Our serious girl crush on Monica Lewinsky just got worse after her rousing TED talk yesterday in Vancouver. She’s funny, introspective and as articulate as you would expect a mature student doing a post-grad in social psychology at LSE to be. We reckon she’d make a great mate for Amal Clooney while she’s in London- sure, the Inns of Court are only down the road and they can keep up next year in NYC (Lewinsky’s sometime hometown) when Amal’s lecturing at Columbia Law School.
Monica’s given us some serious food for thought given that she was driven into obscurity by the shiny new interweb in 1998. The First Casualty of large scale trolling explains, “This scandal was brought to you by the digital revolution. It was the first time traditional news was usurped by the Internet, a click that reverberated around the whole world.” She says, “I was patient zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.” And no one, least of all her, could have seen that coming.
Her crime? She made an error of judgment as an intern that many a mortal before and since has made and it utterly destroyed her young adulthood. She’s only just shaking free that silly Mary Tyler Moore beret, the navy GAP dress and those stolen audiotapes (a primitive hack) seventeen years later. “At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss. At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences.”
Thankfully for all of us, she’s connected all the dots since and given us on this side of the keyboard particular cause to take note as we scour the world for clickbait that will pay our rent. “How is the money made? Clicks. The more shame, the more clicks; the more clicks, the more advertising dollars,” says Lewinsky. “We are in a dangerous cycle: The more we click on this kind of gossip, the more numb we get to the human lives behind it. And the more numb we get, the more we click.” Because of technology, we are becoming increasingly desensitised and unshockable, our capacity for compassion is disappearing.
Well, if it makes you feel any better, Monica, today we’re sitting up and listening. Humiliation should not be currency. Here at image.ie we’re going to do our level best to rise above temptation as often as possible and commit to content with as much humanity and class as we can muster. We all deserve better.