August 8th, 2008

“I could cite such eternally elusive mysteries as beauty, generosity, sexuality, insecurity, fidelity, jealousy, loneliness, and on and on, making sure not to leave out the wonderful tingling of two souls that we curiously call ‘chemistry’, and that the French, even more curiously, describe as avoir des atomes crochus, which means having atoms that are hooked together.” — Douglas Hofstatder in I am a Strange Loop.

Two years ago John Edwards and Rielle Hunter’s atoms crocheted, the upshot being today’s headlines. That this news is of urgency to the hundreds of millions beyond the Edwards/Hunter family circles is just another sad commentary on America’s Hooked-On-Values way of living. I should say way of living everybody else’s life.

John Edwards had an affair and apparently told his wife about it at the time. No reason to suspect otherwise, although lying is the norm — and may even be the right thing to do.

The thing that interests me is that the emotion, lust, is clearly chemical. And while it is useful to subdue it in most instances outside of one’s marriage, it is a bodily imperative. An appetite that can be overcome, but not ignored. An acceptable substitute, according to most non-religious family counselors, would be fantasy — either solo or a deux.

Consider another emotion. Anger. And with it, not the fight-or-flight syndrome, but just the fight side of things. You swing, kick, bite, whatever you have to do. In most households — unless it’s an everyday thing — it’s forgiven. Usually it’s encouraged, either actively or tacitly. I’m fine with that, too.

Now let’s think of the kind of man who wants to fight, but wants proxies to do the fighting. To make matters worse, he struts as though he bravely put himself in mortal danger. Well, we all know who that is. Nevertheless, we as a nation accepted it. One of our presidential candidates applauds it.

Can you imagine the pride we would have had if George W. had challenged Saddam Hussein to a fist fight? In the name of both national and personal honor. We would have rallied around him, cheered him. If he clobbered Saddam, we’d have been ecstatic. If Saddam had whipped him, we’d have admired W. for putting his own head on the block.

I don’t think anger was W’s operative emotion. I think it was disdain. The body language is different. Anger is whole body, disdain is simply a sneer.

Lust is, of course, whole body, too — but in America it has to be so much more disguised than the negative emotions.

How would George W. Bush give into lust for a woman other than his wife? Would he go out and fuck her? Or would he just send a nation of young people out to do his fucking for him?

10 Responses to “Infidelity.”

  1. JamieJobb Says:

    Let’s review your final paragraph from Pelosi’s perspective:

    !. Do it himself — on the table?
    2. Send the young to do it — off the table!

    Now I get it!

  2. Batshir Torchio Says:

    How’d you move so seamlessly from Edwards’ affair to a Bush and Hussein fist fight? Brilliant. I’d be curious to see how many degrees of separation would come up between John Edwards and Sadam Hussein on Wikipedia.

  3. Michael Phillips Says:

    Your blindness is absurd.

    I looked for your comments on the New York Times front page lede story on McCain’s alleged mistress, which turned out to be false and uncorroborated.

    For Edward’s confirmed mistress, cover-up, lies and dying wife, you blame the press and the American people.

    For you, the world is so black and white and blinded by left wing bigoted ideology there is no reason for your eyes to ever open in the morning.

  4. Fred Wickham Says:

    Michael — You made a list of things for which I blame the press and the American people — among them is Edward’s dying wife. Wow.

    As far as blaming the American people, I was speaking of the Bush administrations lies and said “we went along with it.”

    And expecting me to write about McCain’s alleged mistress. I didn’t even know about that. Am I remiss somehow? But no thanks — his affairs or non-affairs should be between he and his wife as well.

  5. Margie Says:

    WRITE on, Fred!

  6. EmilyD Says:

    You GO Fred!!!

    That this news is of urgency to the hundreds of millions beyond the Edwards/Hunter family circles is just another sad commentary on America’s Hooked-On-Values way of living. I should say way of living everybody else’s life.

    You really nailed our culture with this statement. We’re so busy looking over everyone else’s shoulders that we’re missing out on living our own lives. LOOK IN THE MIRROR AMERICA!

  7. Jean McKenzie Says:

    Great article Fred. Your blind left-wing bigoted ideology makes me nostalgic for the good ole days when the media kept our “Hooked-On-Values” culture saturated for months with another president’s embarrasingly bad personal behavior. oh, how I miss all that moral outrage, the weighing and evaluating of moral turpitude, the wrongness of him and the rightness of us! and especially…those juicy details. I only wish that John Edwards could inspire that same arousing sense of self righteousness, and once again galvanize all that religious shame over your aforementioned body imperatives and lust and chemicals, into the one true expression of our national sexuality — that of (fervently) peeking through the keyhole.

    By the way, wasn’t there was a president back in the seventies who DID actually send all the young people out to fuck? My memories of those days are so unclear…

  8. Sylvia Says:

    OK. So, here’s the thing, it seems to me. I could not care less what John Edwards does in his personal life, I am not interested in the sex lives of people I don’t know and am not involved with. And i hate the sanctimoniousness the whole idea that’s it’s anyone’s business who has sex with whom
    American politicians tout their family lives as selling points for how great they themselves are. And they know that our press loves a sex scandal more than anything. I’m just waiting for the time when candidates and others will take a stand and say “that’s private. I don’t answer questions about my private life.” Ideally they’d say this when they were being asked about how they raised their kids, or met their spouse, or something less charged than accusations of adultery. But really, you can’t capitalize on how great your marriage is and then be upset when it’s exposed as less than pristine. Furthermore the argument that the politicians who get caught doing stuff like this show bad judgement has some merit. They know what kind of environment they are working in, and they choose to think they can do stupid stuff any way. And don’t you just love him saying he didn’t LOVE her. Gad zooks
    Also, this scandal effectively removes him from his position as an advocate for the poor, and etc. that’s a real shame.
    all in all, I don’t care what he did, it’s just that doing it was stupider than it would be for a man not in the public eye.

  9. fwickham Says:

    Sylvia –

    I think you nailed it: “But really, you
    can’t capitalize on how great your marriage is and then be upset when it’s exposed
    as less than pristine.”

  10. Nancy Mc Says:

    Gail Collins and Maureen Dowd really went hog wild on him in their columns.

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