We like our victims pure. They never are. Which brings us to the latest round robin of characters whose mess is in the public square, inciting smiles, head shakes, and outrage, and returning us to the age-old debates about the relationship between women and men. Really, our ideas about relationships are telling not for the scandal unfolding, not for the overachievers at the center of the parody of power, but for how hard it is to talk when we agree.
We agree cheating on a spouse is bad. We agree the heads of organizations like the CIA and the European Allied Supreme Command, organizations whose major assets are personal integrity, singular commitment to missions, and a priority set that sidesteps distractions and turns aside temptations, should not be e-mailing civilians excessively, or circumventing national security by setting up a docs account online to describe what college students I know describe as “hot monkey sex.”
Where we disagree is who had the power. Do powerful men ever become weak? Do women ever gain the upper hand in those mutual but also one-sided relationships of power? Do men in power use women? Do women use men in power?
This morning, online, one New York Times commenter sees it this way. First, she quotes from Maureen Dowd’s column...
1. Men are at best equal to women--but infrequently
Most women I know are so savvy. If their husband thinks "I wear the pants in this family" he is so old millennium in his thinking and beliefs. Women have long let this type of man continue this line of thinking , and then continue and do exactly as they wish. Women realize that there is little sense in arguing with such a man. Let him believe that he is so macho, but the bottom line is he will be doing a lot more of her bidding than she will of his. I really think this is the way it''s supposed to be. Thank God for women---without them we are an unbearable lot. I apologize to women for blowing their cover, but encourage them to keep on keepin' on.