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May 07, 2014 1:25 PM If A Scandal Figure Dishes And No One’s Listening, Is She Actually Silent?

By Ed Kilgore

Yesterday afternoon Slate’s Dave Weigel made an important point, and perhaps the only relevant point, about the blaring trumpets surrounding Monica Lewinsky’s big upcoming Vanity Fair spread, for which the magazine is tossing out excerpts:

[T]he “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.” The Times reports that Lewinsky “says she became reclusive during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign for president in 2008 for fear that she would be used for political purposes.”
Still not the same as a person “breaking silence,” right? It’s been 15 years since Lewinsky cooperated with Andrew Morton for Monica’s Story, which you can pick up for $0.01 on Amazon, so hot is the interest in this story. (Even after you pay shipping, it’s cheaper than a copy of Vanity Fair.) It’s been just 12 years since Lewinsky cooperated with Monica: Black and White, a documentary she promoted on cable news. It’s been 10 years since Bill Clinton published My Life, his memoir, and Lewinsky broke her silence to accuse the former president of lying.
It really doesn’t seem like Lewinsky has anything new to add about the facts of the most thoroughly reported extramarital affair of all time. But let’s pretend that she does.

No, let’s don’t. She’s obviously free to use her celebrity as she wishes, as when she suddenly appeared as a handbag designer in 1999. But let’s don’t pretend she’s been withholding her “story” all this time, just waiting for the right magazine to come along and give her a chance to tell it.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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