Don't Cry for Me South Carolina (Mark Sanford)
Here I thought all these sex scandals were going to end with Monica Lewinsky. I don't know what to make of Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina, or any of the many politicians who have gotten caught up in these things. I'd say only a fool would claim that it's a Republican or a Democratic or a liberal vs. conservative thing to get caught in a sex scandal. The only difference is that when the Democrats get caught, they either get impeached, resign, or otherwise lose their jobs. For some odd reason, the Republicans do a better job of staying in office after they confess. Even Larry Craig managed to stay in office until he termed out.
One of the odd things to me isn't partisan at all. It's how we consider it a major scandal when politicians get caught in affairs, but when other celebrities whether it's entertainers or athletes get caught up in these things it's just part of the deal. I don't now Jennifer Aniston, but she seemed nice enough. Her husband Brad Pitt gets involved with Angelina Jolie and a few years it's all just something to be expected. Aniston made a hit movie with a dog. Jolie and Pitt both got nominated for Oscars. They're flourishing We don't exactly forget the “affair” thing, but we see the making of movies or celebrity as somehow independent of adultery at least enough so that we don't stop watching Angelina Jolie movies because she maybe stole Brad. Several months ago, it came out that Roger Clemens had an affair with singer Mindy Macready, likely when she was underage. A few years before that Barry Bonds's mistress wrote a tell all book. What lingered? It was the whole steroids thing. You can cheat on your wife if you're an athlete, you just can't cheat in the sport.
Politics is the opposite. Did anyone know who Senator Ensign was.? Even though it wasn't that long ago and it got a fair amount of publicity, does anyone remember that Mark Sanford was the governor who tried to refuse stimulus money? Let's put this another way. Did it matter that Elliot Spitzer was the prosecutor who took on fraud on Wall Street even a little before it became so fashionable. Not that it mattered. We couldn't have a governor who would pay for hookers. What's happened in America that we now seem to care more about who our leaders screw at night than whether or not they're screwing us or helping us in their day jobs?
Sure, sometimes the sex stuff slips over into your actual job like when you give your girlfriend and her husband jobs and contracts or in one case your boyfriend. At the same time, that pales in comparison to Dick Cheney getting out of office and saying “Sure, we never though Iraq had anything to do with 9/11” or learning that the administration was torturing people even though they were getting memos about torture not exactly producing reliable information anyway. Shouldn't we notice that sort of thing instead? It's certainly interesting to find out that Mark Sanford was doing bad things in Argentina, but why is that the bigger news story? I mean which one gets you to the front of the line to hell faster? I started a war for the hell of it and ruined my country's economy in the process or I cheated on my wife in Argentina for a couple weeks? Here's an idea. Why not end all official business in South Carolina completely while they impeach the guy? That certainly would be the patriotic thing to do.
It just strikes me that we have a much more mature view of movie stars. Sure, we're titillated by their private lives and their personal foibles, but we understand that what really matters is that they still look hot enough so that we'll pay 9 dollars to go see one of their movies. We don't especially care if they adopt children from all around the world, save us from global warming, keep us from abusing animals, or serve as president of the NRA. On the other end, we don't care if they spend their offscreen time ingesting black tar heroin, neglecting their children, or beating on hotel clerks for unexplained reasons. We understand that the real job of movie stars is to make us want to watch them in movies. That's the real job. The other stuff might want to make us watch them either more or less, but you can only be dead on screen a certain number of times. Sports has a similar thing. You want our attention, you have to win games at some point. You want to keep our attention, you have to win some more games unless you're Anna Kournikova. Golf, for instance, understands that Tiger Woods is way more interesting than John Daly even if Daly made much better tabloid fodder.
If only we took our politicians that seriously, we might even have universal health care. Personally, if you asked me the public would pay more attention to the issue if instead of talking about insurance premiums they started talking about boob jobs for all adult women and viagra for all males. Then we could pretend that we live like movie stars and athletes and people would treat the policy stuff as if it mattered.
Labels: Mark Sanford scandal