Americans have watched a parade of painful episodes of public humiliation of politicians' wives in sex scandals. But in constructing a list of Top Ten Sex Scandal Details of the Decade for its 20/10 project, Newsweek recruited a porn star named Sasha Grey to slam these wronged spouses as knowing shrews and lecture about the horror of "Bible-belt-infused guilt." The number ten scandal detail on the list was "Governor Sanford's Appalachian Adventure," and Jenny Sanford apparently hadn't been insulted enough:
I have to believe that many women who are married to men with power are aware of affairs, and accept it. Don’t ask, don’t tell; as long as they receive something in exchange from their husband—whether that exchange be children, money, material items, or sex. We create our own morals. It’s once the affair goes public that morals change.
The wife feels shame and humiliation because of public awareness, yet felt no desire to speak out prior. She allowed this affair to go on, or allowed herself to stay in the relationship. She probably was more ashamed that her husband was such a moron, and thought he could get away with flying to Argentina on a commercial flight and claim he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.
We live in one of the most liberated countries in the world, yet we are still conflicted with Bible Belt-infused guilt. Consensual sexual preferences shouldn’t govern our politics, media, or way of life. Ideally, we should all openly have something extra on the side.
The number eight entry was written by a pornography executive. The article was "Peter Cook’s Porn Problem" by Alison Vivas, "president of the adult-entertainment studio Pink Visual." The ex-husband of middle-aged supermodel Christie Brinkley used the services of expensive "cam girls." Vivas lectured: "But this story isn’t really about porn. It’s about selfishness, pure and simple. It was selfish of Cook to have cyber-affairs. But mainly, it was selfish to indulge in all that self-pleasuring." That's one odd lecture from a porn magnate.
The number nine article was obscure, but the language was certainly no dignified "news" magazine affair. It was about "Max Mosley’s German Prison-Themed S&M Orgy" by Tracie Egan and Rich Juzwiak, who host "Pot Psychology," a page on the website Jezebel.com. Their verdict on the former Formula One racing exec was vulgar:
It might seem weird that a person needs to launch a production to get off, but hey, penises are weird things. By 67, many of them have seen it all. To keep them alive, you have to keep things fresh. But sexual fantasies are like b---holes. Everybody has them, but we tend to think other people’s are gross and offensive when exposed. That’s why they should be private. [The dashes of dignity are Newsweek's.]
Democrats were whacked, too, in the middle of the list. Gay Village Voice gossip columnist Michael Musto mocked former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, recycling rumors that Mrs. McGreevey participated in a threesome with a husband. David Perel of the National Enquirer recounted their stakeout with John Edwards. They looked like Boy Scouts next to former prostitute/madame Heidi Fleiss, who lectured about the creepiness of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer:
It’s, like, the ultimate creepy thing. There were other creepy things, though: he didn’t want to wear condoms. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with keeping your socks on, and there are a lot of guys who don’t like to wear condoms, but if that’s the deal, that’s the deal. It’s so hard to deal with someone like that, who wants to argue every step of the way, and doesn’t want to make it fun. Let’s think of a perfectly easy way to have an albeit illegal, but a nice evening and a wild fun time, and do everything we can to ruin it and make it a miserable night.
The top three sex scandals were all conservatives. For number three, Newsweek tasked lesbian MSNBC host Rachel Maddow with attacking Sen. John Ensign:
It would be illegal for Ensign to pay a big severance from personal or campaign funds, so his lawyer explained, poker-faced, that the $96,000 check should be seen as a gift to the mistress and her family from Senator Ensign’s parents. Imagine the phone call: "Mom? Dad? You know my mistress? Would you mind writing her a check for $96,000?" Who does that?
Maybe that’s normal for the sons of casino moguls, but it’s not even normal for the louche standards of D.C. sex scandals. His parents? Really? As of now, Ensign says he’s running for reelection. The campaign slogan writes itself: "Ensign 2012: Don’t Worry, His Mom and Dad Took Care of It."
Number two was Bill O'Reilly's exchange of sex-harassment lawsuits with former staffer Andrea Mackris. The author was Jonathan Ames, creator of the new HBO show Bored to Death. Ames mocked O'Reilly fans, not just O'Reilly:
O’Reilly’s part for cleanliness and maybe some neurosis about the female body since the first thing he would want to do was clean it with a loofah, which he then, steeped as he is in reporting on the Middle East, mistakenly called a falafel, according to Mackris’s suit. But what I’m most curious about is how many of O’Reilly’s hard-core followers subsequently used a falafel in the manner described. His fans are known to be quite rabid, and so I would really love to know just how many Americans, influenced by their favorite father figure, soaped up a woman’s pubes with a ball of fried chickpeas.
If that isn't very dignified, it could be worse: this Village Voice article describes a very strange stage act Ames performed with a dog he calls Mangina.
It annoys people like me -- openly gay men -- when the Craig incident is described as a "gay sex scandal," as if his actions in the toilet that day tell you something about gay men. Openly gay people -- gay men with integrity -- have boyfriends and husbands. When I want a blow job, I don't have to fly to Minnesota and lurk in a toilet. I just have to go home.
Newsweek's message is quite clear: the libertine left are the new moral guardians. Massive hypocrisy by social conservatives has anointed them as our new public lecturers.