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The New Colosseum: The Internet

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So John and Elizabeth Edwards have become the latest sacrifices to the new Colosseum: the Internet. Thumbs down to John's for his extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter! Then the mob turned to Elizabeth. This sad situation may have actually happened to her, but she doesn't have the right to decide how to handle it herself. Thumbs down for Elizabeth! The mob has no respect for her decisions about her own private life. The blogosphere will support or condemn her, according to the dictates of its own mob-heated blood lust.

Yes, I know he was a candidate. But he's not now. Various people have written, oh, but if he was the nominee and this had happened. Well, it's done. He's another politician who got caught with his pants down. What's new about that? If they don't all do it, then most do.

I'm not the first to ask why we're spending all this time looking into Edwards' affair when John McCain got a media pass about his lobbyist friend. Was there fire with that smoke? He is a candidate -- and already has a history. If we care about Edwards who's not even in the race, then we ought to care about McCain. If we care.

I don't care that Edwards had an affair or that he lied about it. I think he might've seen the potential explosion if he was found out, but hey. Would I have expected him to tell his entire staff etc. about it? Are you nuts? The point of an affair is not to get caught. Otherwise, you divorce. Yes, I gave him an insignificant amount of money -- and I'm still happy about that. I feel compassion for the Edwards family -- including John -- even if he deserved to have his face slapped. He's a good man who made a mistake. Good for Elizabeth for sending him to the interview by himself.

Rielle Hunter? She made her own choices. She's a big girl.

Meanwhile, we might as well just line the Edwards up with thousands of wild animals and men - -both armed and unarmed -- that were wiped out in this greatest of civilization's most remarkable amphitheatre still standing in Rome. The reason? Watching men and exotic beasts run for their lives, being tortured, and killed with quite elaborate backdrops and sometimes theatrical stories was the ultimate entertainment:

Romans could have free spectacles; it was a right of the citizens to join banquets offered by the rich and famous, and to enjoy shows in the circus or the amphitheatre. The games were offered by the emperor and the nobility to get social consensus. Panem et circenses were given to the public so as to distract their attention from more important matters.

(Did you get that? To distract their attention from more important matters. And this didn't even come from the Rove-inspired McCain campaign.)

The Colosseum was constructed in the literal and symbolical heart of Rome, just as the Internet now provides the veins of a global world. Where do we choose to place our attention?

Special boxes were provided at the north and south ends respectively for the Emperor and the Vestal Virgins, providing the best views of the arena. Flanking them at the same level was a broad platform or podium for the senatorial class, who were allowed to bring their own chairs.

There is some question as to whether Christians actually were among the many massacred in the Colosseum, but according to this source:

...the most popular fights of all were combats between the powerful gladiators. When the Christians refused to sacrifice to the emperor and worship his false gods, they were accused of treason and thrown into the arena to combat wild beasts. When one member of a family was accused the whole family would be thrown into the lions den, small children included.

Should we just throw the whole Edwards family to the lions, or is that too much? Thumbs up, or thumb down?

Beth Arnold lives and writes in Paris. To see more of her work, go to www.betharnold.com.