Ms. Lewinsky is speaking about what she has learned and experienced. As I find with most people, she believes she has discovered a truth, a new event in our culture. Each new generation seems to have to discover the world again.
If you don’t know Lewinsky’s story, the abbreviated version is: a young 22 year old was seduced by an older, powerful man (President Clinton) and she fell in love. The story leaked and became a political football and a media story with titillating and kinky cigar sex details.
In all of the story the only thing new in this is the digital story about Ms. Lewinsky that, arguably, made The Drudge Report. In her thinking we have a new level of public embarrassment, human to human cruelty, and far less compassion than in days previous to and thanks to the digital revolution.
Well, some of us fortunately live in a much gentler environment. So, I think our scale, and especially her scale, is skewed. There is no doubt that Ms. Lewinsky suffered. Whether it was deserved or not is a matter of judgment and judgments we make reveal our nature, not hers or reality.
The same drama is cycled through in O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus, which airs again Friday and Sunday on FOX. And there has to be some kind of irony or deeper meaning in Jesus being played by a Muslim.
Ms. Lewinsky was a propaganda piece in a much larger political drama just as Jesus was. Jesus wasn’t crucified for what he taught any more than Galileo was imprisoned for his heliocentric ideas. Both pissed off the wrong people. In all three cases the low information public was manipulated and the high and low information people formed opposing sides. It seems the low information people are typically on the wrong side of history and the most intolerant.
In my opinion Ms. Lewinsky’s most salient point is her insight that her shame could not survive in the face of empathetic people. Her major point to take away: compassion solves and prevents many of the harms we inflict on each other.
There is often promoted the idea that our online communities and social networks are far less compassionate than we are in real life. As best I can tell humans have no history of being naturally or predominately compassionate. I agree we are less inhibited online or when otherwise anonymous. But, that just may be when we let our real selves out.
It isn’t the anonymous digital media that is the problem. As Pogo said, “…we have met the enemy and he is us.” I suspect any real solution is beyond human grasp. But, we can choose to think before we click/speak.