Note on the Phillips and Letterman Scandals

26 10 2009

Letterman-Scandal

It’s a shame that I’m having to write about this topic after holding out for so long.  Office “sex scandals” have been plastered all over the news lately, one after the other, and I’ve purposefully avoided discussing them because office sex scandals are about as common and as interesting to me as Honda Accords.  

Oh my god, David Letterman slept with an employee!  WTF, Steve Phillips did it too!  So did Bill Clinton, Mark Foley, Jimmy Kimmel, and billions of other men in powerful positions across the globe!  Snooze.  At what point does it stop becoming a scandal every time we find out that a public figure had an affair with an employee?  The only thing these men did differently from billions of other people was get caught.  

A few years ago, I worked for a Congressman on the Hill who had left his wife for one of his staffers.  After I put in my two weeks notice and we were interviewing candidates (all women, of course) to take my place, the Congressman told me, “I’m not looking for someone I can talk about the issues with– I talk politics all day.  I’m looking for someone I could take to a titty bar.”  Seriously.

And remember Jessica Cutler, the Hill staffer who slept her way up the ranks and blogged about it?  Married Congressmen and affluent public figures were essentially paying her rent and giving her lavish gifts to ensure that she continued sleeping with them on the DL, and then she got a very lucrative book deal out of it (The Washingtonienne) because the public has such a voracious appetite for scandal.

Washingtonienne -Jessica Cutler Ultimate DC Intern

I’m sure we could all go on and on about sleazy bosses, torrid workplace affairs that have made national headlines and plenty others that haven’t.  Let’s be honest: the fact that Letterman slept with a co-worker is no more scandalous than the fact that I had yogurt for breakfast.  Women have learned to use their bodies as currency, and men in positions of power are more than happy to barter.  It’s been this way since the beginning of time; plastering the story all over the news and firing both parties is not going to curb the epidemic.  

Let’s talk about something that’s actually interesting, like wiffleball or fat free salad dressing.

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13 responses

26 10 2009
thedcam

Was that a joke at the end? Rod shaped sports equipment and white condiments? Anyway, my mind is in the gutter, back to sexually harassing co-workers.

26 10 2009
Sara

What kind of yogurt did you have for breakfast?

I kid.

Yeah, who cares about Letterman–plus, he’s a comedian, but a politician/revered public figure. When Bill Clinton’s ready to hit the sheets again, call me.

26 10 2009
bros

I was also nonplussed about letterman’s dalliance with his humdrum and mediocre looking paramour. I think I was more surprised that people were surprised he was shtooping the staff-I figured thats what he was doing daily for like 20 years since he was a perpetual bachelor. and phillips, man, talk about slumming it. shudder.

I like Michael Wolff’s take on adultery and desire and although he his essay confines the discussion to men in politics, it has resonance elsewhere. as usual, it is in the holy grail of all things I needed to know: vanity fair.
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/06/wolff200806

26 10 2009
Southern Girl

The Letterman affair–I agree…nobody’s business. The Sen. David Vitter indiscretions–scandalous. The difference? Vitter ran for senator on a “core values” platform that duped voters who care into thinking he was a morally grounded family man. Bill Clinton would have been excused (even admired by some, unfortunately) if he hadn’t blatently lied about his affair directly to us. When it affects us personally, it makes us want to take ’em down.

27 10 2009
graber

can’t we all just agree that he’s a really old dude. he’s 62. now you’re talking about that employee having his wrinkly old man balls all over her.
too far?

27 10 2009
districtramblings

Southern Girl- I’m not sure I agree with your argument. Vitter may have preached core values, but Letterman has been skewering politicians for their various sex scandals for 30 years. That’s just as hypocritical. My point is, there is some element of shock implied by the word “scandalous.” Can a powerful man’s affair with his coworker continue to be considered a scandal once it becomes the social norm?

27 10 2009
गेब्रियल

We could talk about skipping stones!! (I talk about this all the time, though no one listens, so I wrote an extensive philosophical analysis of it on my Idea-log (the word “blog” is almost as bad as “moist.”)
As for sex between umarried (to each other) couples in otherwise professional relationships…who are we to condemn them for anything? Who do the individuals in the public think they are for judging people they don’t know and never will know?? If my parents even (who are in a loving marriage and have built my strong family) were in a loveless trap, with no hope for happiness together, I would hope that they were cheating on each other too!!, for living a life without love is far worse than living a life of “public scorn.” (Southern Girl: How does any of this affect people other than those involved and their immediate relations?)

The public…especially all those people who take issue with a kettle calling the pot black: THEY’RE BOTH BLACK…WHO CARES IF ONE SAYS SOMETHING THAT’S TRUE ABOUT THEM BOTH?–who knows better than one who is them self a part of the group they are describing?)…should take a step back and examine their own lives more than the lives of others–it would lead to a world that better understood its self and its problems. As it stands, people in large measure just accept the problems they are handed by the opinions of others, which may be legitimate sometimes, but there is a marked lack in self-analysis, and thereby understanding, which I believe is the root of many contemporary social ills.

27 10 2009
bros

I think Southern Girl was getting at the distinction between celebrities who are not in a position to effect public policy and politicians who are. Letterman didnt run on on any platform of family values that he is then planning on dictating from public office like Vitter and many of these other hypocritical conservatives. Conservatives with their scandals are always a bigger deal than when liberals have a sex scandal because everyone knows they are moral compass-less hippie free love dudes, and hypocrisy on the right is far more glaring because these people are always the ones trying to tell the rest of us how to live our private lives.

27 10 2009
Southern Girl

Thank you Bros. Well said. Give me a moral compass-less hippie free love dude any day over a self-righteous hypocritical conservative. That’s right, I’m being judgemental. Can’t help it. Hate those a-holes.

27 10 2009
Patrick

One thing you forgot to point out…the girl Steve Phillips slept with was a horse and he deserved to be fired for that alone..

You made a great pont though that these women tend to use their body as currency…a lot of the stories you read about the girls are getting compensated one way or another and quite a few of them make even more after the story breaks. The men however lose their careers and take significant financial hits…it’s sexual injustice in my opinion.

27 10 2009
गेब्रियल

Who cares what the people look like? And what is wrong about sleeping with someone YOU don’t think is attractive? That’s as bad as a person sleeping with someone they work with…to be honest, and not offensive.

27 10 2009
VJane

I agree with all of you above – let’s leave Letterman out of this. He is an entertainer, after all. Yes, he made some jokes over the years about politicians sexual affairs but I dont call him a hypocrit, just a funny man. Now Vitter and the likes of him, the conservatives preaching their moral values which they would like to thrust on all of us, is hypocrytical at its worst. districtramblings says that affairs seem to have become the social norm. Why is this happening ?? Are all these guys taking Viagra and pole vaulting around on their you know whats looking for the nearest chick to bed down with when they should be in the office and doing the work they were elected for. ? ?

28 10 2009
Jayne Yomamasfriend

Who is worse? The men that do it or the women they do it with…those that write about it or those that read about it? My guilty pleasure is that I belong to the last group. A guiltier pleasure might be belonging to that second group, but I won’t tell you bout that tonight.

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