This is a particularly hard time to be a political humorist – so many news stories are volatile and disturbing. Topics like the Zimmerman verdict, abortion restrictions, cruel anti-gay legislation in Russia, and horrible heat waves don’t suggest anything funny, and besides, it feels inappropriate to joke about such sensitive topics. What’s an independent writer to do (lacking the writing staff of The Daily Show)?
Fortunately, cheating by prominent men never goes out of style, and we’re getting a refresher course thanks to the New York City elections, in which Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner are actually ahead in their respective races for Comptroller and Mayor. Apparently, the old adage is true, that any press is good press, because name recognition seems to be more important to voters than the misbehavior which led to each of them resigning not that long ago. Mark Sanford has also returned to public office, after turning The Appalachian Trail into a permanent teenage boy joke. And just to make sure the whole subject stays current, now we have the Mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, who is accused of harassing women employees with unwanted attention and suggestions that their work would improve if they weren’t wearing undergarments. (Filner vigorously refutes the accusations, insisting he didn’t do anything wrong, he just likes to hug people, but he knows he has a problem and will seek help. One of the odder denial/confession combos I’ve ever heard – but stay tuned, the city has opened a hotline for employees and constituents to make complaints. This could get really interesting!)
So while these sex scandals won’t solve global warming or Congressional deadlock, they can help take our minds off of the more upsetting news stories for a few moments; we can chuckle with glee over the more salacious details (like Spitzer’s opponent turning out to be the madame whose employees he patronized; you’d think she’d prove to be a better financial planner, since she got him to pay $4,000 a pop. But I digress”¦).