Monica Lewinsky’s delusional, narcissistic, remorseless speech on Monday at the “Forbes 30 Under 30” summit was appalling.
t The purpose of the event was to honor young entrepreneurs who are successfully disrupting major industries. Women like Shiza Shahid, an advocate for Malala Yousafzai, or Divya Nag, cofounder of a major medical stem cell company and actress Olivia Wilde who must have been shocked to learn that the reward for her selfless philanthropic work was to sit through a speech by the Kim Kardashian of her day, Monica Lewinsky.
t I guess when you’ve spent 16 years ruminating on your own imagined victimology as Miss Lewinsky has, you handily forget that the actual victim in the scandal was Hillary Clinton. An inconvenient detail for any self-respecting narcissist, I suppose.
t This is not the first time anyone has used the term “narcissist” when referring to Miss Lewinsky. Hillary Clinton would regularly refer to her as a “narcissistic loony toon”, a fact that I have agreed with publicly in the past.
t Let’s also not pretend that Miss Lewinsky didn’t initiate the affair (which is perfectly within her rights). She is not a hapless victim but an empowered, sexual being. Yet, this particular encounter came with national consequences. The facts are, according to the Starr Report and The Washington Post, at their second meeting, Ms. Lewinsky lifted her skirt to show the President of the U.S. her thong, leading to more than one intimate encounter with him that very day. Unlike any random older man hitting on any random young vulnerable woman, President Clinton did not hide the fact that he was married nor did he hide the fact that he was the President of the U.S. (the most scrutinized person on the planet).
t Only someone suffering from deep, deep narcissistic tendencies would actively go after the leader of the free world without a second thought for her country, his wife or the consequences that would likely ensue, and then brag about it all to her friends later.
t However, her unmitigated gall does not end there. After using her own name 12 times in a 25-minute speech on cyberbullying (which contained no facts or statistics on this insidious and dangerous reality), she instead surreptitiously aligned herself with real victims of cyberbullying, people whose privacy was maliciously invaded, such as Jennifer Lawrence. Unlike Lawrence, who had no say in what was about to happen to her, Miss Lewinsky made adult choices with agency over those choices.
t To say that she was “patient zero” for cyberbullying is unbearably insulting to girls like Amanda Todd and Jessica Logan who sadly took their own lives after being relentlessly bullied on social media. Lewinsky had only the one website to deal with, The Drudge Report, and my advice to her back in 1998 would have been just don’t look at it.
t In 1998, only the wealthy had home computers and, in Miss Lewinsky’s own words, “it was pre-Google,” meaning there were no platforms to attack a public figure that they would see immediately like message boards or Twitter. It is much harder to cyberbully when you’re not walking around with access to the internet all day long. It would be at least 10 years before personal computers made it into the average American home. Cyberbullying is a real issue young adults face now and one that Ms. Lewinsky took no part of. Hell, she just joined Twitter on Monday.
t That said, the true insult, the real shameless, narcissistic and reprehensible comparison was her choice to associate herself with the tragedy of Tyler Clementi. Clementi’s story was an impossibly sad one. He was the 18-year-old Rutgers student who committed suicide when he was secretly taped and live-streamed during an intimate encounter with another man. He did not willingly confide his secret to anyone, the way Lewinsky confided in Linda Tripp; his was stolen from him.
t His story brought national attention to the victimization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. Policy in New Jersey was enacted and changed regarding bullying and harassment because of Clementi. He was and continues to be a symbol of a vulnerable group, intentionally bullied regularly with little protection and limited civil rights. The kind of humiliations that continue today despite laws and awareness… so, someone needs to explain to me, my LGBT friends and Tyler Clementi’s family, how on earth does Monica Lewinsky fit into this narrative?
t Photo credit: Michael Loccisano/Staff/Getty Images