Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stay Classy, Bob

I just finished reading two articles in today's New York Times, Public Infidelity, Private Debate and I Agree, Dear, It Was Awful (which for some reason is not online).

In PIPD, the reporter examines women looking at the Elliot Spitzer scandal, feeling pity for Silda Wall Spitzer, considering what they would do in her situation, but never really believing their husbands could cheat. In IADIWA, the reporter says that men, on the other hand, focused more on why Spitzer got caught.

Reading these two articles, one is left with the distinct impression that men cheat and then women decide whether or not to forgive them.

Even before I read these two articles I was thinking way, way back to 1997 and how I remember that just before the Lewinsky scandal broke, Newsweek did a cover story on the rising levels of adultery and our changing attitudes towards. I couldn't find that particular story, but I did find "Those Cheatin' Hearts" from the 1997 (and about 6 months before Newsweek first wrote about Lewinsky). The reporter writes:

Public attitudes toward adultery are predictably ambivalent. According to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, 78.5 percent of adults polled last year said extramarital sex was "always wrong"-up 10 percent from 1976. But tolerance for adulterers themselves has risen. A 1996 NORC study found that 22 percent of men and 15 percent of women admitted being unfaithful to their spouses at least once. Opposing adultery in principle is not the same as "believing the adulterer is a monster who ought to wear a red letter on his breast," says New York University sociologist Todd Gitlin. [emphasis mine]

Got that? In 1996, there was only a 7% difference between men and women who admitted to committing adultery. We are both a bunch of cheaters.

The rest of the stuff in that paragraph is pretty interesting too. It seems that hypocritical attitudes regarding sexually activity are not the sole domain of politicians using the very acts they rail against for their political capital...(Though, to be clear, I am not arguing against bringing this hypocrisy to light. I'm just saying let's not get too far up on the horse, because it's a long way down.)

And then there's the overlooked victim in this situation (from IADIWA):

Bob Beleson, 58, an independent beverage marketer who lives in Manhattan, said that the discussions he had with several buddies condemned the governor not for his sin, but for his excess. "These guys that pay $4,300 for a hooker are the same guys who pay $9 for an espresso," he said. "They're ruining it for everyone else."

Now, Bob, I realize that being in the beverage business, espresso are probably part of your whole thing, but comparing a human being/sex with that human being to a hot coffee drink, isn't that a bit much? Also, really? Really?! You are really going to complain in a nationally read newspaper that the thing about this whole Spitzer-thing is that it's really causing some price gouging in sex industry? I'm sorry "hookers" have been "ruined" for you. You must be devastated.

No comments: