ity Fair pub­lish any­thing about Mon­ica Lew­in­sky that Hil­lary Clin­ton didn’t want in Van­ity Fair?’ There may be a couple of holes in this the­ory. The first is that, while it does ac­count for the Clin­ton’s mo­tiv­a­tions, it fails to ex­plain the par­ti­cip­a­tion of Lew­in­sky her­self, who is the au­thor of the art­icle in ques­tion, and may not be in the mind-set of ‘I really owe Bill Clin­ton a fa­vor.’”

And our own Emma Roller in Na­tion­al Journ­al on how fem­in­ists failed Lew­in­sky. “What Lew­in­sky’s es­say does well is re­mind us of how shame­fully so-called fem­in­ists failed her when she needed them most…. It’s only more up­set­ting that, 16 years later, the same fem­in­ist lead­ers who were so eager to as­sas­sin­ate Lew­in­sky’s char­ac­ter now con­sider them­selves ar­dent de­fend­ers against sex­ism — proud war­ri­ors who stand Ready for Hil­lary.”

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP’S ATTORNEY WAS SET TO TESTIFY ON WEDNESDAY
Senate Intel Postpones Testimony by Cohen
23 hours ago
THE LATEST
AMENDMENT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED CONSIDERATION
Senate Rejects Effort to Nix SALT Tax Changes
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."

Source:
INTERVIEWED BY COMMITTEE STAFF
Lewandowski Meets with Senate Intelligence Committee
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."

Source:
FISHING EXPEDITION
Some Members Seek to Wrap Up Russia Investigations by Year’s End
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."

Source:
WROTE LAW THAT WEAKENED OPIOID OVERSIGHT
Trump: Marino Withdrawing Nomination for Drug Czar
4 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login