The Voice! Hear it now: Monica Lewinsky loses her mystery, more's the pity.

November 18, 1998

THE SADDEST people who need to get a life are those for whom 22 hours of Tripp-Lewinsky tapes are not enough.

In releasing these tapes, Chairman Henry Hyde of the House Judiciary Committee catered to a key demand of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal: the insatiable prurience of much of the American people.

No other purpose is served. The transcripts were already public, with whatever information there is to convey. Only the voice remained a mystery, with what light it might shed on Ms. Lewinsky's attractions. She is not the first woman of mystery whose aura was better served remaining that way.

The mystery is gone. Monica Lewinsky comes across as immature and self-obsessed. Linda Tripp appears prying and manipulative. No surprise there.

Mr. Clinton, the distantly looming figure, does not come off well. Nor does Kenneth Starr. Nor Henry Hyde. Nor anybody.

No light is shed on whether the president should be impeached or indicted. No light on whether Ms. Lewinsky should have been prosecuted for extortion. None on whether Ms. Tripp knowingly violated Maryland law.

These are serious matters. But the tapes provide no new information. It is for titillation, amusement, snickers and jeers.

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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