June 24, 2004

In Case You Were Wondering...

... why it is that we end up with candidates for elected office like Bush and Kerry, it's stuff like the great Ryan divorce file scandal.

For those of you on Mars (I assume everybody else already knows; I understand this is front page news even in Brisbane), Jack Ryan is the ex-husband of actress Jeri Ryan. He is also the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois. According to just-unsealed records of their divorce, she alleged that he took her to kinky sex clubs and pressured her to have sex with him in front of other people.

The media have been on this story with all the excitement of... well, of someone trying to coax Jeri Ryan into engaging in kinky sex with them at an S&M club. This story is about to sink Ryan's campaign. I would be surprised if he hasn't withdrawn by tomorrow.

According to the media, it's not about the sex. Much like when someone says it's not about the money and it's really about the money, this scandal is about the sex. It's racy! It's exciting! It sells newspapers and raises the TV ratings! The huffy newspaper editorials claiming it's all about Ryan misleading them by saying he didn't want to release the sealed files to protect his son from embarassment are the cover the media (and by extension, the public) need to pursue their real agenda: Sticking their noses into other people's private lives and rooting around to find all the really juicy details.

And it's garbage like this that ensures that anybody who has an ounce of sense and anything at all that they'd like to keep private won't run for public office. All we get are self-absorbed egomaniacs (like Ryan) who think they're bulletproof and can somehow survive the gnawing of the jackals, and people who are so dull and insipid that they're just as boring in private as they are in public.

We really do get the government we deserve.

Posted by Mr Green at June 24, 2004 01:56 PM

Hmm. And his son wouldn't be embarassed by these revelations?

Posted by: Jennifer at June 24, 2004 04:13 PM

Tremendously so, I would think. But the judge ruled that the public's "right to know" was more important. The case was brought by the Tribune Company, by the way. I wonder if I have a right to know about the sex lives of the people who deliver my news. Are they so much less important than elected officials?

I demand to know all about the sexual practices of Dennis J. FitzSimons, President and CEO of the Tribune Company!

Posted by: Mr. Green at June 24, 2004 04:36 PM

This could be why she refused the part on Star Trek until they changed the name from "6 of 9".

Posted by: LeeAnn at June 24, 2004 05:13 PM

One point of correction: it's only on page 7 of the papers in Hong Kong.

It's interesting that in many other places politicians sex lives aren't news at all. Mitterand had a live-in mistress and daughter plus his wife and kids. In Australia the last time someone tried this was over an affair between two politicians. The issue wasn't the affair but that one of the politicians published a book and ommitted it, even though she subsequently changed to her lover's party.

It seems to me that America in particular is hung up on politicians sex lives and making sure they're squeaky clean. Except for the notable exception of Bill Clinton. No one ever seems able to explain that one to me.

When are we going to get the juicy details of Mr Green's sex life? Maybe you should run for Senate...

Posted by: Simon at June 25, 2004 03:54 AM

Lee Ann - She's always been 6 of 9 to me.

Simon - If there is anybody on earth weirder about sex than Americans, I'd like to know who they are. I just know we can try harder and out-weird them. We're #1!

Ken Starr cared passionately about Clinton's sex life. So did some fanatical members of the social right. Everybody else here either never cared about it or quickly got sick of hearing about it.

And finally, were it not for my fantastically interesting, exciting, and richly decadent sex life, I would be jockeying to replace Ryan on the Republican ticket as we speak. But the simple folk of my home state would be driven mad by the unending festival of debauchery, the carnival of carnal delights that is my day-to-day sex life. No, I'd better just stick to blogging.

Posted by: Mr. Green at June 25, 2004 08:55 AM