Because seriously, I don’t know how they do it. The week that After America came out in 2011, the Dow Jones dropped 512 points on Thursday, and S&P shorted America’s credit rating on Friday. When After America was released in paperback the following year, riots across the Middle East broke out, a feckless “Quantitative Easing” program by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve began, and the POTUS ran roughshod over the First Amendment.
Today, The Undocumented Mark Steyn, an anthology of his columns, hits the streets; its introduction is titled “Me and My Little Black Dress.” It begins with Mark flashing back wistfully to the 1990s, America’s holiday from history, having just won the Cold War (we thought) and the Gulf War (we thought) and seemingly without a care in the world, when we could laugh at a hapless randy president and his extramarital affairs. Since Miss Lewinsky wasn’t taking many interviews at the time, Mark hopped into the Clinton White House’s Hot Tub Time Machine and flash-forwarded to 2018 to interview her older and wiser dress instead:
She is older now, her once dazzling looks undeniably faded, her famous beauty worn and creased.
“Sorry about that,” she says. “I was supposed to get ironed yesterday.”
Yes, it’s “that dress”— the dress that, 20 years ago this month, held the fate of a presidency in her lap. It has been two decades since the day she gave her dramatic testimony to the grand jury and then promptly disappeared into the federal witness protection program. Even as she recalls her brief moment in the spotlight , she looks drawn. But that’s because, following extensive reconstructive surgery, she’s been living quietly as a pair of curtains in Idaho.
“What do you think?” she says, saucily brushing her hem against the sill as her pleats ripple across the mullions. “It cost less than Paula Jones’ nose job.”
To be honest, I was lucky to get the interview. The dress was supposed to be doing the BBC— the full sob-sister treatment, Martin Bashir, the works— but, to protect her identity, they wanted to do that undercover secret-location protect-your-identity trick with the camera that makes part of the screen go all fuzzy and blurry. “Are you crazy?” she yelled at them. “It’ll look like I’ve still got the stain.”
Apparently to tie in with his book’s launch, somehow Mark’s PR people managed to convince Lewinsky to join Twitter on the very same day The Undocumented Mark Steyn debuts. “Monica Lewinsky Joins Twitter—To Fight Cyberbullying,” Fast Company.com reports today; since the Hillary Clinton campaign and its operatives at Media Matters and CNN are experts on the topic, I can’t wait to see Monica’s incredible lack of response when the cyberbullying really starts to fly — which it likely will starting sometime in mid-November, or perhaps early next year.
Concurrently, Jeff Dunetz notes at Truth Revolt that the world’s most famous intern recently spoke at the Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 Summit; naturally, Lewinsky, as was said about a very different corrupt administration that frequently suffered from a sense of droit du seigneur, has learned nothing, and forgotten nothing:
But back then, in 1995, we started an affair that lasted, on and off, for 2 years. And, at that time, it was my everything. That, I guess you could say, was the golden bubble part for me; the nice part. The nasty part was that it became public. Public with a vengeance.
Thanks to the Internet and a website that at the time, was scarcely known outside of Washington DC but a website we all know today: the Drudge Report, within 24 hours I became a public figure, not just in the United States but around the entire globe. As far as major news stories were concerned, this was the very first time that the traditional media was usurped by the Internet.
In 1998, as you can imagine, there was a media frenzy. Even though it was pre-Google, (that’s right, pre-Google). The World Wide Web (as we called it that back then) was already a big part of life.
Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one. I was Patient Zero.
As Dunetz responds:
While it’s easy to have compassion for a person who was misled by a powerful person at the tender age of twenty-four, one would think she would have a better perspective on the scandal she was involved in by age 40. Ms. Lewinsky wasn’t a victim of cyber-bullying; she was a victim of having sexual relations with a person at or near the peak of power. She became news just as Donna Rice, Elizabeth Ray, Fanne Foxe and many others had before her.
Matt Drudge didn’t ruin her life just the same way that the Miami Herald did not ruin Donna Rice’s life. Drudge simply reported a huge news story.
If she wants to place the blame for the personal attacks she received, Ms. Lewinsky would be better served to look toward the “Clinton Machine,” whose history of destroying reputations is well-documented.
Still, though, kudos for Lewinsky’s inadvertently brilliant timing. I shudder to predict what apocalyptic bit of synchronicity Mark’s PR firm has in mind tomorrow to help promote his new book…