By Tom Myers
Those who know me know I am not one to write at length about small issues. Sure, I may be disappointed that the desk chair I bought a year ago is already starting to fall apart. Pieces of leather on it may already be peeling and falling off and it may look like it’s ready for the scrap heap. However, among the small entertaining stories, there are big fish that I want to fry and there are bigger issues that I want to tackle and write in this submission to you, my readers.
We all know Rielle Hunter as the mother of former Presidential candidate Senator John Edwards’s child born out of wedlock. Now, Rielle will be appearing in a photo spread in GQ Magazine and will be leaving one question bouncing around in my twisted little brain: Why is it that poor, innocent, vulnerable female assistants who fall victim to big, conniving, powerful male authority figures always seem to also fall victim to the most devastating thing of all, a second career, one that’s a glamorous step away from the one they had originally planned?
From the time the news broke that Edwards may have had an affair with one of his campaign staffers, Miss Hunter did what the media love when people do, which is to try and avoid the media and not give any interviews. If you want to attract media attention, you make every effort and do everything but say that you don’t want any media attention. As a result, you guessed it, Rielle Hunter got media attention. She even took a page out of the Michael Jackson playbook by coming to court with her child’s face completely shrouded. We can all be thankful that she gave her child a normal name and didn’t name it Prince John Edwards II. Now, she is ready to shed her inhibitions (and some of her clothes) and give an interview, as well as a few photos, for GQ describing everything about her affair with Edwards. For instance, we now know that his birth name is “Johnny” and he concealed his affair by using two identical cell phones. Some of you guys are reading this right now and, regardless of political affiliation, are thinking “Hey! John Edwards is a genius!”
There are other instances of women getting caught in political sex scandals and afterwards have gone on to capitalize on the legal troubles and personal turmoil of the homes they helped to wreck. There’s Monica Lewinsky who, thanks to former President Clinton, supported Sigmund Freud’s stance that sometimes a cigar is not always a cigar. After initially teasing America’s 43rd President and having an affair in the Lincoln bedroom, Lewinsky has gone on to have her own memoirs published. She also made cameo appearances in an episode of “Saturday Night Live,” was hired as a correspondent for British television and even became a spokesperson for the Jenny Craig weight loss program. As for speaking for Jenny Craig, Monica, if you’re reading this, they were just jokes.
Those of us who came of age in the late 1990s remember Jessica Hahn as a Playboy model and a call-in guest on the Howard Stern Show. As a comedian, I know of her romantic relationship with the screaming comedian Sam Kinison. So I was surprised to learn that a woman who has associated herself with the scourges of religious fundamentalists was herself a church secretary and working for Jim Bakker, a fundamentalist preacher who hosted “The PTL Club” with his wife Tammy Faye. If you have ever seen Tammy Faye, then you can understand why Jim would carry on with Jessica Hahn. By the way, PTL stood for “Praise the Lord,” something I’m sure Jim thought when he laid eyes, and subsequently other organs and other PTL members, on the new help.
What can we learn from the plights of Jessica Hahn, Monica Lewinsky and Rielle Hunter? If anything, we have come a long way from the days of Molly Pitcher, said to have been a composite of women who brought refreshment to soldiers fighting in the American Revolution. We are a long way from the days of Harriet Tubman, who helped slaves escape their hardships to find freedom. We are a long way from the days of Susan B. Anthony, who was put on trial and risked imprisonment when she made a name for herself by making sure women had the right to do something men were able to do for over a hundred years: vote. We now live in a time where our society has become one where a young woman can make a name for herself by helping out in the name of a cause they believe in only to be subjected to become a cover model, a spokes model or just a model for what can happen if you are surrounded by uptight, sexually repressed fundamentalist Christians.
You, my readers, may have taken something different away from Rielle, Monica and Jessica than what I have just written. I will tell you what I learned. If I want to become famous and do something that I love doing that brings me to the attention of hundreds of thousands of people, then I may have to cheapen myself in ways that make doing infomercials on Channel 900 at three in the morning more appealing. Women in powerful positions once held by men are too smart to do the stupid stuff that men have been doing for years. I even thought of rooting for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign so I could apply to be a White House intern just in case she wanted revenge against Bill. It also makes me think that if I want to become famous, I am going about it the wrong way: by working hard and getting by on my principles. I keep forgetting that I am in the United States of America, where you can get caught in a situation completely devoid of any morals and actually squeak out a good living.