1:18 PM CST, November 13, 2012
By now you’ve heard about the shocking scandal sweeping Washington: men and women, of all ages and dispositions, like having sex even outside the bonds of marriage.
I know. It took me a minute to process as well.
I’ve written this column before, and I’m going to keep writing it until American society comes to some rational conclusion about extramarital affairs, sex scandals, and all the rest.
The first thing I thought when Paula Broadwell appeared on “The Daily Show” to plug her fawning biography about Gen. David Petraeus was, “This woman has undoubtedly had sex with that guy.” There wasn’t even a question in my mind at the time, but you can’t just go around saying, “I suspect these individuals of having an affair because I have basic human observational capacities.”
But so what if they did?
Now I suppose there is an argument to be made that the Director of the CIA, our spook-in-chief, could open himself up to blackmail with such shenanigans, but what’s the solution to that? Are we going to start installing potted plants as CIA director? Eunuchs? A sexless species that procreates by puffing spores into the air? Perhaps if Petraeus really was divulging classified information, that’s one thing, but if not—if really this whole thing is just a bunch of horny adults acting a little bitter and absurd—can’t we just make some jokes about it on late-night talk shows and let everyone get back to their jobs?
If I recall correctly, President Obama hired Petraeus to blow up people in Pakistan with robots, and by all accounts, the two of them are blowing up an awful lot of people with robots very effectively.
It’s so completely backwards that we are engulfed by this nonsense—well, everyone except Staff Sgt. Dain T. Venne, Spc. Ryan P. Jayne and Spc. Brett E. Gornewicz. They were killed in Afghanistan on Monday by an IED. Their families and friends probably also do not give a shit what Gen. John Allen was writing in e-mails to Jill Kelley.
The only thing I’ve learned as an adult is that high school never ends. In many ways high schoolers even behave less sexually despicably because they have not been ground down by ten, twenty, fifty years of adult recrimination. Yet we still feel the need to have a society-wide freakout every time one of these very obvious scandals erupts. You know what would be even weirder than men and women in positions of power having affairs? If those people didn’t have affairs. That would be something to write about.
If we had some Vonnegut-esque master computer that every five years revealed every sexual liaison that had transpired on Earth, and everyone knew their secrets would be revealed, people would still be slipping away to boff each other, consequences be damned. In its revelations, that list would be both shocking and not at all. I’m not saying this is right or that monogamy has no place in society (although someone better come up with a more convincing argument than “that’s the way God wants it to be” pretty fast). But if people get fired and shamed every time their genitals bounce, we’re not only going to be out of CIA directors—there will be no one left to pick up the garbage.
Here’s my solution: tomorrow, everyone go blow a stranger. Male, female—doesn’t matter. Everyone get one truly encouraging mistake out of the way, and then we’ll all be shamed, and we can all go back to doing our jobs.
And maybe the next time, we can fire someone for drone strikes that kill, maim, and traumatize innocent people? Just a thought.
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