Sex, Power and the Page of Wands
In his Madonna-like quest to reinvent himself, Mr. Universe became “The Terminator,” and then “The Governator.” Now he’s “The Sperminator.” Maria is handling the crisis with her usual grace, while yet another celebrity politician is in disgrace.
We have had so many celebrity politicians that I think we need a cute name for them. Can we call them polebrities, or maybe celebticians? It started with entertainers who used their celebrity status to cross into politics, like George Murphy and Ronald Reagan. There was Sony Bono, Clint Eastwood, Al Franken, and, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Now we have politicians who are celebticians primarily because of their demeanor, like Barack Obama.
Even Bill Clinton, playing his saxophone at his own televised inauguration party twenty years ago, was trying to work the celebrity angle. He had a sex scandal too.
The thing that gets me about Arnold’s recent revelation is that his affair was with the hired help. How tacky! How cliché! Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. They are based on real actions of real people.
Also in the news, a very wealthy European celebtician is languishing at Riker’s Island on rape charges. His accuser was his hotel maid. The question is not whether they had sex, but whether it was consensual. Could a paltry housekeeper ever be in a position of consenting, or not consenting, to a man so powerful?
Why do wealthy, powerful men pick on the most powerless women? Monica Lewinsky herself was a lowly intern before Bill made her a weird kind of celebrity. The cliché of banging the secretary, the intern or the housekeeper is in and of itself a disturbing elephant in the room.
Our current society imposes a universal code for sexual behavior that may be, in some instances, hard for humans to achieve. Honesty isn’t good enough. We have to be monogamous, and straight. That’s fine for folk who tend that way naturally, but not everyone does.
We also expect our celebrities, and our elected officials, to be role models. We want them to uphold this potentially unnatural behavioral code. Then we give them more money, fame and power than any human should have, and wait for the inevitable explosion.
When you can have anything in the world you want, you will always look for something more. Regular folk ask questions like “How could Tiger Woods be so stupid?” But it’s not stupidity that drives it. It’s the taint of having nothing left to want.
I understand all this, and have some real sympathy for all the people in these painfully complex relationships played out on the public stage.
I understand why wealthy men often make bad decisions in their personal relationships. Here’s what I don’t understand. Why do they always choose women who aren’t in a position to say no? And why do we, as a nation, not call these jerks out for what they are really doing, which is old-fashioned misogynistic on-the-job sexual harassment?
We want our leaders to answer for straying outside their marriages. I want them to answer for their choices of women with whom they strayed. In very few cases are these women social or economic equals. They are nearly always women over whom these men hold power.
I don’t care where Arnold puts his penis. His marriage is between him and Maria. I care very much that he made sexual advances on the hired help. To me, that is simply abuse of power, and abuse of women.
I pulled a tarot card for Arnold, and got the Page of Wands. Arnold will likely withstand this assault on his character, and be able to reinvent himself again. I doubt very much that he feels much sense of guilt or wrongdoing, only irritation that he was caught.
His humor, charm and talent will ultimately carry him through this. Perhaps the real reason we will forgive him is that no one really cares when a powerful man manipulates a powerless woman.