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The Fallout Continues: Elizabeth Responds, Rielle Backpedals

In the continuing saga of Rielle Hunter, Elizabeth Edwards is reportedly taking the high road. Hunter herself has more to say about her "repulsive" photos — but was all this part of her New Age plan for fame?

People quotes the classic "source close to" Elizabeth, who says of her reaction to Hunter's pantsless GQ shoot, "She was disgusted by the photos like everyone. But she moved on pretty quickly." The Today show elaborates that after reading the interview, Edwards "still went about her day as usual," visiting her furniture store, taking her kids to a soccer game, and even commenting on her friends' Facebook photos. Apparently she was supposed to tear her hair and rend her garments, but absent demonstrations of her supposed "wrath," the media's had to content itself with analyses of Hunter instead.

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She is, of course, helping them out by never shutting up. This morning she released a statement to Today backing up a bit on her earlier claim that she thought just "one" of the photos in her shoot would be sexy. Now she says,

I understood what photos were being taken. It was my mistake to pose for them given that I had no photo control or approval. I also posed for many photos that I thought were more appropriate for the content of the interview. Obviously, I really wish they had decided to use those.

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Hunter's still sort of blaming GQ here ("I had no photo control or approval"), but it's hard to believe she's too upset about a shoot that boosted her notoriety. Gail Collins writes in the New York Times that Hunter is "a woman intent on rearranging reality to suit her convenience. " And according to Meghan Daum of the LA Times, this analysis may be quite literally true. She cites a 2008 op-ed in which writer Sarah Miller remembers Hunter's 2003 plan to "meet a rich, powerful man" by living in Miller's former bedroom and channeling Miller's "really strong energy." Daum identifies one of the most upsetting things about Hunter — the way she gleefully brings the latent self-centeredness of Secret-style New Age thought ("everything I want will come to me") right to the surface, and plays around with it on the scorched earth of lives and careers. Daum writes,

[T]here's something about Hunter's story that's even more repellent than the average tale of powerful men and the women they sleep with. [...] It has to do with the way Hunter masks her recklessness and narcissism as truth-seeking, the way she hides behind a dialect of New Age self-empowerment and, instead of apologizing for her actions, actually evangelizes their preordination. It has to do with the way she's taken the concept of "awareness" and twisted it until its effect is precisely its opposite.

Of course, Hunter isn't the only one praying (or meditating or whatever) to make hay from her liaison with a powerful man. The National Enquirer has submitted its articles breaking the story of the Edwards-Hunter affair for Pulitzer Prize consideration. The American Prospect's Monica Potts says, "Taking the Enquirer's bid for a Pulitzer seriously shows how obsessed we are with the wrong kind of political misconduct," and notes that the Enquirer has entered Pulitzer consideration before and never won. But given Hunter's earlier success, maybe the magazine should set up shop in Sarah Miller's bedroom.

Rielle's Manifest Destiny [LA Times]
Sex Scandals To Learn By [NYT]
Elizabeth Edwards 'Disgusted' By Rielle Hunter's Photos But Has Moved On [People]
Sex And The Pulitzers [The American Prospect]
Elizabeth Edwards "Disgusted" By Photos [MSNBC]

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DISCUSSION

I won't knock meditation too much because it's done me too much good. However, being from Los Angeles, I saw many people in the entertainment industry (very very self centered) working to manifest things with no effort; nothing on the scale of Ms. Hunter. Pretty close, though.

Yet, I have to ask, isn't that the the nature of the human condition? You want to improve your life with the least amount of suffering. The tools in meditation we learned were largely positive visualization and anyone with an open mind, I think would benefit from the experience.