Read David Simon’s.
When our political media could be covering the “fiscal cliff,” or profiling new Senators or Representatives elect, or covering the ever important lame duck session of Congress, or doing any number of more productive things for American society and our body politic, instead we’ve been hearing about David Petraeus’s sex life all week. Non stop. Every day, new sordid details emerge. Just who is the “shirtless FBI agent”? We may never know, but it’ll probably come to light tomorrow for some fresh… “content.”
We’re sure you’ve read several (hackneyed) pieces on the Petraeus story already, but if you haven’t yet read ”Stray penises and politicos,” by the creator of The Wire, you’re missing out on the best thing we’ve read... maybe all month. In what we’d loosely categorize as a “long form opinion” piece, Simon eviscerates the main stream media (and Roger Simon’s Politico piece in particular) for their hypocritical, misguided coverage of the Petraeus affair, and political sex scandals in general.
If we may excerpt:
“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.
And now comes General Petraeus.
His penis, too, has roamed. And now he is grist for the usual mill. And there will be three themes that we must now endure ad nauseum from all of the men and women of our media elite who will gather around their laptops and type so furiously as to obliterate everything they actually know about human sexuality and achieve the necessary velocity for judgment and arrogance:
1) Man, this guy was dumb. Ha hah!
2) Too dumb to be the Director of C.I.A. Isn’t that a sensitive position? Shouldn’t his penis only show itself in the most careful moments, so as to protect a great nation’s secrets? Isn’t he therefore incompetent? As well as:
2a) Didn’t he know he was boning a crazy lady? The head of the CIA should be smarter than to be boning crazy ladies, right?
And lastly, because there is always a place for dumbass partisanship:
3) How does this affect the Democrats? How does it affect the Republicans? When can we put a -gate on the end of this scandal?”
If Simon had hypothesized — “How does this affect the independent voters?” — he’s probably answer – it doesn’t at all – it’s distracting from real issues at hand that independent care about, like a solutions driven compromise to the fiscal cliff, among other pressing issues for our lame duck Congress to take care of before New Years.
But seriously. Read the whole thing. You’ll be glad you did.