I heard a 45 minute interview with Monica Lewinsky talking to TED’s Chris Anderson on BBC Radio 4 over the weekend, and have listened to it another two times out walking. I recommend it. Highly.

Man, I am so impressed with how this woman has integrated her life experiences and come to an understanding of how to tread a path forward, and share an important message.

It’s here at the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0007j4f  (I listened on the iPlayer Radio app which us non-UK-based listeners are left to, instead of the BBC Sounds app.)

What she says about the unintended consequences and effects of public shaming via the internet (the web and social media’s ability to shame someone to death) reminded me of this comment, which I shared here in 2015, coincidentally:

On three occasions during my ‘career’ as an online critic and avenging angel I have deliberately pulled back from castigating a ‘target’.
In all three cases, I became concerned at what appeared to me to be the real possibility that the person whose actions and modus operandi I was criticising might do themselves physical harm as a result of the stress they were experiencing in response to my criticism…

If anything, since then, I’ve become more sensitive to this issue, and the risks. And, to a certain extent (but not completely), I’ve lost my appetite for the bombastic calling-out of scumbags.
I have cited this wise saying before: “Don’t argue with an idiot. People watching might not be able to tell the difference.”

See what you get from the interview.


Oh, it’s also well worth watching her 2015 TED Talk. Impressive.


“Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop,” says Monica Lewinsky.
In 1998, she says, “I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.” Today, the kind of online public shaming she went through has become constant — and can turn deadly. In a brave talk, she takes a hard look at our online culture of humiliation, and asks for a different way.

Archive copy of the TED interview: Monica Lewinsky and Chris Anderson (13MB MP3 file) here.