And you thought the most brutal takedown of the week arrived in the pages of the New York Times. That was small potatoes — small, impotent, moldy potatoes — compared to the pantsting Roger Simon of Politico received from The Wire and Treme creator, David Simon in this piece “Stray penises and politicos“, which serves as a reminder, in case the long list of institutions and colleagues who have aggrieved his fiery sense of justice over the years haven’t gotten the point across yet, that the country’s most insightful scold is not someone you want to cross.
The piece itself is an avalanche of hypocrite-baiting, although I did think the ten minute interlude halfway through where a New Orleans brass band paraded through the text was a bit unnecessary. Regarding our justification of the national leering at the, OK, admittedly a little weird details of the Pertaeus scandal as being in the interest of the greater good, Simon says, to paraphrase, (but only just so), “Fuck you, hypocrites.”
The arguments about character? That human sexuality isn’t the most compartmentalized element of our nature? That if someone will lie about sex, they’ll lie about other things? Really? No, sorry, fuck that tripe. Character has become the self-righteous rallying cry of far greater hypocrisy than any cheating husband. It’s the excuse that makes our prurient leer seem meaningful and reasoned.
It’s a lot easier to swallow than some of the other defenses of our current obsession with the case, like this weird one from Jack Shafer, implying that a sex scandal is the medicine that gets the average American to swallow a civics lesson pill.
Political sex scandals have a way of engaging an otherwise apathetic public in substantive coverage about the workings of the criminal justice system, the misuse of political power, and American prudery. Already the Petraeus scandal has schooled a naïve nation about proper email hygiene, the internal workings of the FBI, lax military discipline, computer privacy issues, and the loose handling of classified information. And this scandal has been in the wild for less than a week.
If that were true someone should immediately fund my long-neglected idea about remaking Schoolhouse Rock as a porno. I think the name already writes itself.
Back to David Simon, whose point amounts to this: Are you a sexual being yourself? Have you not found your penis and or vagina sweating up against a penis or vagina that it shouldn’t be on some occasion or other in your life? Are you therefor unfit for whatever job you have? At that rate we might as well eliminate a huge majority of some of our best and brightest leaders from the history books.
Observe the process by which we remove some of the most essential American figures of the last century for having failed to corral their sexual organs in the marital bedroom: Roosevelt, gone. Eisenhower, gone. Kennedy, gone. Lyndon Johnson, gone. Clinton, gone. Martin Luther King, Jr., gone. Edward Murrow, gone. Follow the gamboling penis to an arid expanse of sociopolitical wasteland, where many of the greatest visionaries and actors can never tred, a desert in which only the Calvin Coolidges and Richard Nixons remain standing. Anyone who looks at the history of mankind and argues that private sexual fidelity exists in direct proportion to political greatness or moral leadership is either a chump or a liar.
What follows from there is David Simon dressing Roger Simon’s corpse like a freshly-rifled buck, then mounting it on his wall.
David Petraeus has had sex outside his marriage, as have many men and many women. Human sexuality and compulsion are not in any way related to intelligence. It’s not that the dumb or powerful are more prone to fucking around, or that the intelligent and powerless do it to any greater degree. It’s that men in general are hopelessly and permanently prone to contemplate sex and furtive romance and, sometimes, to act on it. The reasons they do so are crude, ordinary and inevitable. Women are also hopelessly and permanently prone to contemplate furtive romance and sex — and yes, I changed the order, I know — and the reasons they do so are only marginally less crude, ordinary and inevitable.
Read the piece here. Then when you’re done go out and fuck someone you’re not supposed to. If you get caught just tell your s.o. that David Simon, the guy from The Wire said it was OK. “OMG I loved The Wire,” they’ll say. Next thing you know it will be water under the bridge. Marriage saved. Is there anything The Wire can’t do?