It’s a title someone had to claim (we’re only surprised it took this long). But Monica Lewinsky (“that woman” who nearly derailed Bill Clinton and spawned 10 million bad blow job jokes) has roared back into the news this week some 15 years since we last saw/heard her name every day. In preparation for a tell-all piece that will appear in Vanity Fair, press releases are clue-ing us in to the fact that Lewinsky was given a bum steer last time her 15 minutes of fame came around and she’s back to reclaim it in the guise of claiming to be the Internet’s “first victim.”
According to Mashable, one only need to scroll down this roll call of celebs and pseudo-celebs who have been ridiculed online to see that she has a point. Before “James Franco, Paula Dean, Anthony Weiner, Amanda Bynes, Shia LaBeouf, Rebecca Black, Avril Lavigne, Rihanna, Courtney Love, [and] Rob Ford” there was Monica Lewinsky. She should be thankful her heyday was totally Web 1.0 and limited mostly to sketchy blogs, early day online gossip sites and snarky comments and conspiracy theories on listservs. Those that have come since, especially in the social media era, have had much more extreme public floggings, albeit for shorter durations, since someone else is usually quick to make a fool of themselves and the never-ending online babble will shift with the creation of a hashtag.
All jokes aside, Lewinsky writes that “We have created a culture of humiliation that not only encourages and revels in Schadenfreude but also rewards those who humiliate others, from the ranks of the paparazzi to the gossip bloggers, the late-night comedians, and the Web ‘entrepreneurs’ who profit from clandestine videos.”
She claims she’s come forward now due to some recent cyber-bullying episodes that resulted in suicides of young people. A noble cause.
Conspiracy theorists, of course, believe Hillary henchmen and women have put her up to this, hoping for an early recycle of her story that will be long forgotten in a year or so should Hillary Clinton make that much anticipated run for the White House.