Friday, March 14, 2008

Brooks On Spitzer

David Brooks is a conservative columnist with the New York Times. Perhaps it is his lofty perch and ideological leanings that have left him able to offer these insights into the fall of Eliot Spitzer and those like him:

"...these people succeed and enjoy their success. When Bigness descends upon them, they dominate every room they enter and graciously share their company with those who are thrilled to meet them.

But then, gradually, some cruel cosmic joke gets played on them. They realize in middle age that their grandeur is not enough and that they are lonely. The ordinariness of their intimate lives is made more painful by the exhilaration of their public success. If they were used to limits in public life, maybe it would be easier to accept the everydayness of middle-aged passion. But, of course, they are not.

And so the crisis comes. Perhaps alpha male gorillas don’t wake up in the middle of the night feeling sorry for themselves because “nobody knows the real me.” But those of us in the business of covering the great and the powerful know that human leaders have an almost limitless capacity for self-pity.

They seek to heal the hurt. Maybe they frequent prostitutes because transactional relationships are something they understand. But in other cases, they just act like complete idiots.

I don’t know if you’ve seen a successful politician or business tycoon get drunk and make a pass at a woman. It’s like watching a St. Bernard try to French kiss. It’s all overbearing, slobbering, desperate wanting. There’s no self-control, no dignity.

These Type A men are just not equipped to have normal relationships. All their lives they’ve been a walking Asperger’s Convention, the kings of the emotionally avoidant. Because of disuse, their sensitivity synapses are still performing at preschool levels.

So when they decide that they do in fact have an inner soul and it’s time to take it out for a romp ... . Well, let’s just say they’ve just bought a ticket on the self-immolation express. Some desperate lunge toward intimacy is sure to follow, some sad attempt at bonding. Welcome to the land of the wide stance.

...they are completely unprepared. And in the middle of some perfectly enjoyable dinner party, a woman will suddenly find a tongue in her ear."


Anonymous said...

I've always been amazed when things like this happen just how many columnists know how and why it happened. I'm just guessing but, I imagine the guy has a wild sex drive, didnt have an affair with another married person, got caught with a prostitute and now has to pay for it with his career and probably his marriage. In Europe this would be on page 52, in North America its front page next to Brittany and Paris. Its just sex...its not corruption, its not money laundering, its not insider trading or drugs...its just harmless consentual sex...North Americans really gotta grow up. billg

The Mound of Sound said...

I totally understand what you're saying Bill but, let's face it, we're talking about a society where an outfit calling itself the Moral Majority wields genuine political clout. There's no hope of "growing up" until the Christian right is long gone and I don't see that happening anytime soon, do you?

Years ago I listened to a fellow who described how philandering heads of state were far less apt to launch wars. Apparently the more morally upright the leader, the more willing they were to pull the trigger. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Cripes...I cant even argue with that. I'm not sure I agree about the Christian Right though...I'm Christian/Right and yet I and most of us know when to mind our own business, but the bible belt south of the Mason/Dixon line is another ball game. Maybe Mr Spencer should pass on that phone number to GeorgeW...after all...its just plain old fashion sex...been going on well...since time began. Anyways...its sunny and warm here in the Ottawa Valley and nothin's gonna get me down...gonna throw on Springsteen's the Seager Sessions CD, tap my toes and have a cold beer on the deck, Life is Good.

The Mound of Sound said...

Now I'm flummoxed. We share the same taste in music and beverages! What is the world coming to? Kick back and have a great weekend.