Everyone has a chance!

Wes Bucey

As I post this, I am the only registered visitor in the Cove! I came across this item and just had to share it with someone!
From Thong to Thesis: Monica Lewinsky Flashes Her Intellect
By Libby Copeland
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 24, 2006

There are moments that make you question your fundamental assumptions about the world. One of them took place a few days ago, when news emerged that Monica Lewinsky had just graduated from the London School of Economics.

She did not!!

More than just an infamous face. (By Peter Kramer -- Getty Images)

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.

For example, dumb-but-smart: Ashton Kutcher! Majored in biochemical engineering in college. (Huh?)

And: Jessica Simpson, who famously didn't know the difference between tuna and chicken, and posited that buffalo wings are made from buffalo. Simpson's mother once told Vanity Fair that her daughter has "this, like, 160 IQ And, you know, that's, like, a genius level."

Like, no way.

We all know a dumb-but-smart person -- the airheaded clotheshorse who holds an Ivy league PhD; the mulleted townie who grows up to be a Wall Street tycoon. These people are smart in spite of themselves. At high school reunions, the pleasure of looking better than a former flame is completely undone by the mysterious success of the dumb-but-smarts, who seem too stupid even to appreciate their own unlikely journeys.

The dumb-but-smart type is especially common for women in the celebrity realm, where stupidity has historically been as much of an asset for women as double D's. Often it's a put-on -- smart comedians like Lucille Ball and Goldie Hawn have played up their ditsiness for humorous effect. As for men, figures like Flavor Flav, Steven Seagal and Ted Nugent come across as a few sandwiches short of a picnic; they qualify as dumb-but-smart only because we imagine they must possess some business acumen to have gotten as far as they have.

(The celebrity world is so diverse and accepting it also makes room for the just-plain-dumb. We are thinking now of Kevin Federline and Anna Nicole Smith. But that's a whole 'nother picnic.)

The dumb-but-smart type exists in politics, too. Some people might argue that our current president falls into the category of dumb-but-smart. We're going to gently sidestep that argument.

But Dan "potatoe" Quayle is a good example. It is easy to remember his dumb moments, but it's its also worth recalling that Quayle earned a law degree and was the youngest-ever senator from Indiana when he was elected. These are accomplishments that require -- at the very least -- emotional intelligence and some intellectual capacity, if not the genius of, say, Jessica Simpson.

President Clinton, meanwhile, seems more like a smart guy who does stupid things than a stupid guy who does smart things. We'll call this category smart-but-dumb. American history is replete with examples of people like him, bright people prone to idiotic behavior. The invasion of the Bay of Pigs is an example of what happens when smart people make dumb decisions. Also, "Ishtar."

As for Lewinsky, perhaps we should not be surprised by her spanking new degree. After all, she made a name for herself by accomplishing the unexpected. Back in the day, when she skyrocketed to notoriety as a young intern who'd had an affair with the president, people's reactions were the same as they are now.

She did not!!

Gert Sorensen

Forum Moderator
Nice one Wes, I think there is a basis for applying Howard Gardners theory of the 8 different intellegences here.... All though I am not quite sure which one Ms Lewinsky has....

Have a brilliant holiday :bigwave:
The dumbest person I ever worked with at the managerial level was also the one with the most impressive list of academic credentials.
The dumbest person I ever worked with at the managerial level was also the one with the most impressive list of academic credentials.
I hear you, and the opposite is often equally true: I met a couple of really bright sparks with no formal training what so ever... They were Masaii, in Kenya.



Staff member
Do you know what's really sad? Of all the thesis/dissertations titles I have heard, hers actually sounds like one that might interest me :)

In high-profile cases, how do people really get impartial juries? And.. do we really get jurors of our peers??

As far as popular folks: It is interesting to look at how people act/perform, how they conduct their own business affairs, and what degree/pedigree they have. Many times, like Jim suggested, there are striking differences, both directions.

Remember Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse? The martial arts-bouncer who traveled with his medical history file, and touted a PhD from New York University? I kinda liked the movie, but reaaallly young people in movies with PhD's are a bit out of credibility for me. Maybe a Masters degree from Online U is believable! :lol:

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Sounds like a good thesis, but there's a problem. No matter how brilliantly she writes and regardless of how smart she may be (if it's possible), she'll find it hard to be taken seriously. And deservedly so.

Maybe her problem was not lack of brains but a lack of couth; maybe her great sin is being the spoiled and unprincipled darling of priviledge. Whatever the case, that's going to be one heavy piece of baggage to carry around.


Staff member
Super Moderator
She had certainly gone through very much more in life than anybody her age.

While others wrote of 'Ifs and What if' - hypothetical, she's in a position to write about what happened (hypothesis put into practice becomes theory/facts). Not surprise if she gets good grades for it.

No matter how brilliantly she writes and regardless of how smart she may be (if it's possible), she'll find it hard to be taken seriously.
That's a social problem - guilty before being proven so or 'speculation'.

And deservedly so.
That's the general reaction but to be fair to her, one needs to be there to really understand the situation and make judgement.

It's nothing wrong to be naive or to have weaknesses but it is a crime to exploit others weakness.

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
She's been through a lot, but brought it upon herself in my view. Her burdens are not more troublesome than the troubles borne by crowds of people her age and less.

She's only proven herself guilty of having exploited a weakness in a person in a position of power. For what aims beyond girlish silliness I will not guess, and the cause of her lack of workplace presence is not at issue. The result is yet to be determined by time. For the sake of avoiding political discourse I'll refrain from saying more.


Staff member
Good thoughts. However, I find myself siding with Jennifer. Yes, it is a social pre-judgement. But sometimes they will be made, most of the time with good basis. Consider O.J. Simpsons latest book fiasco. He was....after all... found not guilty in a court of law? Why all the flack? Why are we being so hard on him??