Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stand By Your Man

So that you can more precisely kick him in the gonads.

I'm trying to make sense of the conservative family values when it comes to adultery by the husband. It's very confusing, because conservatives say that women are supposed to put their families first, to get all their enjoyment and ambitions satisfied by their husbands and their children, to be totally family focused. Except when the man is unfaithful. Then the wife should divorce him, stat.

Even if there are small children, and even if those small children would be hurt by the divorce. The hell with the family, I guess.

It's very confusing. Human beings are much more complicated and multi-sided than the conservative mythology allows, but I still can't quite connect those two arguments into something resembling coherence.

Here are two disturbing takes on what Silda Wall Spitzer, governor Spitzer's wife, must be thinking right now:

On the March 11 edition of the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric introduced a report by correspondent Nancy Cordes on "powerful men who cheat and the women who stand stoically by them." During the report, Cordes asked, "Big-city mayors, members of Congress, presidents, and presidential candidates: Why would they let sex jeopardize a position they worked so hard to win?" and aired a clip of Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn saying: "I can only think that ambition, their own personal ambition, is part of why they stick by these men, because they are accomplished women in their own right. And so, why would a Hillary Clinton or a Silda [Wall Spitzer, wife of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer] stand by her man and allow herself to be humiliated unless there was something in it for her?" Cordes then noted that "Wendy Vitter, whose senator husband David [R-LA] paid a prostitute, had a different explanation," and aired a clip of Wendy Vitter saying, "Like all marriages, ours is not perfect -- none of us are."

Similarly, during the March 11 broadcast of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck remarked of Eliot Spitzer, "The thing that I'm most shocked about in this whole thing, or most disturbed about, is watching his wife stand beside him as he made these statements yesterday." Beck's guest, psychologist and author David Eigen, asserted: "Probably the wife knows that things weren't working ... and she's been going, 'I enjoy my lifestyle. I enjoy my position. And it's simply -- we've been allowing this to go on and on.' And there's been no true dialog ... and that's what really is the problem." Eigen later added: "Well, you know, this is a sad situation. But you know, the bottom line is -- how do I say this genteelly? They're paid to not worry about it. And they're in a position -- they've bartered themselves, in many cases. And unfortunately, you know, she's made her bed, and she's sleeping in it." Beck replied: "Ay, yi, yi."

So a woman who stands by her man is motivated by either the desire to continue her comfortable lifestyle or by her personal ambitions? What's in it for her, they ask. Well, the Spitzers have three teenage daughters. Perhaps, just perhaps, their well-being might matter to Silda Spitzer, too.

I have no idea what is going on inside people's marriages. But neither do these talking heads. It's fascinating how quickly something about a guy frequenting prostitutes turned in some heads into an argument about the comfortable lives of the "cuckolded" women. Spot any patterns in that?