20 April 2010

An amusing conversation gone awry after many minutes of analysis

Somehow the topic of our glorious former President Clinton's infidelities arises. Which gives the opportunity to apply the wisdom of Dave Chappelle: "That's a hard thing to be famous for.... He is a famous man. I never understand how famous a President was but imagine being so famous that someone could suck your dick and they'd be famous. That's crazy"

It occurs to me now that we've had a line of dozens of minor to major scandals involving sex, or prostitution or mistresses and affairs in the past few years. And despite these being some relatively famous people (Tiger Woods, Eliot Spitzer, Gov Sanford, Sens Ensign and Edwards, etc), I noticed something. I don't know who they're running around with. The names just don't come out. I am vaguely aware at times who their wronged wives are, and certainly afterward the new versions of Hillary Clinton (Jenny Sanford, Elin Woods, Elizabeth Edwards) become household names, but I could not name anybody who their husbands had affairs with since the Clintonian episode. This, I decided, was curious that aside from probably learning far more than I will ever need or want to know about the world of high priced mistresses or prostitutes, I learned next nothing about the actual people involved. Not even names and faces.

There was a flip side to this. For the most part I only learn the names and faces of famous women's husbands when they run around (with the possible exception of Brad Pitt). I follow mostly sports and politics, so I'm vaguely aware that Jennie Finch is married to a baseball player, I have some idea that Mia Hamm was married to Nomar, but I cannot recall the last prominent female politician that I could tell you who they were married to (Sarah Palin does not count. I think she's an "entertainer" and not a meaningful political figure). It's an odd sort of dichotomy that women can manage the private lives of their spouses in a very public profession with a lot more dignity and privacy and that this seems to carry over into other industries such as movies. I couldn't have told you who Sandra Bullock was married to until David Brooks took it upon himself to declare that winning an Oscar was practically meaningless next to sticking out a marriage with someone who appears to be a scumbag attached to his penis. I suppose if I followed entertainment this might have been more well known. But it's not like he was some big star and they were in a very public situation of overexposure as a couple so far as I could tell. Looked like she kept making a series of relatively quick buck silly films centered around a formula of light comedy romances and that was pretty much all I knew. That's pretty much all we needed to know really. Much as I see the craving for information and saturation concerning the private lives of famous people, those are, so far as I can see, private lives.

So what explains this series of random thoughts
1) Women are, so far as we know, less likely to have ridiculous stories like "hiking on the Appalachian trail". When they are famous and their husbands aren't, we won't hear about their husbands much as a result. This is probably why the Pitt-Jolie-Aniston triangle was news for way too long because it sort of went around this paradigm.
2) Men are, when famous and powerful, still liable to have ridiculous stories. I suppose they are just as likely to have ridiculous stories when they aren't famous and powerful, but nobody cares then (unless they are attached to a woman of some power and fame).
3) It seems like media saturation from the Clinton years may have inured me against identifying the prime suspects in these cases and caring much of anything about them.
4) I still live in a world that pretends that people's private lives should probably be private if they wish to do so. I can understand the process of "acting" or politics and the desire by people in those industries to close off portions of their lives. I expect there are lots of introverted people who do share this sentiment and who are frustrated with these extroverted busybodies who want to know everything.
5) Actual sex-related scandals began to occur and be reported on where the parties involved, that is the people who some powerful male had sex with, were genuinely harmed by the experience. Church abuses by clergy or Roman Polanski's "arrest" for example. These pretty much took care of the interest in affairs where the only parties harmed were private parties who were not privy to all of their partner's private consorts, probably on the assumption that they were the only one. I suppose I should state these are horrible, unpleasant and genuinely unhappy occasions for the people involved. But if nobody was molested or forced to have sex against their will, I'm not sure what our nosing around is accomplishing other than to provide a few punchlines.

On the plus side, it doesn't look like these mistresses and consorts get as famous anymore. That or I became very, very, bored with the people who think they should be. Either way, I win. I guess.
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