It's fun looking at fuck-ups because they take our eyes off ourselves. I can't prove this, but I suspect that in some way we're all hypocrites, we're all frauds. Some of us are even criminals.
I was thinking about this last night as my husband and I were on the way home from watching the film The Bank Job, a take on a "true life" story about a bank heist in the 1970's. The Bank Job takes place in grim, dark London in 1971 -- enter wacko black radicals and white Brits treating other white Brits badly -- depressing but sexy stuff. The subplot of the film involved a series of photos taken of various prominent people having sex with people they shouldn't being having sex with. How sad. How uptight! We laughed on the way home. It's an unfortunate thing... having people see your most intimate desires, when you'd rather keep them private: like that public official in the film, surreptitiously photographed being whipped while wearing pink ladies panties.
And there seemed an odd congruity yesterday -- hearing Eliot Spitzer's big reveal: that he likes high-priced prostitutes. (I like the "high price" part, it adds a certain cache -- what exactly do you get for $5000/hour?) It's not so much of a big reveal though is it? I mean, infidelity is a common thing. And worse still, most of the time the other partner is none the wiser: "70 percent of married women and 54 percent of married men did not know of their spouses' extramarital activity," claims Men's Stuff publication. I've always thought Eliot Spitzer was a handsome man, I don't mind telling you that now. Part of me has often thought a man that handsome would have to get into some trouble. I even felt a smug kind of satisfaction in seeing I was right about him. Around me at work -- I hadn't see this much excitement in the newsroom since Monica Lewinsky. So sexy! So fun! All of us released for a moment from the tension of covering the fight between Obama and Clinton. Love a sex scandal. Look at him, his face. His wife. This is juicy stuff: Good man gone bad.
And then, I suddenly felt chilled -- chastened actually: Spitzer was supposed to be the man to clean-up Albany. Now all the crooks can say to him: you have been brought down. I wondered, why are we gleeful? Are our lives really so boring that we are happy to see a man brought down by -- of all things -- himself? His own weakness? This is a sad thing, I think.
Further along in this direction, I wonder, are we waiting for our leaders to fail? Maybe we want them to fail so we can have an excuse to not believe in anyone anymore. If nobody can be perfect, then nothing will have to change. If nobody can be perfect, then you will not have to do anything. We can all sit around and judge each other. I wonder, maybe, we should stop. Maybe we should not set up people for this. Maybe we should let each other fuck up sometimes.