William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

New Details On the Sex Scandal Emerge, Thank God

General David Petraeus

Seems our man, who we all know has an impressive pedigree, was so enamored with the other man’s wife that he could not wait to be with her.

In details just emerging, one night back home (this was not in Afghanistan), our man ventured to sneak into the house of the other man’s wife—dressed as a woman! Yes, full dress, veil, the whole nine yards. Because why? Because there was a sort of party going on in the house, populated with a bunch of women and he did not want to be recognized.

Well, he made it inside all right; and he was making his way down a hall, wearing his costume, about to reach the bedroom door of his paramour, when one of the caterers bumped into him. She naturally asked our disguised lover who “she” was and where “she” was going?

Now there are only two things to do in a situation like this: fake it or run. Our man is no coward, so he tried faking it. One imagines, or at least I imagine, a coy Lou Costello voice emerging from under his veil.

Whatever kind of sound emerged, it didn’t fool the caterer for a second, and she immediately pitched a fit and summoned the other female types to her side, whereupon they unveiled our man. What a predicament!

This was the incident that led to his outing, as it were.

Crucial thing to understand is that he never made it to the bedroom. Still, it is reported that the husband of the woman wants a divorce saying his wife should “be above suspicion.”

The man was Clodius, the other woman Pompeia, Julius Ceasar’s wife.

The details were, at the time, scandalous. Just as the details about General Petraeus today are scandalous. Two millennia ago there was nothing odd in an affair being scandalous. Contrast that to today where we have pundits falling over themselves to say, “I haven’t the slightest interest in the private lives of these people. I just want to learn about Benghazi.”

That they want to learn about Benghazi is certain sure, but I don’t believe for a moment that they aren’t interested in the private lives of the once high and mighty General. My evidence is that each time a pundit says, “I am not interested” they proceed first to air the salacious details of the private lives, and only then talk about the connection to Benghazi. The details top all headlines.

The affair was none of our business when it was kept secret, but once it came out, for whatever reason, it is everybody’s business. And should be.

Not only that, we should be glad people are taking such an interest about the General’s peccadilloes. Because why? Because one, this signals people still care that the traditional family, the bond and promise between a man and woman are still held important to society; and two, once the rest of us men, idiots and fools who have strayed and the simpleminded who fantasize about the same (completely exhaustive categories, incidentally), once we hear about the General, we realize the full moment of his actions.

Scandal thus acts as an inoculation against stupidity. The effects are temporary, to be sure, but the effect real and measurable. This is another good reason to read history. Plutarch, our reporter about Clodius, is a booster shot.

Now there are details and there are details. That an affair took place, how it happened, and what might have occurred because of it are fair game. These facts should, and with hope, will be revealed. But what happened inside the affair, the pillow talk not pertaining to matters of security, the physical pertinents, as it were, are none of our business, and these should be kept secret. We don’t want to stir prurient interests, but instead instill sobriety.

So let us in on the scandal, journalists! It will be good for us.

6 Comments

  1. Hey.. Some of us survive on the idiocies that happen to folks in power.

    The nefarious angle here would be to ask the other side of the question, would they have been allowed into power if they didn’t have peccadillos of some sort or other. There was a line in “Revolt in 2100″ (Heinlein), where the crystal pure legate John falls in love with a priestess of the prophet. Heinlein hints that what has kept John from advancing until that point is his pure record. Now that there is a smudge on it, John can be controlled.

    The FBI recruits from the Boy Scouts. The CIA loves mormons. How many of those cannon fodder get to high office without getting black marks in their file.

    There is great value in the nuclear family. I recognize this without a greater deity forcing it upon me.

    I still wonder if Holly is truly pissed because her husband stepped out, or if it is because he got caught… The 90% number I hear in ads for blue pills makes me wonder. We are likely going to hear of a divorce soon and Holly should come out of it smelling just fine. The general will probably not suffer for lack of work.

  2. I would argue that the affairs in and of themselves are not of public interest.

    What makes them a matter of public interest is that the Director of the CIA and the top commanding officer of the US forces in Afganistan put themselves in positions where they were vulnerable to blackmail.

  3. A funny thing happened on the way to the …

  4. William

    You are absolutely right that this is about stupidity.
    There is infinitely worse than Petraeus – Dominique Strauss Kahn.
    This man was less than 1 year from being elected french president, one of the top 10 individuals in the world. Power, women, money, fame – you name it – were his for sure.
    Every light was on green – he was popular, poll approvals around 60%, liked by the media, no serious competition.
    Everybody agreed (most of right wing people included too) that the ellection was just going to be a formality. Any other candidate had a negligible probability to win.

    And then he wakes up one morning in a hotel and feels like a blowjob would be a good idea. A formality too – doubtlessly just one of thousands. A few hours later he sits in a prison charged with sexual assault. Regardless whether he assaulted or not (I am pretty sure that not- he was a man knowing that money and fame achieve much more than violence) he was finished. he would never become a french president. He will also not only loose his job but his millionaire wife.

    How can somebody be that stupid ,

  5. >Scandal thus acts as an inoculation against stupidity.

    Do they? Do they, really?

  6. Durrr,
    yes, they do, albeit not a perfect one. People can and will continue to do stupid things, particularly since, as Mr. Mark Shea is wont to say, “sin makes you stupid.”

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