That's what I'd like to know!!! And I think the American people deserve the truth. If David Petraeus is really the "decorated general" and "guy with a wife" he claims to be, then how is it that he wickedly bewitched the Inboxes of not one but TWO busy, high-profile women? Which is it, Petraeus? Are you a family man or a hookerish, jizz-misting snatch-hound? You're going to have to PICK ONE.
Because everyone knows you can't be both. Or, at least, your girlfriends can't.
I've been studiously avoiding the details of this whole Petraeus shit-blizzard, because everything outside of "super effective general resigns over consensual adult sexual relationship" just seems so transparently salacious and petty and irrelevant. I don't GIVE a shit who these women are. They're grown-ups who put their parts (or maybe put their parts) on an important man's parts and rubbed them around and such. Even in a tabloid fodder kind of way, the only "good part" of this scandal is the bumbling shirtless FBI guy*, and, really, I only give that a 6 (okay, 6.5 because HAHAHAHAHAHAHA).
The only things that are actually relevant to the American public are: 1) The fact that Petraeus will not be director of the CIA anymore. 2) The fact that Petraeus may or may not have leaked classified information to a civilian. 3) The fact that our shitty puritanical society allows consensual adult relationships to derail people's careers. That is the extent of the relevance.
But instead, from the first day the scandal broke, the media and the general public have been fixated on one thing: Who are these witchy women with their black-magic crotches? Who is Paula Broadwell and how did she charm the snake out of Petraeus's storied war-pants? (Parselmouth, obv.) What's a "Jill Kelley" and with what confounding charms does she lure travelers through the gates of her Mines of Moria? (Delve too greedily and too deep and you'll awaken an ancient evil!) How can a woman have a regular life as a person and also be such an obvious fornicating slut? How do these women sleep at night knowing they're bringing down our Very Important Menfolk who are just trying to do war without the distraction of vagina-induced accidents? These are the kinds of questions that people are literally asking in public for real.
No one seems interested in the fact that Petraeus voluntarily went ahead and PUT HIS PENIS IN THERE.
Here are some actual points that have been raised in the media lately:
There, neighbors say, Ms. Broadwell is the soccer mom, married to a radiologist, who serves her family dinner by candlelight and walks her two boys to the bus stop every morning before school. She is the nice woman in the two-story brick house who wore a costume to hand out candy on Halloween.
Detractors say that Jill Kelley, 37, is a social climber whose lavish lifestyle is now threatened by millions of dollars in debt and possible foreclosure on her home, and who tried to exploit her connections, perhaps even enlisting Gen. Petraeus in her sister's bitter child custody fight.
"She is an extremely good-looking woman," Robertson said of Broadwell. "She is marathon runner, she'd run Iron Man triathlons, and so she's out running with him, and she's writing a biography. And I think the term is propinquity. And there was a lot of propinquity going on."
Kelley is consistently described as a "socialite," which pretty much means "useless woman with nothing to do." Pat Robertson described Broadwell as "a good-looking lady throwing herself at [Petraeus]." The New York Times sent an intrepid investigator to Charlotte, NC to grill Broadwell's coffee klatch on whether she's really the casserole-slinging twinset-ironing Pollyanna patriot she claims to be.
Discussion of Petraeus, on the other hand, is uniformly dry. (As dry as his dumb wife's frigid vagina, amirite!?!? Because it's clearly also her fault that he strayed.) A quick Google search for "Who is Petraeus?" turns up "The Petraeus Affair: Who is Jill Kelley?" and "Who is Holly Petraeus?" and "Petraeus' biographer Paula Broadwell: Who is she?" and "Petraeus's resignation: Who is Paula Broadwell?" in the top ten results. Mainstream news sources are not feverishly debating Petraeus's moral character (though I did find some weird boo-hoo apologetics over at The Blaze).
No, Petraeus is discussed, largely, as an illustrious military man who made a natural, unfortunate, but anomalous "screw-up":
"He really enjoyed his job at the CIA, it was the best job in the world, as far as he was concerned," Mansoor told CNN's Erin Burnett. "He had a good relationship with the president and national security team, and he threw that all away for…due to a personal failing. He is very, very down right now."
Daw. Poor guy. But he was, it must be emphasized, a totally good dude:
"I want to emphasize that, from my perspective, at least, he has provided this country an extraordinary service," Obama said.
Yes, people do care that he put his dick in something (that's what this whole PR disaster is about), but they care because it has altered his career path—a career path that was arguably integral to the security and trajectory of our country—not because it says anything about him as a person. For Kelley and Broadwell, though, it's an excuse to pore over their personas with a jeweler's loupe, to construct narratives about what "kind" of women they are—as though women aren't capable of being just good gals going through a screw-up.
Via Hanna Rosin at Slate:
The battle over the reputation of Paula Broadwell, who had an affair with General David Petraeus, might as well be taking place on some fifteen-year-old's Facebook page. Each side is painting such an exaggerated portrait of the slut nugget/Florence Nightingale at the center of it that you know you are in the presence of some unreliable narrators. The military men fired the shots over the weekend with their descriptions of Broadwell as a simpering seductress who flashed her bare arms and her 6 minute mile legs at the quivering older man. A "shameless self-promoting prom queen," said one anonymous military source. A wedding crasher who "got her claws into him." One general described her as " seemingly immune to the notion of modesty," referring not to the affair but to the tight shirts she supposedly wore in Afghanistan.
Of course. David Petraeus—four-star general, director of the CIA—is a "quivering older man." One of the world's most powerful military commanders doesn't even have command over his own genitals. Another high-ranking man brought low by a preening, devious woman.
Because sex, in our culture, is always the woman's fault. Women are temptresses and sirens who entice men to their dooms. Men are hapless victims drawn into sticky woman-webs. I mean, check, like, page two of the Bible—we've built our entire goddamn stupid culture around this concept. The modern world goes out of its way to excuse men for any consequence of their sexuality, and to crush and degrade women for ours. We construct torturous narratives to place women at fault in every sexual circumstance—even when the women have been raped. Even when children have been raped. Even though stripping a person of their autonomy is built into the definition of rape. This is the essence of victim-blaming. Well...what were you wearing? Well...you are a socialite. Well, what did you expect him to do? He's only a man, after all.
Hey, everyone? Fuck this shit. I don't know how Broadwell and Kelley (or Petraeus, for that matter!) behave in their personal lives and I don't care. The goofy, juvenile underpinnings of this scandal imply that everyone involved is basically a stock character getting their first character arc on Degrassi. And I don't care if they're boozy socialites or saintly soccer moms or wicked Teen Witches with Zelda Rubenstein-brand dong-magnets shoved up their snatches. All I know is that DAVID PETRAEUS WENT AHEAD AND PUT HIS PENIS IN THERE. So if we're going to be gabbing endlessly about Broadwell's and Kelley's soiled virtue, we should be talking about Petraeus's too.
But wait, that would be ridiculous! YES. YES, IT WOULD. SO SHUT THE FUCK UP.
*Well, they are the Federal Bikini Inspectors, after all.