Monica Lewinsky Gives Her First Public Speech In 16 Years And Says Exactly What Needs To Be Said

So yeah, that's what guts looks like. And pro-tip: bullying, shaming and blaming the victim? Always wrong.

Monica was compelled to break her long silence because of her work with the Tyler Clementi Foundation. Please give them a look. They do absolutely wonderful work. Same with The Trevor Project. Also The BULLY Project. Also StopBullying.gov.


The reason Monica was able to survive two years of constant emotional assault was the rock-solid support from her family and friends. But there are many out there who don't have that, and they need help right now.


UPDATE: Since this piece was posted on Facebook, I've seen a number of ... let's say "misguided" comments about Lewinsky's motives and past actions. The comments are, for the most part, all basically the same. So here it is, folks:

THE OFFICIAL MONICA LEWINSKY FAQ — LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT


1. Monica Lewinsky? That’s so '90s. Why should I care?

Because she's a human being with feelings who was silenced and shamed for years and is finally speaking out about what she went through. There's a lot we can learn from her.


2. Monica Lewinsky?! Hahahaha. Cigars! Blue dress! Hahahaha!

Nope. Not clever. Try again. Actually, please don’t try again.


3. So I just watched the video and um, no. She wasn’t bullied.

You're right. "Bullying" is a completely insufficient word to describe the aggressive smear campaign of slut shaming, victim blaming, fat shaming, sexual harassment, and general reputation destruction she endured from the likes of The Drudge Report. And The New York Post, who labeled her “The Portly Pepperpot.” And Jay Leno, who made fun of her basically every night. And Maureen Dowd, who called her “ditsy” and “tubby.” And Congress. And Ken Starr. And your uncle at Thanksgiving. And, you know, like everyone on Earth for two years straight. So yeah, definitely way more than bullying.


4. But she brought it on herself! She didn’t have to have an affair with Bill Clinton! She made that choice.

Monica Lewinsky was a 22-year-old intern. Bill Clinton was the president of the United States of America. In addition to being the most powerful man in the world, he was also her boss. That’s the craziest, most effed-up power differential possible. Here's a good example of how and why such advances from a employer on a subordinate can be so poisonous. And here's a good example of how otherwise intelligent people still so often do not get it.


5. But I love Bill Clinton! I have such a crush on him.

That’s OK. You still can. Sometimes people we like do messed-up things, and that’s life.


6. But I’m mad at her because he’s so great, and she makes me doubt that!

Don’t be mad at her. It’s not her fault. Please see above.


7. But she cheated! She’s a cheater.

Well, you’re half-right. He cheated, and he’s a cheater. She was single. So, actually, come to think of it, you’re none right.


8. But what does any of this have to do with anything now? This all happened so long ago.

It still matters as long as powerful people are having relationships with their subordinates and all we can focus on is how it’s really the subordinates' fault, despite the fact that they’re in a place of no power. Which definitely didn’t stop with Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.


9. But, but, but, I still have all this undifferentiated anger and NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!!

There there. It’s going to be OK.

It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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