Haven't we witnessed enough examples of indiscretion, corruption and poor judgment to know that we should stop putting public figures up on a pedestal? Should we really take what they say at face value or should we finally question everything? Haven't we learned yet that those who seem to take the hardest line (for or against) a particular lifestyle, religious viewpoint, or political position are probably the last people who should be throwing those figurative stones? Well, if you please, allow me to make my point.
History, is one bitch of a teacher.
Let's start with a recent example. Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn is the Managing Director of this innocuous little financial entity called the International Monetary Fund. Not necessarily who you might consider to be an unimportant man, but a man who has certain reported appetites for the ladies, and most recently, allegedly, New York Hotel Chambermaids. Best of luck beating that rap, Dominique. Sort of sounds like a Newark stripper name anyway, but that's Newark for you. We're not in Kansas (I mean Paris) anymore, eh Toto?
How about our Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, the third richest man in Italy, and his "Bunga Bunga" parties. Apparently you can attend, if you happen to be an extremely young girl and a desire for much older men with receding hairlines and plenty of attitude. I would imagine that the food, beverages and lubricants found at these parties are absolutely top-of-the-line. I wonder. How does one pair the proper red wine for a Bunga Bunga party?
Back here in the States, we have our own leaders to pick on as well. Let us start with our own former Democratic President, Bill Clinton. Always reportedly a bit of a ladies man, he apparently also liked to do strange things with the tips of his cigars. That, and pay a small penalty for early withdrawal, as evidenced by a bit of a protein stain on Monica Lewinski's blue dress.
Arnold, The Sperminator. Nicely done my friend. Another conservative, family values oriented republican with a hot wife and apparently too much free time at home. You take a fancy to one of your servants, er, I mean "domestic staffers", forget completely about your career and common sense for that matter, go bareback and get the girl pregnant. Thank God she chose to keep it, or we wouldn't have this story to kick around. I'm sure Maria will forgive you. Wait a minute… Too late.
Remember our former Democratic vice Presidential candidate, John Edwards? He went off to enjoy an affair with staffer, Rielle Hunter while his wife was battling breast cancer. In fact the bonehead didn't bother to wrap little Johnny and fathered a love child in the process. Years later, a sex tape with John and a very pregnant Rielle Hunter was discovered leading to another question. "You filmed this affair too?" What a moron.
How about Republican Senator David Vitter, accused of frequenting a New York brothel? This advocate of family values denied these charges but later apologized after it was revealed his telephone number appeared among those associated with another escort service in Washington D.C. It was a "very serious sin in my past." Says Vitter. Ya think?
Newt Gingrich; (Not a Fictional Name). Since we're talking about clandestine girlfriends, wives in hospitals and other various and sundry Washington activities, let's tiptoe through some of Newt's tulips. While his third wife was in the hospital recovering from surgery, (remember this is another conservative, family values politician), Newt thought it a good time to bring up the topic of their divorce and hash out a few details. Smooth move Ex-Lax. Did everything go alright? Did she have the strength to pick up her bedpan and bash you in the nose with it? Ah, well. It made for an interesting visual.
Remember Senator Wide Stance? Larry Craig. Ultra conservative Idaho republican. Board of Directors member in the National Rifle Association. Elected into the Idaho Hall of Fame. Pushed for more severe punishment of Senator Barney Frank after a gay prostitution scandal in 1989. Pled guilty to lesser misdemeanor charge after being arrested for lewd conduct in propositioning a man at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. Craig claimed that his wide stance in the bathroom stall was misinterpreted by the undercover agent. The agent, disagreed, providing detailed accounts of Craig's actions. 8 gay men later provided detailed accounts of sexual encounters with Craig to the Idaho Statesman newspaper. Craig still denies any such activity. OK, then. Good enough, Larry. We believe you.
Jim Bakker. Church leader, evangelist, fund raiser, conservative beacon to the Christian community finally admits infidelity after a rival Televangelist (Jimmy Swaggart) led on-air attacks against him, with evidence of Bakker's actions. Baker was finished soon after. Thanks Jimmy, for casting that first stone.
Oops. Jimmy Swaggart "Sinned against you". Another Televangelistic (Expialidotious) competitor of Swaggarts, hired a private investigator to follow Swaggart around, figuring that Swaggart's "holier than thou" persona was too good to be true. It was. The investigator was led to Swaggart's encounter with a prostitute. Stick Jimmy with a fork and turn him over. He's done.
Ted Haggard was the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado Haggard was a frequent visitor and advisor to President George W. Bush. In 2006 it was alleged that Haggard had been engaged with a male prostitute who also provided him with methamphetamine. Haggard admitted his wrongdoing and resigned as pastor of New Life church. He has recently started a new church. Because, well, because there is so much more of God's work to be done.
Several civil complaints were filed against Christian Bishop Eddie Long by men that stated Mr. Long used his position as the church leader to entice or coerce the men into consensual sexual relationships in exchange for money and other items. At a press event on September 26, 2010 Mr. Long stated he would fight the civil complaints in court and would not comment on the allegations. On December 7th 2010, Rev. Long settled the matter out of court. So we're all good then? You seem like a good man and I you're your hat. Where can I make my donation?
In 2007, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) opened a probe into the finances of six televangelists who preach something called a "prosperity gospel". In a nutshell that means the more you give to your respective churches, the more you supposedly get back. The probe investigated reports of lavish lifestyles by some of these ministers including: fleets of Rolls Royces, palatial mansions, private jets and other expensive items purportedly paid for by television viewers who donate to the ministries. I guess you need the jet and the rolls to be able to reach out to your ministry and spread the good word….
Targets of the investigation include:
• Kenneth Copeland and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries
• Creflo Dollar of World Changers Church International
• Benny Hinn of Benny Hinn Ministries
• Eddie L. Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church
• Joyce Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries
• Randy White and Paula White of the Without Walls International Church
Professional Sports Role Models
I thought about focusing on the NFL, but that was too easy, much like writing about scandals in Hollywood. But the focus is really on those who profess to be, or by role association are assumed to be paragons of virtue. That said, here are my favorites, albeit slanted towards American personalities:
Lawrence Taylor - Former pro football star who pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct and patronizing an underage prostitute, was declared a low-risk sex offender after serving sentence. In a 60 Minutes interview, Lawrence admitted to spending thousands of dollars a day on narcotics while in the NFL, while still considering himself and outwardly professing himself to be a positive role model for kids.
Karl Malone - NBA Hall of Fame great was recently discovered to be the father of a young man who ultimately made it to the NFL in 2008. Fathering the child with a 13 year old girl while back in college, the story was buried until Demetrius Bell (his son) came into the NFL. Nicely hidden. Nice way to step up to your responsibilities.
Kobe Bryant - No need for a surname here. Kobe does it. Sort of like "Shaq" without the extra weight. His extracurricular female activities cost the man a $4 million diamond ring, handed over to his opportunistic wife. Nicely done there. Good messaging. You just need to be wealthy to get away with cheating, provided your wide liked diamonds that is. I could be wrong there. Maybe she stayed because of his trustworthy smile.
Marv Albert - The former "Voice of the NBA". Got to love a guy who gets busted for Sodomy and assault by virtue of "biting" his long time gal pal. Only after DNA testing proved the bites were his, Albert copped to a misdemeanor assault charge with a 12 month suspended sentence. The sodomy charges were left off the official report. Sort of. We're still talking about it aren't we?
Pat O-Brien - The greatest recorded voice mail messages of all time. The trustworthy voice of several sporting venues proved to be quite the ladies man, with a series of phone messages sent to one young lady who remains nameless to this day. Apart from all the interesting and somewhat disgusting things O'Brien was asking to do to her, he added the desire to pick up some cocaine and have quite the party. O'Brien divorced and entered himself into rehab in 2005. Pat who?
Tiger Woods. The conquest list was filled with an impressive bevy of moderately skanky-looking white women. My son used to look up to you. In fact, now that he is older, maybe he still does, in a different way, if you know what I mean, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. I know. I know. It must be a bitch to make all that bank, achieve that level of celebrity, and have literally everything handed to you or thrown at your feet. Perhaps you should have engaged in a little more in-room porn and a little less slap and tickle with that hotel room visitor. I'm just saying. Your endorsements might still be there.
The list goes on.The point however, is that you simply can't trust anyone who claims themselves to be the one true paragon of virtue, the bastion of conservatism, the pillar of family values or the role model to be revered. Not that this is true for all, but it seems like the stronger someone supports an extreme position, the more likely they can be led to the opposite end of that spectrum.
Hard core environmentalists still buy electrical energy generated from Coal fired plants. They could do without, convert all their own homes to alternative sources, but it's nice to flip that switch on a hot, cloudy and windless day, eh?
Hyper conservative politicians and evangalicals? Please. There's too much evidence to support a trend towards the opposite lifestyle there. Go tell it to someone who still buys the bovine scatology coming out of your mouths.
How about we all just tell the truth about whom we are and what we believe in? Admit our foibles and let the chips fall where they may. At least you avoid the scandal, which always seems much worse the longer it festers. It would be refreshing at our next national election to hear a candidate say;
"Well, I have 3 parking tickets, I did a lawn job on my neighbor's grass when I was a teenager, I used to smoke grass in college but not since that visit to Amsterdam in 1993, I had a threesome on a trip to the Chicken Ranch, but my wife has forgiven that one indiscretion and we're more committed to each other than ever before."
Probably not something that a priest or minister could get away with, but I'd vote for that guy.