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December 24, 2006
A Little Holiday Snark For Monica

Even eight years after her stained blue dress made international headlines and almost destroyed Bill Clinton's presidency, Monica Lewinsky still inspires some of the silliest commentary across the political spectrum. Today's example appears in the Washington Post, where Libby Copeland uses Lewinsky's award of a post-graduate degree as an occasion for a large dose of holiday snark:

Lewinsky, 33, is known more for her audacious coquetry than for her intellectual heft, and the notion of her earning a master of science degree in social psychology at the prestigious London university is jarring, akin to finding a rip in the time-space continuum, or discovering that Kim Jong Il is a natural blond.

Even more staggering, the same bubbly gal who once described the act of flashing her thong at the president as a "small, subtle, flirtatious gesture" has now written a lofty-sounding thesis. Its title, according to Reuters: "In Search of the Impartial Juror: An Exploration of the Third Person Effect and Pre-Trial Publicity."

Monica! We hardly knew ye!

A revelation on this order suggests Lewinsky belongs to a fascinating subspecies, dumb-but-smart. Dumb-but-smart folks defy our low expectations. They appear dull or ditzy but possess unpredictable pockets of intelligence.

I'm wondering if Copeland herself doesn't belong in this category -- perhaps, say, as an example of a journalist who manages to get a job with one of the premier newspapers in the world despite her obvious lack of news judgment. For that matter, perhaps her editor is another example.

For the record, though, it follows the same pattern of attack that the cogniscenti have used on Monica for the past eight years, and not just on Monica. It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to all of the women who have been associated, willingly or unwillingly, with Bill Clinton. In this world, Monica is a bubbleheaded stalker, Paula Jones was trailer trash, Gennifer Flowers was a whore, and so on. Somehow the likes of Libby Copeland never ask about the one figure that links all of these together -- Bill himself -- and ask whether the criticism should be directed more towards him than the women around him.

That doesn't absolve Lewinsky from all responsibility for the affair. She knew he was married, knew he had a high-profile job, and knew that any publicity surrounding an affair would rebound terribly on them both (or at least should have known that). However foolish she may have been, though, she was just 21 at the time and understandably star-struck. Furthermore, it wasn't Monica who took and violated vows of marriage, and neither was it Flowers, and however more there may be.

Lewinsk acted foolishly, partly out of her own desire for Clinton and partly out of his seduction of her. That doesn't make her the poster child for stupidity, but Copeland certainly does her best to sell that. Smart people do dumb things, and they learn from them, especially when they're 21. Painting her as an idiot just savant enough to get a graduate degree from the London School of Economics sounds like a parody of journalism, and it should be, except that Copeland apparently needed to fill a couple of column-inches on Christmas Eve.

Perhaps at some point in the future, people will gather all of the reporting and commentary on the women associated with Bill Clinton and see a pattern -- a pattern of attack intended to protect the man who really deserved the criticism instead. I doubt Copeland has the intelligence to write that story. (via Memeorandum)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 24, 2006 10:25 AM

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» Lewinsky: “Dumb-but-Smart” from The American Mind
Monica Lewinsky’s graduate degree is the subject of a Washington Post essay. Libby Copeland (catching up to TAM) writes about it and calls her a “dumb-but-smart” person. She’s shocked Lewinsky earned a masters from the London Sc... [Read More]

Tracked on December 24, 2006 1:27 PM

» She Wasn't The Dumb One from Joust The Facts
Libby Copeland writes in the Washington Post today with the news that ditzy Monica Lewinsky received an advanced degree at the London School of Economics, and officially inducts her into the dumb but smart Hall of Fame.A revelation on this [Read More]

Tracked on December 25, 2006 11:00 AM


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