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Friday, January 5, 2024

Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Clinton, And The Glitterati - Sex In High Places Is Still Sex

Everyone by now remembers the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky episode - 'I did not have sex with that woman, it all depends what is is', the dress, the cigar....smarmy behavior by the Chief Executive who could not get over his addiction to trailer trash and had this thing for lowlife. Monica may have been a few steps up from Gennifer Flowers and the Arkansas bimbos that the President favored, but still, JFK had Marilyn Monroe among others, and that certainly was the standard for men in office.  What was wrong with Bill?


Men in Africa had a good laugh over the incident, they of serial encounters, free and easy, the best, the lightest, the darkest, real men, not the pussified men of the West like Clinton who had to sneak and hide with a Jewish intern, do nothing that any respectable Beninois would even consider sex, and then fall over himself trying to deny it. 

The Africans thought President Mitterrand of France had the right idea.  His wife, mistress, and illegitimate daughter mourned him at his grave.  So did President Sarkozy who lived with his mistress at the Elysees; or President Putin who has beautiful blonde, blue-eyed lovers in every oblast.  But Clinton? The most powerful man on the planet and he resorts to this?

So Bill's name features on the newly unsealed list of disgraced international pimp, sexual high roller, and influencer from Washington to LA, Jefferey Epstein.  "He likes young girls" was one of Epstein's entries about Clinton, so the fallout in the MeToo censorious, prudish, and Puritanical world of the United States will be predictable.  Even if he never laid a hand on anyone younger than Monica or if the statement is distorted, out of context or flatly untrue, it is curtains for Bill who despite a reasonable two-term reign in the White House will only be remembered for the intern, the cigar, and his testimony before Congress. 

Again the Africans had a good laugh over that one - a President of the United States drawn and quartered for fellatio? Stories of Lyndon Johnson's sexual escapades were legion and reached as far as Niamey and Pointe Noire.  Soon after LBJ's election, the new president invited the press into the Oval Office and told them that he expected the same respect for privacy as they had given his predecessor.  In other words, the Washington Post and New York Times were to look away as the bull-riding Texan went tomcatting.  He was the Africans' man. 

Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita is the story of an older man's passion for a young girl.  Critics have acclaimed the book, a remarkable tale of sexual obsession and perhaps fiction's one true love story, but women predictably rallied against it - a prurient, reprehensible story of a sexual deviant and his prey, they said; but despite their howls, the book has remained popular.  No feminist hysteria could silence Nabokov's perfect prose and its sexual truths.  The book was no pornographic trash, no glorification of the Humbert Humberts of the world, and certainly no condonement of child sex.  It was a sympathetic, pathetic love story, and a tale of a most unusual relationship. 

Sex with minors is not news.  The Romans loved young boys and kept them as sexual servants.  The Greeks were no strangers to young love; and the temptation of innocence is irresistible. This is not deny the unconscionable irresponsibility of predatory, abusive sex with children, one of God's worst derelictions.  The fictional tales only illustrate the remarkable diversity of human sexual interests and tell of the consequences of fulfilling them. 

Ivan Karamazov in Dostoevsky's book The Brothers Karamazov is eloquent in his repulsion, and dire accusation of a God who would permit abuse of children - his examples of innocence.  Why, asks Ivan, would a god of power, majesty, and authority allow such a thing? 

Nabokov, however, was not Dostoevsky's Russian.  His was on another tack, another interest.  There is such a human, existential thing as innocence, and some in their desperation for it, cross over into harrowingly immoral territory. 

The excellent movie by Abel Ferrara, Welcome to New York, is the story of a sexually uninhibited man - a transparently biographical tale of a former pretender to the French Presidency whose sexual exploits were legion. 

Ferrara’s story, however, is not a fictionalized account of the long legal process to which the Strauss-Kahn character was submitted.  It is the tale of an unashamed philanderer who refuses to be put in the cage of conventional morality.  He is neither proud of nor guilty about his infidelities or sexual appetites.  It is who I am, he says, a self-described libertine whose supposed immorality is other people’s problem, not his.

The real-life Strauss-Kahn was no less defiant.  When he flippantly rejected charges of procuring, he said that he had no idea that the women at a party he attended were prostitutes.  “All women look the same without their clothes”, he said.  “I did no wrong”.

Sexual libertinage, promiscuity, or addiction – whatever the press might call it – in his eyes is morally neutral.  Prostitution has always been tolerated if not legal in France, and women are as much commodities as those he has always traded on world markets.   The fact that his sex drive is more insatiable than others is not the point.

The film is especially important because it is an indictment of today’s increasingly Puritanical American culture.  Sex for Strauss-Kahn/Deveraux was necessary and absolute.  As in the case of most older men, sex with younger women is their only hope of retaining the potency and vitality of their youth.  Although sexual conquest is enough for most men, Devereaux could not stop there.   It was the sex act in all its twisted diversity that mattered.  And what was wrong with that?

The film does not address all of Deveraux' appetites, and whether or not he preferred young girls is not the point.  It, like Lolita was about the obsessiveness of sex and its incredible variations looked at from a dispassionate perspective - a view impossible in today's Stalinist censorship. 

It has never been difficult for a young woman of natural beauty and fearless, uncomplicated sexuality to find employment in the best-regarded professional escort services in Washington.  Surprising only to those few who look at the nation’s capital as the center of probity and moral authority, it is no different in its collective sexual appetites than anywhere else in the country.  The only difference is that men of power and wealth can afford the best, and have an attributed sexual attractiveness thanks to their status and influence.  

‘Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac’, Henry Kissinger once remarked.  Even he, an ugly man who outside of circles of power would have been a sexual beggar, had any woman he wanted.  

Washington was a stable of alpha males always on the make.  The bellwether was Kennedy, a young man of natural sexual allure who needed no aphrodisiacs and nothing other than natural charm and sexual confidence.

He was not the only one.  In fact they all were Lotharios.  The revered Martin Luther King, American hero, moral giant was perhaps the biggest high-profile tom-catter around, joining LBJ and both sides of the aisle in their sexual escapades.  The press at the time was willingly complicit in their dalliances, although J. Edgar Hoover, a closeted homosexual jealous of powerful men’s sexuality, went after both King and Kennedy with a vengeance. It didn’t stop either one, of course, and had the American public known about their infidelities, their approval ratings would have gone up even higher.  

A recent governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, had frequent assignations with a number of high-class, high-priced call girls in the bridal suite of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.  He, a former prosecuting attorney and man of Mosaic law and vengeful justice, had no time to seduce young women, as easy as it might have been (like Kissinger, a physically unattractive man whose sexual conquests were made easy only by the aphrodisiac of power); and so he resorted to professional services. In fact call girls were Spitzer’s preferences.  

As the Phillip Roth character Faunia Farley says in The Human Stain, ‘Men don’t pay you for sex; they pay you to leave’.  Sex with high-class, beautiful hookers was perfect for a busy politician.

So much that has and will come out about Epstein, Ghislaine, and his cohorts is nothing new - men behaving badly, men behaving like men, men of power behaving more like men and more irresponsibly - but the scale of the enterprise alone is something to consider.  America will always be a Puritanical culture, and one cannot even imagine Joe Biden with a mistress, let alone one in his White House bedroom; but that does not mean that he has set some kind of moral standard.  He, like every other man in power wants women; and he, hemmed in by a censorious society, would never stray even if he could. 

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