Whether it be John Mayer or John Edwards, the public loves a trashy sex story.
While first quoting political journalist T.H. White—who claimed only three of the many candidates he'd covered were faithful to their wives—Tarloff sniffs that all this juicy nonsense is "none of our damned business" and Americans should have better things to think about. John Edwards' Affair Caused Elizabeth To Throw Up
Who cares about John Edwards and Rielle Hunter's love child? Daniel Craig's toe-tapping talents or Bill Clinton's creative uses for a cigar? (ed note: we do!) Why can't we go back to a time when people diddled their interns/bathroom stall neighbors/South American mistresses in private?
"Once upon a time, such things went unreported. Washington, DC and most state capitals were for all practical purposes boys' clubs; journalists in those venues were certainly aware of the rampant shenanigans occurring in their midst, and not infrequently were fellow participants. But there was an accepted code dictating that behavior and misbehavior without legal repercussions and not directly affecting an official's performance (and in many cases, especially those involving alcoholism, even when they did), were to be considered a sort of Masonic secret shared only by members of the lodge."
He admits, however, the glee of watching a politician get caught with their pants down stems from political hypocrisy. You know, the Republican who crows about family values while they have a mistress or the senator who votes against gay rights when they secretly crave men. It's no different than the straight-A student getting busted for cheating and us Americans have never been shy about schadenfreude.
While we'll go halfway and agree that our penchants for this trash (and celebrity nipple slips and sex tapes for that matter) is nothing to brag about, we're afraid we've gone so far off the deep end that feeling guilty (or—God forbid—trying to stop it) is next to useless. Afterall, for every gossip hound there's a person of Tarloff's ilk who rather just turn the TV off and open up a James Joyce novel.
Afterall, it isn't as if we aren't forgiving—just look at the praise Bill Clinton, the impeached adulturer, received last week?
Indeed, the only cure for such time-wasting activities might be numbing us with so much that we naturally get bored. Immune to that kind of shock. Or at least the shock involving affairs, homosexuality and illegitimate children among politicians.
Or maybe they'll work harder at a.) keeping it in their pants or b.) not getting caught.