Friday, December 19, 2008


(Photo (c) New York Magazine 2008)

In high school our class president, Steve, knocked up one of the varsity cheerleaders, and soon after was discovered smoking marijuana. In the early 70’s in the middle of middle America, the refrain went, “They start with marijuana, but it leads to LSD.” I don’t think Steve was tripping, but I do know that he already had sent one of his previous girlfriends to Kansas for an abortion. So trashy, right? It reminds you of, say, Eliot Spitzer (above). Or, worse, John Edwards. Or Governor Blagojevich (right, who mysteriously sports my exact high school "swoop" haircut) or Idaho Senator Larry “Bathroom Stall” Craig. Or sleazebag, “alleged” multiple wife killer Drew Peterson. (Did you hear that Peterson is freshly-engaged to a 23-year-old waitress?) What is with these guys? Seriously. Every one of them has the Steve Syndrome.

Steve Syndrome (SS) is an ever-increasing tendency among men over 45 to act out in ways that suggest 16. A bad 16. SS is characterized by a need to “get away with” something. Many of these men have a couple of real pronounced traits in common. First, they cheat. Second, they do it because they need to pull it off. The rush is in the deception more than the act. I truly believe that everything involved in the deception, from the other women, to hiding the bodies of the murdered wives, to selling Senatorial seats, to fathering a child with a mistress, to becoming a high profile politician and having sex with hookers – all of it is nothing more than a tool to get away with something. There’s just a real power in being the only one who knows what you have gotten away with. And it’s all about power, isn’t it?

After all, what is money anyway? It’s just power on paper. Witness last week’s revelations about financier Bernard Madoff (not photogenic and not pictured), who systematically swindled his investors out of billions. $50 billion is said to be ballpark. Come on. There is not a human being who needs $50 billion. Bernard ‘s crime is said to be the largest incidence of investor fraud ever perpetrated by one human being. Now, that is power. One side of Madoff’s egotistically-twisted brain is probably shocked that he has been formally charged with securities fraud. But the other, more cunning side is reveling in the sheer dominance of it all. Banks from virtually every European country have already reported losing billions because of Madoff’s scheme. Some of Palm Beach’s crème de la crème are reeling from their immense losses. Bernard Madoff feels like one powerful son of a bitch; you can bet on it. (By the way, if you want to know what a billion dollars looks like, it is pictured, above, right)

Bad boys like Spitzer and Edwards (below, left, tending to his modified Blago swoop) are likely having to re-define their fundamental self concepts, due to their loss of power. Both from financially well off families, and both remarkably successful politically, Spitzer and Edwards tasted true power over a sustained period. They also lived highly public lives and learned to charm the masses with the turn of a phrase, the right upturned smile and a certain public persona that suggested trustworthiness. All the more reason to crave the power that comes with deception. For Spitzer, the deception presented itself in the curvaceous, nubile youth of “escort” Ashley Dupre, 23. For Edwards, deception was a videographer hired by his wobbly presidential campaign, who willingly became his lover and probably gave birth to his child. Were it not for one bad judgment call the night he met his mistress and her (their?) baby in a room at the Beverly Hilton, and one National Enquirer photographer going snap,snap, Edwards would probably still be luxuriating in the glorious power of deception.

The very bad, bad boys of 2008 slipped up big time when they gave into that craving for another fix of delicious power. There were others this year – please don’t even get me started about O.J. Simpson. And I’m asking to not even mention Alex Rodriguez. Nor should we try to tackle father of four Balthazar Getty. Oh, did you hear the one about San Diego Padres outfielder Brian Giles,
whose ex-girlfriend now claims he beat her and caused her to have a miscarriage? And is there really one more significant word left to say about Peter Cook?

I think we need some sort of Guantanamo for bad boys. No water boarding or anything like that, you understand, just a place where we can send these guys to live out their days with no power. Jesus, I feel powerful just thinking about locking John Edwards up with O.J. Or Eliot Spitzer with Drew Peterson. Do you love it? How about Governor Blago (with no comb, mirror or hair gel) sharing a nine by nine cell with the foot tapping Senator from Idaho? Listen, don’t judge me. I don’t have the premiere bad boy, Leona Helmsley (left) to kick around anymore, so what am I supposed to do?

Close your eyes. Envision the New Guantanamo with me. It’s intoxicating.
UPDATE: THE BAD BOYS ARE CROSS-POLLINATING! After the above piece was posted, the NY Times reported that Eliot Spitzer revealed at a weekend holiday party that his family's real estate firm had invested and lost money with Bernard Madoff. (Hmmm...we may have to re-arrange the cellmates now).

1 comment:

Nicole and Mon Voyage said...

I have always thought that one of the most common and most disgusting side effects of great power (political or financial) is a foolish inability to keep one's willy in one's pants. Maybe it's chemical...the extra testosterone or adrenaline must have a direct venous track to one's hands and just force them straight to a zipper. Maybe the ones who *%#k people over in non-physical sense have different body or brain chemistry and satisfy the urge in a more "creative" way. IJS.

Do you think all the Jeffersons will get to have a family suite at prison?