Monica Lewinsky injected herself into the news cycle once again this week, this time with a fascinating re-writing of her dubious place in history. Lewinsky painted herself as victim, once again, but this time she claims to be a victim of the Internet. Or, more specifically, of Matt Drudge and the Drudge Report.
In Lewinsky's warped (or calculated) view of her time in the limelight, she was the world's first victim of "cyberbullying" and Drudge the first perpetrator.
One thing about the Internet that is undeniable is that it creates a record of a person's behavior and statements so when they attempt to rearrange their personal narrative, as Lewinsky is attempting, previous statements can be reflected upon and held up to new-found interpretations of past deeds.
To that end, let's revisit Ms. Lewinsky's public statements to the Daily Mail 10 years ago.
Bill Clinton's memoirs (creatively titled My Life) was released in 2004. The 1,008 pages of self-indulgent verbosity was mostly used as a doorstop for the 2 million people who purchased it, except for the 45 minutes each reader took to flip to the section on the Lewinsky scandal. (Did anyone really care to read about the important lessons Clinton learned when he lost his first re-election campaign for governor in Arkansas?)
Clinton's shameless obfuscation and rationalization were audacious, in that he insisted he was ultimately the victim of the media, conservatives, and even Lewinsky herself.
Lewinsky was fuming at her former pizza delivery customer's refusal to vindicate her and let stand the slanders perpetuated by his protectors who famously referred to the 22-year-old intern as a sex-crazed stalker.
She was unambiguous when telling the Daily Mail what she thought of Clinton's book:
"He could have made it right with the book, but he hasn't. He is a revisionist of history. He has lied. […] I really didn't expect him to go into detail about our relationship. […] But if he had and he'd done it honestly, I wouldn't have minded. […] I did, though, at least expect him to correct the false statements he made when he was trying to protect the Presidency. Instead, he talked about it as though I had laid it all out there for the taking. I was the buffet and he just couldn't resist the dessert. […] This was a mutual relationship, mutual on all levels, right from the way it started and all the way through. […] I don't accept that he had to completely desecrate my character."
So, what has happened in the past 10 years? In 2004 Lewinsky knew exactly who was to blame for desecrating her character. It was Bill Clinton. And when he was given the chance to come clean and make things right, he doubled down.
Today, however, Lewinsky clearly sees some advantage in taking aim at Drudge and the Internet as a whole. What's gotten into her? Or, more specifically, who's gotten to her?