Sunday, 28 October 2007
What a dope Ford was. But his dopiness reflects a more general dopiness.
The very idea that behavior that has been going on since time began should be called an addiction and treated therapeutically, when it just the usual behavior of a large number of men -- the womanizer, tombeur de femmes, donnaiolo, okhotnik do bab -- annoys.
Not an "addict" deserving of clinical treatment or sympathy, Clinton was unseemly in his behavior, and cruel in his indifference to his victims, always chosen -- perhaps that was the best he could do -- from those far beneath him in status, and whose lives, or at least some of them, have been permanently ruined by him. That is quite unlike the womanizing of Kennedy, who picked on women his own size, women who knew what they were doing.
Ford's "sex-addiction" represents the Triumph of the Lack of Will, the Triumph of the Therapeutic. Back to Deep Biology and hormones, but that too is not an excuse, for not everyone behaves like Bill Clinton. Behavior is modified by civilization. Men -- and women -- learn to keep things in check, to make things more interesting, to slow things down, to make them part of an elaborate system. and, as well, for all kinds of reasons that make sense, to control their impulses, should they have them.
We need not mimic the cavemen. Instead of the club, or the palaeolithic come-on -- say, want to see my wall etchings? (see Lascaux, see Altamira), over time other ways have developed. In the Western world, romantic love. See Denis De Rougemont. Horace and Propertius. The troubadours. Cours d'Amour. Lancelot and Guinevere. Petrarch. Elizabethan sonnet-cycles. The 1930s tenor who rhymes "moon" and "June." The shy boy carrying the shy girl's books back from high school. The soda-fountain date, with the soda jerk watching Andy Rooney and Judy Garland. The tango, Argentinean, Polish, Russian. The Personals Columns: "Love long walks on the Vineyard. Weekends in Umbria and Normandy. Bouley and Nobu. Pachelbel Canon by candlelight." All of it.
Clinton was more like a caveman, that's all. A smooth-talking and plausible caveman, and apparently a crowd-pleaser, but a primitive caveman nonetheless. No need to consult the Handbook of Psychiatric Disorders. The language employed in, say, 1940, or 1840, or 1740, meets the case.
Posted on 10/28/2007 12:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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