Men and scandals. Now there’s a topic to mine.
Men and sex scandals. Nearly synonymous with the former.
I think I could write all night and day about the number of prominent men who have brought about their own downfalls by their sexual misdeeds. I’ll keep it short.
Last week the awful stories about the head of the International Monetary Fund attacking a maid in a New York hotel was a painful episode. Infidelity is one thing—assault is quite another. Then followed quickly the Schwarzenegger announcement of an out-of-wedlock son. Gasp—the Governator cheated on Maria?
In the wake of these stories, Time Magazine’s cover read “What Makes Powerful Men Act Like Pigs”, to which the ever-witty Roxanne Roberts responded (on the best hour of radio of the week: Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me on NPR) (yes, remember—nerdissimo here) that there was no reason to badmouth pigs.
So, need we recap the famous and powerful men who have self-destructed on the basis of their inability to control their sexual urges? Sure, why not?
To name a few, let’s start with John Edwards. I used to think he was a highly principled man of good character, a man who stood up for the little guy and wanted to narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots. Lesson to be learned? --don’t rely on me for a judge of character. I missed that one by a mile. Bad enough he cheated on his wife (and kids), then he lied about it for a protracted period of time, and denied being the father of a child who he now acknowledges is his. Meanwhile, his wife of twenty-plus years was dying of cancer. Criminy, John—you’re pathetic.
Tiger Woods—the serial philanderer, no—make that multi-philanderer, or serial/multi-philanderer. Am I the only one who lost track of the number of women he was involved with? This guy was on top of the world career-wise, had a gorgeous wife and kids, and threw it away. Now he can’t seem to get his game back, lost his family, lost his endorsements and the respect of the general public. Really, Tiger—for what? You were a guy who seemed to have his moral compass straight. Your parents brought you up with solid values and a strong ethical base. What happened?
Then we can go on to people like Senator David Vitter (R-LA) who was on the D.C. “Madam” list, and acknowledged that he was a customer of the call girls. There’s New York congressman Christopher Lee who had to resign over e-mailing a shirtless photo of himself to a woman who was, sadly, not his wife.
There’s the history of Wayne Hays, Wilbur Mills, Gary Hart, Bob Packwood, Gary Condit, Jack Ryan, Mark Foley, Elliot Spitzer, John Ensign, Mark Sanford (remember the “Appalachian Trail” story?), and of course, the sad impeachment of an otherwise distinguished president, Bill Clinton. Gosh, and I nearly forgot Larry Craig, known for his “wide stance” in the men’s room.
So what can we learn from all this?
Well, now there’s an article in the paper about New York congressman Anthony Weiner (D) sending a “lewd” photo of himself via Twitter to a 21-year old college student. Female. Weiner claims that someone hacked into his account and did this without his knowledge.
It’s hard to know what to think. His gender has set him up to make us doubtful of his claims of innocence. But it’s still possible that he has been wronged, and was set up by a cretinous hacker. We are not here to judge, after all.
But I am reminded of a line from an old tv show from the ‘80s. A father was lamenting the fact that his daughter, Rita, was a slut. His friend tried to console him with the line, “You name a daughter ‘Rita’—what do you expect?”
I just wish his name was not Weiner.