Where on the Web Is Monica Lewinsky?
Where on the Web Is Monica Lewinsky?
"Monica's Place," the Web site of "Monica S. Lewinsky" (whose America Online profile declared, "Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave"), was spotted last week by several reporters. It linked to sites like the White House and Greenpeace and included declarations such as "This is My College, its [ sic ] located in the most incredible state in the world." AOL quickly identified the site as a hoax and pulled it Jan. 22. "It seemed designed to deceive people," a representative for the company said.
Indeed, it already had. On Jan. 22, the Detroit News reported, "Web page gives insight to intern." The paper quoted lines from the page that did not shed a lot of light on Lewinsky's soul. "The WhiteHouse, This is where I used to work. ... Of course when I am not working I am usually watching my MTV." Home page Lewinsky came across as banal at best, empty-headed at worst. And a Jan. 23 Washington Post piece noted that "Monica's Place" "sure looked like the real home page of Ms. Lewinsky" (though it didn't say why) before acknowledging that it "could have been a hoax. Of course, the whole thing could be a hoax."
The more we hear about Monica Lewinsky, the further removed from reality she becomes. She's been transformed into a prototypical lovesick teen (even if she's in her 20s), a vulnerable ingénue, a slightly clueless betrayed friend and, most recently, a deranged hussy. Each "identity" is fully developed on Web sites devoted to Lewinsky, which essentially take news accounts and reflect upon them in a deeply silly manner.
Lovesick Teen: A "photo analysis" page (part of a site called Cary's Crap) examines shots from the CNN tape of Lewinsky and Clinton's postelection hug, noting the "ecstasy look on Monica's face" as she and the president embrace--"Here Monica is obviously giving the President the 'Fuck Me' stare. If she hasn't been, she wants to start. Notice the chick to the right with the similar expression. She's Presidentialy [sic] Plump"--and her wistful expression as he moves off through the crowd: "The girl is obviously out of her mind with lust." A site pretending to be Monica's home page (this one isn't out to deceive a soul) makes her a total Southern California teen, whose favorite TV show is "BEVERLY HILLS 90210 (WHAT ELSE? - BRANDON IS SOOOOO CUTE!!)."
Vulnerable Ingénue: "Your [sic] young and were taken advantage of as far as I see it. I know you will do the right thing. I know you fear for your safety but be brave and do the right thing," says one concerned supporter in the letters section of the Monica Lewinsky Online Fan Club.
Slightly Clueless Betrayed Friend: The fan club, whose support is clearly less than 100-percent sincere--"Don't worry about the blown job with Revlon ..."--includes a "Linda Tripp" section, which attacks Linda in no uncertain terms but also portrays Monica as a dupe:
What kind of person tape records a "friend" without them knowing it? What if this "friend" then uses these tapes to put you in the international spotlight, facing federal criminal charges, as well as ensuring your place in the history books as the penultimate stupid bimbo?
Why, that is no friend at all! Better pick better friends next time, Monica, especially in the big city!
The site then imagines what might have become of Lewinsky if Tripp hadn't tattled:
[Y]ou would probably be traipsing through New York right now, enjoying many misadventures, like a latter-day Ann Marie, Marlo Thomas' character from the 1966-1971 TV sitcom That Girl. Why, there is even a resemblance!
Jared Hohlt is an editor at New York magazine.