1. By now, everyone and their mother knows that Gen. David Petraeus had an affair with an obnoxious biographer named Paula Broadwell -- but seriously, this should not be news. People in positions of power are still people, and that means they probably like doing the nasty. It's basic biology, and this country needs to stop being so obsessed with it and who's having it with whom. Ain't really nobody's business, and the standards we hold politicians and other public figures to are absurd to the point of being unhealthy. Humans are sexual creatures. It's going to happen, so let's be adults about it instead of teenage gossipmongers and character assassins. Sometimes people fail at monogamy, but that doesn't render their previous accomplishments null and void or have a significant impact on their professional capabilities. All the affairs we never hear about prove that, and we all know they happen -- a lot (Hi, divorce rate!). No one should have to suffer their private life being publicly laundered while going through an emotionally troubling time -- especially if that time also includes scheduled Congressional hearings. Talk about kicking someone when they're down and then punching ourselves in the eye. Also, who the hell are any of us to judge? Show me a person with a perfect relationship record and I'll show you a person who is genuinely surprised. This should not be news. Hell, it shouldn't even be considered acceptable behavior. It is cruel and it is damaging for everyone involved.
2. Speaking of damaging, today I had to write a story about a high school principal who sent an e-mail to parents urging them to tell their teenage girls to wear long shirts with leggings because wearing tight-fitting spandex or yoga pants to algebra is "distracting" for boys and others. I also had to watch hundreds of comments express support for this kind of oppression. Remember that thing we just talked about? About the ridiculous hyper-focus on sex? It is not okay to tell young women what they can or cannot wear just so that boys are not at risk of reacting to their presence in a way that is perfectly natural. Y'know what? I'm pretty sure the simple fact they're girls is distracting enough for a teenage boy. It doesn't matter a lick what they wear. I cannot believe anyone would say something so blatantly sexist in such a nonchalant way while completely failing to acknowledge that volleyball shorts and cheerleader skirts are accepted without complaint. It's shocking to me. If these girls are clothed, you proceed with class -- and the public does not get to assault teen girls with insults like "tramp" and "slut" over a fashion choice. Again, should not be news -- and it is not acceptable behavior.
3. Speaking of behavior that is not acceptable, let's talk about domestic violence. I know I'm a bundle of fun today, but how would you feel after sharing a story about a man who told police he threw his babymomma's toddler on a bed "like a sack of potatoes" because he was angry she wriggled out of his grip and fell down the stairs? There are plenty of replies one expects: Well wishes to the victim, who may never walk or breathe independently ever again; utterances of shock; requests for information on how to help the family, etc. One does not, however, expect to see a cascade of hate and judgment hurled at the mother, who had the audacity to leave her home while the father of her newborn stayed home with the kids. Apparently, she should have known he was a worthless scumbag, and this is her fault because she put her child at risk. Never mind that a young mother with a newborn is now a) worrying about the health of her child, b) quite suddenly a single parent of a newborn, c) had been afraid to report an incident of domestic abuse that allegedly occurred in recent days. In this complete absence of basic compassion, the victim is being punished for a crime committed against her. Of the comments the story garnered, only a handful actually addressed the accused. I do not understand why more people are not outraged by the appalling suggestion that a woman should be able to "sense" or know when a man will make the independent decision to become violent. Women who are assaulted do not "deserve" what they get for "refusing to leave" their attackers. It is never okay for a human being to physically attack another. This is a fundamental precept of peaceful society. Why then, is the victim the one who is supposed to uproot and flee? Why don't we have a better, more effective system in place to address this persistent issue? Furthermore, statistics show that it can be extremely dangerous for women to leave -- and protective orders are not particularly effective. Remember that mass shooting at the Wisconsin salon? How about the one a week later when a man chased his wife through a parking lot while shooting at her, eventually gunning her down in a Jimmy John's and then killing himself? These crimes are alarmingly common, and yet there is little or no alarm when there should be. Society should be demanding behavioral treatment for these men instead of turning a blind eye while the court process drags on for months and victims live in terror. They should neither demonize women for failing to be mind-readers nor hold them responsible for the actions of an independent adult.
America, cut it out. This is really unbecoming of you.