by: Lisa Ranger
Always gettin' so restless, nothin' but trouble
--Bad Boys, Gloria Estefan
I can find a lover.
I can find a friend.
I can have security
until the bitter end
--Honesty, Billy Joel
If I listened long enough to you
I'd find a way to believe that it's all true
Knowing that you lied straight faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe
--A Reason to Believe, Tim Hardin
File this: He Dogs, Men Behaving Badly, or Not Really News.
This category seemed to hit its apex in March with the publicity turned on two abusive men, Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson. Sheen was dropped from playing his alter ego, and Gibson's case settled just in time for the release this month of his film, Beaver, in which he plays a man who can only speak when his hand is inside of a beaver puppet (Really!) [Lesbian director Jodie Foster contrived this scenario, so what's that all about?] Alas, cruelty, stupidity and idiocy knows no bounds.
Within the last couple of weeks we read that International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) may have had a tryst with a New York hotel maid, and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to having fathered a bastard child by a member of his household staff while married to wife Maria Shriver.
It's a sad old story of "more for me"; nothing new. People are covetous, gluttonous beings; if they were squirrels in a field of acorns, they would fill their cheeks til they looked like Satchmo, and their bellies 'til they couldn't move. Those of us with reserve are labelled "prim"; those who preen their appetitive desires, whores or earthy, depending on your perspective.
It is the spin on these predictable stories which adds another layer to our hypocrisy. DSK was moved to Rikers Island and put on suicide watch, though were no indicators that he was a suicide risk. Placing him in that hardcore prison and implying he wished to take his own life adds to the implication of his guilt.
Not that he's lily white, but what if he slipped the maid some bills for a quickie before the flight? No more savory, to be sure, but a different story. This was a $3,000/night suite, and the maid would know the resident was flush; it is not unheard of for a maid to do extra servicing in an effort to earn far more than she would changing bed linens, as it is not unheard of for unsavory attorneys to check the police books and represent such a woman.
People do not want to entertain the fullness of the problem; it is more simplistic to draw battle lines. DSK is either a demon or has been set up; if one identifies as a liberal, there is simply no choice other than the maid was exploited. My intent is not to condemn nor excuse, but rather, to look at why these miserable situations continue.
An old story of lust, greed, profit and power. Had DSK made a pit stop in Nevada, he could have taken his pleasure at the Bunny Ranch without penalty, such is the arbitrariness of stateside life.
Just as men flaunt their power, women can leverage their assets. Each has a need, and the business transaction often does violence to the psyche if not the corporeal body.
These men did not kill their mates, only their trust and belief. One can recover from those injuries, though too often becoming a member of the Army of the Walking Wounded, hard-forged to wreak havoc on the next unsuspecting victim. So the cycle of misery and salaciousness continues. Good for the religion business , as both Schwarzenegger and his estranged wife turned out at the same Catholic church service last Sunday.
Good for tabloids, good for playwrights and movie makers, cinema and alcohol, therapists and every other thing that issues forth from our misguided ways.
The biologists tell us it's an urge to procreate; the psychologists say it is ego gratification. For some, it is a need to up the ante in a staid life; for others, power and dominance is a heady mix. Maybe it's hormones (whore-moans?) Whatever it is, we should never pretend to be a sublime race, exalted above the animal.
There are unfaithful men who can lie with a straight face: "I do not have any other relationships," they protest. Indeed, they are only poking someone else occasionally (and not in the Facebook-ly way); a "relationship" is the person who does the dishes. Bill Clinton in some good faith said he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky -- he had not intromitted his male member, so it can't be sex, right? It all comes down to words, and if one is a Rhodes scholar from Arkansas, confusion can arise. Too, this disingenuousness is not the sole domain of men.
Southerners have a saying: "He'd climb a tree to tell a lie when he could just stand on the ground and tell the truth." Why not tell the truth? If you will have sex with multiple people, do not enter into relationship or marriage (unless all parties are agreed on the open nature of things); surely there are people who will willingly enter the game. But don't play for sincerity when your game is played on the fly.
We must ask the right questions, always. Weasels will find escape clauses; those who want to believe will twist the crumbs to their psychological benefit.
Why do people continue to hurt each other on the personal level? It is this one-on-one disdain or lack of care that enables violence on the larger plane, and it is this observation alone which makes this a worthy meditation.
[cross-posted @ RangerAgainstWar]