The late 1990s were not kind to Monica Lewinsky. She was the punchline to many jokes about dresses, cigars, and interns. When the scandal surrounding President Clinton finally blew over, she was left to try to figure out how to make a life for herself.
For a while she was an A-list celebrity in social circles. But America eventually moved on. Twin Towers falling and economies collapsing will do that to an attention span.
But Monica Lewinsky is still among the living. She is 40 years old. And now that the words "Clinton" and "President" are starting to be spoken in the same sentence yet again, she is popping up as a news item.
Senator Rand Paul brought her up as a topic that he considers relevant in the conversation about Hillary Clinton's potential candidacy. Paul told Meet the Press that Bill Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky is appropriate to bring up in the context of a Hillary Clinton run.
“This isn’t having an affair,” Paul specified. “He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office.”
Hillary told People she's over the Lewinsky scandal, but it isn't up to her. It's up to Rand Paul whether we're done talking about it.
— Top Conservative Cat (@TeaPartyCat) June 5, 2014
With the clouds of a Clinton candidacy gathering, Lewinsky has takes to the pages of magazines like Vanity Fair to dig in and tell her side of things, hopefully getting some people to see her as a human with feelings, rather than some tabloid fodder.
"In 1998, when news of my affair with Bill Clinton broke, I was arguably the most humiliated person in the world," she wrote in a Vanity Fair piece. "Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet."
Lewinsky explains that she passed up a lot of money from offers to tell her story. To do so would have only brought her more humiliation from the public.
"Apparently, others talking about me is O.K.," she explained. "Me speaking out for myself is not. I turned down offers that would have earned me more than $10 million, because they didn’t feel like the right thing to do."
Now Lewinsky has given her first television interview in a decade.
Her appearance is for a National Geographic special called The 90s: The Last Great Decade?. In it, she discusses her unique role in American history.
“To be called stupid, and a slut, and a bimbo, and ditzy, and to be taken out of context, it was excruciating,” Lewinsky said. “That was one of the worst days of my life. I was a virgin to humiliation of that level, until that day.”
On news of Lewinsky's interview, the joke machine is spinning up again:
— Mark Freel (@mwfreel) July 2, 2014
Or how about this tweet that makes a huge presumption about "that day", referring to the entire affair as humiliating?
Monica Lewinsky: I was a virgin to humiliation before Bill Clinton affair http://t.co/hW5Jv8jRlH
— OSINT (@osint_org) July 2, 2014
However, according to the interview, "that day" that Lewinsky refers to was September 11, 1998, the day the Starr Report was released. The entire country tuned in to a 24-hour news cycle that churned out every salacious detail that Special Prosecutor Ken Starr's sprawling investigation managed to turn up.
If and when Hillary runs, Lewinsky could come under scrutiny by the likes of Rand Paul, yet again.
Monica Lewinsky is letting the world know that she will not remain a recluse any longer.
Image via YouTube