What has astounded me about the recent Cock Ness Monster story is not that it happened. (I'm shocked... SHOCKED that a man cheated on his wife... and a politician no less!) Rather, it's the stupidity of the plan.
I mean, here you have a seasoned law enforcement official... a Spit Bull, if you will. Someone who has ticked off the deepest and angriest pockets on earth (Wall Street) with access to the fiercest lawyers. Someone who knows what can be tracked and what can't. Someone who knows the penalties for transporting anything unlawful across state lines. Someone who has risen to become governor of one of America's most populous states.
Yet, despite everything at stake, he is powerless to the Nookie Fairy. We should at least expect a brilliant plan. But what do we get? A reckless tryst on the day before Valentine's Day in which the man pays to Amtrak an "escort" from New York to D.C. using bank withdrawals easily large enough to raise every flag in the magenta spectrum.
It reminded me, of course, of Bill Clinton. Here you had a guy in the world's most powerful position, enjoying a popular second term, but with powerful and deep-pocketed forces gunning from every angle. And what did he do to protect this paradise of power and influence? Carry on a lowbrow affair in the Oval Office that was guaranteed to be discovered.
Morality issues aside, are these guys just plain stupid? Why does Larry Craig play footsie in a public bathroom? Why do professional athletes have their trainers stick their keysters with HGH? In most cases, it begs the question, with this many people doing it and getting caught, how many must be doing it and getting away with it to justify the risk?
But in the case of Eliot "Phone Whore" Spitzer, another thought came to mind. In Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, psychologist Paul Ekman claims that he can tell if someone is lying based solely on their expressions. In fact, he catalogued human expression into a series of hundreds of individual and combined meta-expressions that he found to be "universal." What does Ekman remember thinking the first time he ever laid eyes on Bill Clinton, on TV, with the sound off?
"Here is a man who wants to be caught with his hand in the cookie jar... and have us love him for it anyway."
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Posted by Marc Conklin at 8:02 AM