From the moment online gossip-meister Matt Drudge scooped way-old media outlets with the alleged affair between Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, the juicy story was white-hot on the Web. On Fox News online, for example, page views spiked to a high of 2.6 million, overtaking the high of 2.3 million drawn by Princess Diana’s death. While sex-obsessed rubberneckers, friend-slash-back stabber Linda Tripp, and the President himself should be credited for Lewinsky’s instant notoriety, the quirky ingenuity of Web-page makers transformed the Beltway underling into a full-fledged celebrity virtually overnight.
The myriad sites devoted to the ultimate Valley Girl range from the sophomoric to the salacious to the downright pornographic. Zippergate: The Monica Lewinsky Scandal Web Site (http://www.btlarkin.com/monica) poses the question “Is she a Victim, a Patsy, or a Psychotic?” and encourages Web surfers to draw their own conclusions. The Monica Lewinsky Homepage (http://www.angelfire.com/mi/Lewinsky/index.html) is written in what is purportedly her voice and features a daily news leak, but it’s doubtful that she’d really link her own website — and direct its visitors — to the Naked Mile, an Internet tribute to streaking.
Many of the Monica-moniker sites include that ubiquitous Lewinsky ID photo, with her toothy smile and chunky bangs, looking like the sorority sister next door. For other images of the Web’s It Girl, go to Totally Butchen Home Page (home.earthlink.net/~photo mate/lewinsky.html), Monica Lewinsky Photo Analysis (http://www.ntecha.com/cary/photoanal.htm), or the I Love Monica Lewinsky homepage (home.earthlink.net/~brainiac1/index.html), which boasts, “I have more pictures of Monica than any other site on the Net” — including a doctored partial-nude photo.
Cheap shots can be had at The InterActive President (http://www.clintonlewinsky.com), where a mouse click arouses an underwear-clad Chief Executive from…sleep. Quite appropriately, the drama’s wire-wearing double agent is celebrated at her namesake domain, Linda Tripp.Com (http://www.lindatripp.com), which commands, “An American hero or lousy friend…you decide!” There’s even a cogent essay on President Clinton’s Allegations of Sexual Misconduct (http://www.submission.org/sexual.html) from, of all things, an Islamic perspective.
In the real world’s spotlight, the scandal’s bloom may have already begun to fade in favor of the next rumor du jour. But on the Web, Monica mania continues apace and will last as long as the HTML files linger on servers somewhere in the cyberether. Which means Lewinsky’s 15 minutes of fame may end up lasting a very, very long time.