Truth, Justice, and the American (sexual) Way

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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34 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    One thing that definitely did not help the Social Conservatives was that their sex scandals were *WEIRD*.

    I mean, when the Mark Sanford thing happened, it was almost boring. How vanilla to merely have a mistress!

    Prior to that, we had how many weird scandals? There was Larry Craig, and David Vitter, and that one guy who was caught cybering pages, and that’s not even getting into the (no pun intended) lay leaders of the social conservative movement such as Ted Haggard.

    When you spend as much time talking about Fidelity and Continence and whathaveyou and you implicitly argue that only folks like you are capable of such things while folks like those other folks ought not have marriage options extended to them, it becomes even more wonderful when we find that you have been photographed in an underground “Spaghetti Brothel”* engaging in acts that I shall not describe on a family website.

    (* don’t bother googling this term. I just now made it up in an effort to come up with something that sounds like it might exist and would be a really apt euphemism for something really kinky but isn’t explicitly descriptive of whatever that thing might be.)Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

      @Jaybird, I really did feel bad for Larry Craig because it was something I could imagine really being a case of mixed signals and not cruising. I could see something like that happening to Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm and him screaming, “I have a wide stance! Why can`t I have a wide stance?!”Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

        @Rufus F., without delving *TOO* far into the scatological, I’ll ask you to drop your pants around your ankles the next time you find yourself on the porcelain throne and make your stance as wide as you can.

        Heck, don’t drop them around your ankles, keep them at your knees. Get wide!

        (Seriously, the day this story broke, I said “this smells fishy” and went and made all kinds of stances with all levels of pants-putting. “Wide” described *NONE* of them.)Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

      @Jaybird, Aside from your slur against the spaghetti brothel community, I agree with you.

      However, I look at political sex scandals this way- we have this woman on our block who sits on her front porch for hours every evening chatting with people. If you talk to her, what you find is that she’s gossiping about everyone on the block who isn’t present. There’s something really ugly about her prying into everyone’s lives and her willingness to draw the most mean-spirited conclusions from the flimsiest of evidence. And my wife and I just assume she gossips about us when we’re not there. After a few conversations when we first moved in, we’ve had no use for her and avoided talking to her.

      I think a lot of us would like to see the prying-gossip-on her-porch aspect removed from the US political conversation because it is a lousy character trait to indulge, right? The problem, as I see it, is that the left knows it’s a lousy aspect of politics, but nevertheless think it’s worth it to nail one of those Republican bastards after they saw to it that everyone in America knows what Clinton did with his cigar. Republicans, meanwhile, know that it’s a lousy aspect of our politics, but nevertheless think it’s worthwhile to nail one of those Democrat bastards, especially after they’ve dragged so many good Republicans through the mud, and hypocritically too since everyone knows they don’t believe in morality anyway! The end result is that every politician in America will eventually have to submit to a penile plethsymograph or a vaginal photoplethysmograph before running for office.

      I guess the only thing that, maybe, we can all agree on is that the people trying to smear Nikki Haley are, most likely, lying sacks of manure.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

        @Rufus F., I saw the Clinton/Paula Jones thing as a response to the Thomas/Hill thing. God only knows what that was a response to.

        It’s almost enough to make you wish that normal people would reach that level of power…Report

        • Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

          @Jaybird, Oh yeah, I forgot all about that! Was it perhaps payback for Gary Hart? We were all so young back then.

          I do wonder if the skills necessary for sexual mischief aren’t the same ones used for political climbing and that could explain the overlap of the two groups.

          Also, I have some sympathy for politicians because there’s probably enough in my private life to keep me out of political office. Of course, many of them seem to aim for office from birth, which makes it even more baffling when they screw up. I pretty much aspired to be a rock singer at this point.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

            @Rufus F., I think that Gary Hart was brought down by his own hubris. He pretty much told the press “try to catch me” and, yep, they caught him.

            Then he said “I’m too much man for just one woman, take it or leave it” and Dukakis (FREAKING DUKAKIS) got the nomination. Not that Hart would have won either, mind. But he would have, at least, not looked like freakin’ Snoopy in that damn tank.Report

      • Simon K in reply to Rufus F. says:

        @Rufus F., I’ve always wondered why more American politicians don’t try openness as a strategy. I mean, you can’t win cheap points by persecuting homosexuals and single mothers if you’re divorced and/or openly gay, which I suppose some of them might see as a downside, but its at least worth a try isn’t it?Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Rufus F. says:

        @Rufus F., Simpler theory: sexual smears work. If they ever stop working, we’ll stop hearing them.Report

    • Simon K in reply to Jaybird says:

      @Jaybird, Psychologically it seems pretty easy to explain. If you invest so much time and effort in denying and repressing your own sexuality – spaghettiphilia or whatever it may be – you’re quite likely to develop some pretty weird and extreme expressions of that sexuality, and also to be extremely unsympathetic to other people with unconventional sex lives.Report

  2. Cascadian says:

    Sanford wasn’t boring it was cringe inducing. The guy sounded so naive and handled it all so badly. Only Tiger could do worse.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

      @Cascadian, he was in love.

      I’m a huge fan of monogamy, and a huger fan of fidelity once within the bounds of matrimony but, dude, the guy was in love.

      Of *COURSE* he was stupid. That’s what falling in love does.

      He wasn’t indulging his various appetites, he wasn’t mentally ill and self-medicating poorly… he was a guy who was in love.

      My heart is not yet so blackened that it cannot beat once in pity on account of such a fool.Report

      • Cascadian in reply to Jaybird says:

        @Jaybird, Perfectly understandable behavior…. for a seventeen year old. I’m no fan of monogamy. But, if you’re going to go down this road, one needs honesty with oneself and ones partner. I’m trying to imagine Charles Barkley getting caught in this type of mess.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

          @Cascadian, hey, he’s a fool.

          What I’d expect to hear about Charles Barkley was that he had a girl in every port not that he had a main squeeze on the side whom he loved very much and if life had been different…

          Again: this is not me saying that what Sanford did was good or admirable or anything like that.

          I’m just saying that “he was in love” mitigates some stuff allowing me to downgrade a guy from “sleaze” to “fool”.Report

  3. Trumwill says:

    I can’t think of anyone I know who, when hearing about a politician’s sexual affairs, laughs and says, “Just goes to show you- being faithful to your spouse is a joke!“

    I haven’t heard that, but back during the Clinton fiasco I did hear from a lot of people that we were prudish for even caring about his infidelity and that we should be more like the French who allow mistresses to attend dignitary funerals because they’re enlightened and we’re not and blah blah blah. Most Democrats took the “Morally reprehensible, but ultimately not relevant to her performance.” Some liberals took it a step further. They definitely did around me, though I was in college at the time and such ideas probably held more truck in that environment.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Trumwill says:

      @Trumwill, Yeah, and at that age too. When I was 20, my thoughts on adult sexual norms were certainly different and probably pretty inaccurate.

      I do get tired of the gripes about prudish Americans and their “Puritan heritage” too. The stereotypical “French marriage” is the product of a very different culture with very different views on marriage, social norms, and gender relations. I wouldn’t call it more sophisticated or liberated, and I also really cannot imagine it being imported to American culture.

      Now, I might tend to argue the point that the sex lives of public officials- provided we’re not talking about raping children- are not our business, nor relevant to their jobs. However, I am totally open to the counter-argument that cheating on your spouse is carelessness towards the heart of your closest companion, and if you’re capable of that, what else are you capable of?

      But, see, that’s a discussion! And Gerson almost has that discussion, before deciding instead to argue with whoever it is that thinks that people who believe in marital fidelity are schmucks.Report

  4. Barry says:

    When puzzling over Gerson, it pays to remember that (a) he was a GOP speechwriter; he was paid to come up with highly partisan talking points, and (b) he was a speechwriter for a very dishonest and highly corrupt and highly malicious president.

    That’s it.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Barry says:

      @Barry, Yeah, that’s probably true, and I’m really questioning the talking point more than the talker. I’m definitely not holding out hope that Gerson’s next column will be entitled “League of Ordinary Gentlemen Helps Me to See the Light”.Report

  5. Mike Schilling says:

    If you can find a Democratic politician calling for open marriage and Satanism, please cite them.

    Barry Hussein Soetoro, of course. Do try to keep up.Report