Review of the Tripp-Lewinsky tapes: “A psychological story about women’s friendship”

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on Impeachment: American Criminal History and in real life, Linda Tripp was tempted to tape her friend up Monica Lewinsky for a complicated hodgepodge of political and personal reasons: their dissatisfaction with Bill ClintonThe White House and the suspicion of Vince Foster’s death, her feeling of impotence in a lifelong civil servant career, her Desire writing a book, and their growing frustration with the blatant abuse of power by the president in his relationship with Lewinsky, the 24-year-old former White House intern.

And in the aftermath of Tuesday evening from Impeachment proceedings, “The telephone hour”, after some advice from a literary agent Lucianne Goldberg (Margo Martindale), Sarah Paulson‘s Linda Tripp finally drives to RadioShack, buys the infamous tape recorder and begins to document her private conversations with Lewinsky (Feldstein cap) as evidence.

To the Impeachment proceedings Writer / producer Flora pear tree– the daughter of a psychologist – the episode was a dream job. The first three episodes of the series extended to introduce a cast of key characters with competing agendas – between Bill Clinton and his White House advisors; Paula Jones and like the conservatives Ann Coulter and George Conway who promoted their suit from the wings; Goldberg in her own conservative quest; and news aggregator Matt Drudge in its ruthless mission to exhaust traditional media. “But when you get to episode four,” says Birnbaum Vanity fair, “It really is a psychological story of female friendship and betrayal.”

The episode represents dramatic climaxes and everyday moments of the approx. 20 hours of conversations that Tripp secretly recorded – with Lewinsky oscillating between desperation and need, depending on her latest message from Clinton. The episode also includes conversations that Tripp had with Goldberg (which Tripp also recorded and which is also critical source material for Impeachment proceedings‘s writer) in which she vacillates between self-righteousness in her deception and guilt.

To better understand the way of thinking of Tripp and Lewinsky, Impeachment proceedings‘s authors and researchers created a master timeline – they recorded the women’s conversations with every Lewinsky’s interaction with Clinton, every relevant development in Tripp’s and Lewinsky’s life, and other relevant events in Clinton’s presidency. This matrix threw a critical light and a contextual perspective on the recorded conversations and Tripp’s inner struggle with himself during this deception.

“It would be easy to tell if you think of Linda as purely intent on betraying Monica,” says Birnbaum. “But if you listen to the tapes [with Goldberg], you get the scope and complexity of the narrative. Yes, this is a woman who has her own agenda and wants to write a book…. But the recorded footage also shows that Linda is walking back and forth – not exactly sure whether she wants to divulge the information, whether she decides whether it is worth it, and then justifies it to herself. “

The episode jumps Monday-like from one recorded conversation between Tripp and Lewinsky (and also between Tripp and Goldberg) to the next – and Birnbaum says that she used the actual transcripts for the dialogue when possible. But the producer was just as interested in the subtext; As Birnbaum listened to the actual conversations, she noticed that over time and the recordings, Tripp was getting more and more excited about Lewinsky – a sign for Birnbaum that her deception was taking a personal toll.

“Now and again [Tripp] gets more and more angry during the phone calls and suddenly snaps at Monica, ”says Birnbaum. “As she gets closer and closer to this betrayal, she seems psychologically fragmented as she does the most bizarre things and everywhere. I don’t think she consciously sensed that because she’s not outwardly emotional, but I think subconsciously she was a bit tormented by what she was doing … The lawyer had was that the tapes were wrongly labeled. She was just in complete disarray, psychologically and mentally. “

In a foresight Impeachment proceedings Conversation between Tripp and Goldberg, Goldberg suggests that Tripp consider the impact of their tape recordings on Lewinsky in terms of public humiliation and professional impact. Paulson’s Tripp waves it away and tells Goldberg that Lewinsky is not like other 20-year-olds – she’s a 20-year-old with a family from Beverly Hills. Tripp falsely theorizes that any tabloid press attention will be a short chapter in Lewinsky’s privileged life – another explanation Birnbaum says she drew from Tripp’s real-life conversations.

“There was an interesting dynamic in their relationship – and one that I don’t think we see much of – which is an older woman who comes from a lower background and believes that a younger woman who has more economic privileges , will be fine because of this privilege, ”emphasizes Birnbaum. “She’s really looking for a narrative justification to do this thing that she knows is terrible.”

Birnbaum hadn’t listened to the Lewinsky-Tripp tapes before starting work Impeachment proceedings, and regards her new perspective – in a more nuanced post # MeToo world – as a bonus.

“When I listened to the tapes, I only heard very relatable female conversations that I had had with my sister or friends about what was happening in our lives and that felt deeply human and tragic at the same time,” says Birnbaum. “These lines of communication are very important for women who work in systems that often work against them…. The tapes are such an intense depiction of women trying to understand their roles in a system where they feel powerless…. The ribbons are really the best artifact of female friendship there is. “


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