June 08, 2011
Domestic Lies

No link to this, because I'm at a library on a PC rather than an Apple, and am therefore terminally confused. But it's from Rick Hertzberg's New Yorker blog, a link to which will be found in the sidebar to your right.

The era of the modern sex scandal began in 1988 with Gary Hart, Donna Rice, the S.S. Monkey Business, and the Miami Herald. It seems almost quaint now, but back then it was de rigueur for the press to maintain that the sex scandal of the moment was not really “about” sex. What it was “about” was lying, which in turn meant that it was “about” something more important than sex, i.e., “character.”

The problem is that lying is an inherent part of adultery and, by extension, of any illicit or potentially embarrassing sexual activity or proclivity. By itself, the fact that a person has lied about sex tells you nothing about that person’s general propensity to lie. Unlike most citizens, prominent politicians like Gary Hart, Bill Clinton, and Anthony Weiner make speeches by the hundred, give media interviews constantly, and have extensively documented public records. If the politician is a habitual or characterological liar, the public record will show it and the lying-about-sex is redundant. If the politician is not a habitual or characterological liar, his lying-about-sex is misleading — is itself a lie, in a way.


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at June 08, 2011 03:01 PM
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Sorry, I think that's bullshit and I'm surprised at a sensible guy like Hertzberg for saying it. People are who they are. A political figure who behaves honorably in one context but not another is admitting to the private belief that context determines whether there's a duty to behave honorably.

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on June 9, 2011 1:28 PM

I don't understand what all the fuss is about.

Posted by: George on June 9, 2011 4:36 PM

the eternal wisdom of politics
- you must never lie about sex and religion
- you must always lie about power and agenda
... and when its time for the public to judge you by your deeds, your personal agenda in regard to power & money should have been fullfilled...

btw - I always wonder, why that US of A is so obsessed with pretense in all things sex & religion? Looks to me like a very lowly and misguided average standard of moral reasoning, whatever may be the cause thereof.

Posted by: Otherguy Overby on June 10, 2011 8:09 AM

People might lie for honorable reasons but you'll have to explain the part about men waving their willies at innocent bystanders for honorable reasons.

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on June 10, 2011 10:55 PM
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