Nothing drives a good, gripping Yankee scandal like the sex angle. Ken Lay and his Enron dweebs, or Bernie Madoff, King Ponzi fleecing zillions from his socialite pals? So what! The ever-obliging US justice system makes sure that they achieve the near-ultimate in criminal sentence deterrence nirvana, the somber judicial pronouncement that makes any true citizen burst with pride knowing their courts are on the job… “Sir, you will die in prison”, a result not to be confused with sentencing perfection for the most odious perps – execution. Money scandals are so boring and predictable that way.
Ah, but sex! The pause that refreshes for your highly strung, driven, patriotic, high flyer. I mean, a man’s just gotta have it every now and then. John Edwards, Gary Hart, Newt, Rudy G, a raft of other losers in the trust and fidelity sweepstakes, even ol’ Blue Eyes himself, once and future King William of Arkansas…nothing like sex on the sly to loose the baying media hounds.
I have often thought that jealousy was the true press motive in the philanderer evisceration protocol, and the neutron bomb collateral damage for the affected family that the inevitable balanced news reports lend to these contretemps. You can hear the little journalistic wheels grinding slow – “He’s famous, powerful, and he makes more money than me….I’ll show him!” And the discerning American public goes for it every time. Last week CIA Director David Petraeus was given the bum’s rush for getting his little soldier involved with his exceedingly devoted biographer. ‘Security breach’, ‘disgrace’, and ‘conduct unbecoming’ the phrases attached to the now-disgraced head spy.
Funny thing – in a nation where the divorce rate exceeds 40 percent, marital fidelity might be as honored in the breach as in the observance. I am no fan of cheatin’ hearts and pitiful rationalizations, but if private life is truly one’s own preserve, the good general could frolic nightly with a troupe of transgendered dwarfs for all I care – is he keeping the nation safe? Is the CIA discharging its obligations to the American public? If not, and the biographer knows more than she ought? Run his ass out of office, and run him to Leavenworth if he passed along state secrets in the boudoir. But only then.
Image: Frederick Humphries posing with target dummies following a SWAT practice; this is the “shirtless image” alluded to in the investigation into emails that led to David Petraeus’ resignation.