The moment of truth | money, honey…

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Hardly surprising that this latest plunge into pathetic exhibitionism and public self-debasement is brought to us by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Channel, the bottom-feeder par excellence…specializing in the mass merchandising of lies & manure, dear Rupert also gave us the equally moronic and wildly over-rated American Idol…The proper name for such shows is really “American Fools.”


The moment of truth | money, honey…

By sadi ranson-polizzotti


HOW WE WAIT FOR IT….have waited. Some clever producer has tapped into our desire to hear the public’s desire for the absolute, unbridled truth with a capital T.  Not some watered-down friendly version that may not hurt us, but all of the shitty little things that people do to each other and think (for none of us is completely immune, though some lead a double life more than others), The Moment of Truth, a new television program, meets the supply and demand theory. There is a voyeuristic demand to peer into the lives’ of others (while not wishing them to know about our own) and most of all, to judge.

Let’s face it, we like to judge. We are not, most of us, like the Dalai Lama understanding that the surface of the sea may change but beneath the surface it remains stable and unchangable. Most of us have not learned yet to “hold our anger like a baby” and some of us don’t even know what that means, so we are Everyman. Or at least, The Moment of Truth is geared to everyman and succeeds because some clever psychologist and marketing exec got together and figured out that we are by nature voyeuristic, judgmental (even if we have done the same things ourselves), we are greedy so playing for money is a compelling idea, and we are at once rooting for the person to win yet in some strange way, depending on the contestant, we are sadists hoping they’ll get as close to the $500,000 as possible and then losing it all by answering a question dishonestly. They are, and I quote the program here, “forced to reveal secrets that could destroy every relationship in their lives.


Forced is the wrong word, perhaps, on the part of the voice-over. Nobody forced them to be on the program and they know the arrangement ahead of time: tell the truth and you will gain money and in the process isolate your loved ones (supposed loved ones, for some of the things contestants have done would indicate that there is no great love lost here).


It’s my theory that for some contestants, The Moment of Truth is a convenient foil to end a relationship by revealing all of the dirty things you have done the purpose of which is two-fold: you get to alleviate your guilt, and, you drive away the person you clearly do not want to really be with because if you did, you wouldn’t have slept with his/her best friend, you wouldn’t have fantasies about her sister, you wouldn’t still be pining after your ex-lover, and you certainly would not be comparing the two sexually (and these are pretty standard of the questions), and even better, after accomplishing the goal of spring cleaning your life and feeling “honest” and blessed lily white (but this ain’t no church or Mikvah (Mikve) kids, don’t fool yourself), you get to start over again only this time, you get to start over as a wealthy individual – dependng on how much you just don’t care. How far are you willing to take it?


It’s interesting. There was a youngish man a week ago who was married, surely a decent fellow, yet like anyone he had secrets in his closet. I’d like to think and say that we do not and maybe you are the exception to the rule, but most of us do. The caveat to that statement, most of us do not have the kind of secrets that this young man had… and you wonder, Why all this time keeping them secret only to reveal them on a game show and risk everything you’ve worked for and the things you have lied about to supposedly guard against the loss of that (though frankly, one could easily argue that if you did not wish to lose a thing in the first place, one would not have done some, or even many, of the things he had done. Fair enough). But here is a chance to come “clean” and win a large amount of money. Now there’s virtue for you.


Plato is rolling in his wormy tomb and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics have long been forgotten. Only Caligula could like such entertainment. Family devastation and ruin as “entertainment”.  And foolish I, years ago did not believe a friend when he told me that soon enough Fox would be running Live Nude Executions! Well, they’re damn close. (Did I mention this was on Fox? Where else would it be. Hell, even programs like the Simpsons that are on Fox make fun of Fox because everybody knows that Fox long-ago sold its soul to the devil in favor of profit and viewership – but hey, who said you had to be moral when it comes to TV reading. The hell with the Fourth Estate and responsibilty as that: this is news as infotainment, shrink-wrapped and ready for take-out.


But that’s another long story for a different article. Let’s stick to The Moment of Truth.


The basic premise of the program is this: you are given a lie-detector test before the program airs that asks you myriad questions – approximately fifty, which you are expected to answer honestly. You will be asked approximately twenty or so of these questions on the program, although you do not know which ones and to add some further suspense, you do not know the results of your lie-detector test which means that if you did try to fool the test, you don’t know whether or not you succeeded.


Based on the results of the lie-detector test, the program can then “tell” whether or not you are telling the truth and will reveal your answers as true or false (a female voice-over announces “true” or “false” after each question but, predictably, waiting five or so or more seconds to build up the
suspense as we wonder what will happen next.


You can stop the game at any time and walk away with whatever money you have won so far, but one false answer and you lose it all and walk away empty-handed. This means you can get all the way to two-hundred thousand dollars having deliberately and willingly hurt (“devastated”) your friends and family and partner because of your greed (let’s face it, anyone who tells the truth only when money is involved is doing so out of greed – not the goodness of their heart.)


So let us assume you have come so far: you have admitted to multiple and meaningless affairs with your wife or your husband’s best friends, you have admitted that you really do not like your mother-in-law, you’ve publicly announced that you have breast implants that you have used to your advantage professionally.


Oh, don’t give me the feminist clap-trap of why not use what you got etc. because implants and surgery are all about what you don’t have but wish to have and are about altering the physical self. So this has nothing to do with using what you have or feminism and everything to do with using what you can obtain through literally altering the way you were born. Nothing wrong with that, just nothing particularly feminist or even political about it. It’s just a choice some people make and that’s fine. It’s obviously your body and I, for one, would never dream of telling anybody what to do with their body, but just keep it on the straight and up-and-up. Don’t kid yourself about the reasons why as some “political” statement.


There is nothing feminist or empowering about breast implants. I don’t care what so many women who get them may say, that “ultimately” they are doing it for “themselves” which may well be true, but they are doing it for themselves so that men will pay attention. You can bet your bottom dollar that men are part of the equation –  be it the desire to be sexually attractive to men, to have some “power” over men (as last night’s contenstant, Lycette, said), or because you feel that Victoria’s Secret models get more attention from men and you want to be one of them.


Fine, but don’t bullshit me that this is some expression of freedom and don’t kid yourself either. This is not Roe v. Wade. Sure, it’s your body: go under the knife if you will but be straight about it. Taking care of yourself is one thing – physically altering the way you fundamentally look is another thing entirely. I doubt Katherine McKinnon or Camille Paglia would disagree here, but should either, or any fervent feminist find this, I’d welcome her thoughts because I am not one of those people so utterly and always convinced of my own “rightness”.


Lord knows, it is our differences that make the world go round and one is capable of having a conversation without it being a nasty pissing contest (one likes to think so anyway – have we not reached that age yet? Or does the pissy-pithy factor last forever? If so, what a shame.)


Want your inner-most thoughts revealed, then The Moment of Truth is the place for you and while many of us – especially many people, in my own experience, from Europe where I grew up – feel that some things are better left unsaid, this attitude would make a program like the Moment of Truth redundant. Well, thank god for voyeurs who wish to hear the secrets of others, and thank god for those who are masochistic enough to choose to participate. Or should I say greedy enough to be guests on the show. And yay for the audience, the “madness of crowds” that such programs make us roar just as the Romans delighted to see Christians eaten by lions. It’s not so different a construct.


It’s worth noting that many of the questions relate to sex. Sex and infidelity and how you feel about your parents and friends (did I say that those people – your family, your spouse or partner, your “BFF” are all sitting on a sofa on the stage waiting to be crushed by your blowingly honest answers? Well they are. Did they before the program, think that you had no secrets? How very naïve.


It is my experience that everybody has a secret of some kind. It may not be sexual, it may not relate to envy, but I have yet to meet someone without a secret. This means that I don’t know what it is, but I do know that almost everybody holds something of themselves back, some mystery, and that this is in some ways a positive thing. It allows the self to hold onto the self. We do not offer ourselves bare, naked in the Kleig light on a platter.


Personally, I don’t think we were meant to share every last little detail of our lives: the self keeps something for the self always. At least be honest with the self. Doing so doesn’t prove love anymore than my secrets, however minor or major, do or do not prove that I love my husband. I absolutely do love my husband, hands down. But do I feel compelled to tell him every last little detail? No, I do not, nor do I expect him to share every last little detail with me (for example, “Today, dear, my head turned because I saw a woman far more beautiful than you and I had a brief sexual fantasy about her and we made eye contact.”) Now, does that happen? I would wager that Yes, it may happen (it may not, but then, it would be perfectly normal if it did).  I expect that there are other attractive, yes, beautiful women in the world and that he notices. He does not wear blinders after all and I am not his master and keeper. Heaven forefend he may even flirt with women! Frankly, I for one do not wish to know the nitty-gritty of this because it would serve no purpose and be only hurtful.


Even if my husband were to have a meaningless affair (and by this I mean no emotional content – and again, I am not saying he is, this is a philosphical construct only), I am not so sure I would want to know. If it were truly meaningless and only about sex and some affirmation for his ego, how does it help me to know? It would only hurt me and it does not, in my estimation, mean he loves me any less. It means he is insecure and a fuck up and needs therapy to get his head screwed on straight but at the end of the day, it has very little to do with me and everythi
ng to do with his own issues.


By no means do I wish to stereotype that “all” Europeans have affairs, etc – they quite obviously do not. Affairs can hurt in any language, but they are treated differently from culture to culture – in ways both good and bad. Sometimes people get terribly hurt. God knows I’ve edited a number of French books about exactly that kind of devastation that comes from such things to know that an affair can be hurtful in any language. Yet personally, I remain (and this is strictly for me) of the opinion that unless my husband should fall in love with another woman, whether or not he flirts or fantasizes or fantasized about my girlfriend(s) is of little or almost no consequence to me (although it was at one time, things and people change). I am not a kid anymore. Aging has made mellowed me and there are no longer hystrionics in the kitchen over some stupid school-boy crush.


The question then naturally asked of me is would I  be hurt if my husband had an affair? Yes, I suppose I would if I knew about it and I am not sure I would want to know about it, perhaps because I would be hurt. I honestly do not know the answer to this question. What I can say with certainty is that if he were only honest with me only for some cash reward, then yes, I would be devasted because it would have nothing to do with honesty and our relationship and everything to do with monetary gain.


Some questions asked on a recent episode of “The Moment of Truth” (a more apt name might be, The Moment You Are Honest When Cold Hard Cash is Involved), and I paraphrase; “Have you ever been attracted to your wife’s sisters?” “Have you ever slept with one of your wife’s sisters?” “Have you ever had sexual fantasies about any of your wife’s friends?” “Is your wife the most attractive woman you’ve ever dated?”


Tell me though, how it helps matters to tell your spouse you have had an affair? It may help if you did so without money, yet in  my experience, it is that the relationship is already damaged before the affair – the after-shock is bruised ego and hurt, but were one not open to an affair, it wouldn’t happen in the first place. For such a thing to take place, it follows that the relationship must already be flawed in some ways. Let’s face it, happy couples do not have affairs. There is usally, almost always, a warning shot over the bow. So why should a couple who surely has seen this program, be surprised at all by the questions that all relate to some “infidelity”.


The second time I watched the program it was billed as “blonde ambition” because the person in the hot seat was the classic, standard canned-definition of the cultural bimbo. Not because of her hair color, but because she is built like a brick-shithouse and dressed like a whore at 3:00 a.m. when her shift is ending. She was billed as a “model”.


I think my favorite part was when the announcer proudly billed last week’s effort as a man who “almost destryoed his marrige and his family.”  The question asked at the beginning of the program is this: “Is there an honest person left in America?”


But that’s not the question really – really the question is how far are you willing to go for money. How many people are you willing to hurt, how many relationships are you willing to damage, how many alliances (and by this I mean of all kind) are you willing to break (which is essentially the definition of Machievellian – making and breaking alliances for personal gain because at the end, there is a big gain, let’s face it.)


Some questions for “Blonde Ambition” included, “Do your breast implants make you feel more powerful?” (Yes they do, she says).

While working at a restaurant, have you brushed yoru chest against a customer to get a bigger tip (No)

(and remember, so far, all of the answers she gives are true, until I say they are not true, they are true and the contesant is winning money) Have you deliberately manipulated your mother into thinking you were a virgin? true.


So far, these are tame questions.


During confession have you ever lied to a priest? No.


The interviewer’s find your achilles heel and then ask questions based on that. But read on, it gets better, or worse, depending on your point of view:


Have you ever sent naked photos of yourself to a magazine? Yes

Would you be happy to look like your mother when you are her age? No.


In this case, they found an hispanic girl with a religious upbringing, who was already perceived as a bimbo perhaps because of her presentation (so questions about “have you sent naked pictures through the post to a magazine etc., have little to do with nudity and freedom of expression and are more a social judgment and insult, the goal then, to humiliate and hurt the by-standers. (the answer was Yes).


What we find out about each contestant is not whether or not they are a truly honest person, because if they were, there would be no skeletons in the closet and nobody would be “devastated” as they were the week before, and by the shows’ own admission, relationships would not destroyed (family, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, siblings, you name it – they go for it, and questions will be asked that can damage all of those relationships).


To be
fair, if you’ve ever had a moment of envy or insecurity in which you truly envied a friend for even a very brief moment, then you must answer Yes. Kiss that relationship goodbye.


Personally, I am happy when my friends succeed – but is there sometimes a twinge of envy? Yes, I think that’s normal. What a question like, “Do you ever worry about your friend sleeping with your fiance” is a pretty normal question and insecurity, but it doesn’t mean you do not love your best friend or your lover. It simply means you are insecure, but who isn’t.


That’s not dishonesty, it’s discretion. We don’t pour out our every thought; do we wish to look like our mother? Is that important? If we do not, and we haven’t told our mother, is that a major crime?


And what of the questions that relate to that oh-so-loaded term adultery, which I understand we need a term for it, but let’s face it: we hear adultery and we think of Hester Prynne. We don’t think that perhaps two people who happened to be married fell in love, which is unfortunate for everyone involved, and no doubt harder for the two spouses who did not fall in love and were on the sidelines yet it happens and sometimes marriages end, and sometimes they do not, and sometimes you fall in love, and for some other people, they have what they call “meaningless” affairs.


For me personally, I don’t understand how any affair would be meaningful, otherwise why bother? I am not saying I have affairs, I am simply saying that I don’t’ do things without meaning. I try to make it that everything I do has some meaning, and I would never willfully hurt someone I loved, but what if your loyalties are suddenly and quite unexpectedly divided? Is this something, some information that you go on national television and sell for money, or is this between you and your own morality, or is this between you and your partner? I suppose it depends on the person, but I never thought I would see the day when it would have to do with money. A day when, as now, we are paid to tell the truth – not because of Truth in any Platonic sense of duty or honor, but truth for 10K, or even 500K.


More, I strongly feel that some things are better left unsaid. Maybe that is the European in me, but I hate to make a cliché or pigeonhole myself as well but let’s face it, different parts of the world have different social mores and different ways of thinking. In many European communities, having an affair, taking a lover, is fine so long as one is discreet.  To me, this seems like a waste, but that’s me. The only reason at all, the only excuse, really, for lying is that you do it to protect a thing that you love. You strongly feel you are doing it for the greater good because in your heart of hearts, you want to be with that other person and not just some of the time or a litle bit, but a lot because that’s love.


And love, and again I speak of Eros and Platonic Love, not sexual love or infatuation, is something you cannot ignore or avoid and it is not something you invite into your marriage – it just happens. We fall in love unexpectedly and at inconvinient times. That’s not an ‘excuse’ because love doesn’t require an excuse, nor is it an excuse to deceive, yet we are human, we err, we do not always handle things in the best way. Marriages end because one person falls in love with another and they go on to live a happy and long life with the other who was a “lover”. That’s not sordid; that’s life.


But that’s not what we’re talking about here in The Moment of Truth. The Moment of Truth is about all things sordid and nasty and hurtful. Questions like, Are you still attracted to your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend? Have you ever regretted breaking up with so-and-so? These are questions designed to hurt and that serve no purpose.


Blond Ambition is, the voice over tells us, “forced to reveal secrets that could destroy every relationship in her life”, but hey, so what – at the end of the day, it will hurt a whole let less with a half a million dollars, right? And perhaps to the contestant on this program, it is not about honesty, although they are forced to be honest to get the money (the end justifies the means), it’s about priority and gain. You are saying, by playing this game, that money is more important to you than friendship, husbands, lovers, you name it – are worth less to you than cold, hard cash.


“I think the only one who can judge me is God,” says Blonde Ambition about her responses to the questions – her revelations. What would her “God” say of her in this moment? I suppose Lycette plans to give her winnings to the collection plate, set up a ministry or two or three in a country where it is most needed, strip off her skin-tight dress and multiple chains, don some practical clothing that won’t necssarily show off those fake breasts to best advantage (oup, there goes her ‘power’!). Look – there’s nothing wrong in wanting money itself, but be honest about being honest. You’re being honest not for honesty’s sake, but because therein lies the promise of money – a lot of money.


So we learn that our only reward, or the only worthwhile reward, for being honest, is money, monetary gain.


You can practially see Seneca’s eyes roll, and the rest of us, well, we revel in the revelations, whooping and cheering while lives fall apart. We are not so far from “live nude executions” after all.


How sad.


sadi ranson-polizzotti, a Senior Editor with CJO, is the mistress of tantmieux on both Cyrano’s Online and on her original blog. Her writings are widely distributed throughout the Internet. She is now under contract to Continuum Books and is writing a full-length manuscript about Lewis Carroll as part of a series of great authors, edited by Senior Edit
or and 33 1/3 Series Editor, David Barker.


10 comments on “The moment of truth | money, honey…
  1. This trend–old in American culture–seems to have no bottom. As our culture keeps decaying these merchants of filth keep on making millions out of people’s own frailties…which they often create or enlarge through their mind games. Disgusting. And, yes, sad, too.

  2. We’re basically a brainless nation with no class and no self-respect. Not surprising we see these examples of exploitation in which the victim is more than willing. Great insights in this article. Thank you for the honesty and the crack cultural commentary.

  3. The American people—as well as most people today in what we call the modern Western societies, and that includes some nations that have considerable populations of well-off people like parts of Latin America, have flattened their cultural depth in the last 3 or 4 decades. The change is perceptible; there’s a pervasive lack of focus when it comes to culture, and a blandness mixed with commercialism, banality and in general the same obnoxious values we see rampant in America. In fact it is merely the effect of having their own cultures displaced or heavily influenced by American mores. The problem is really global. Shows where money will lead you when it is the principle criterion for anything, including the production of creative artifacts.

  4. i think what you say is true, that so many cultures (intentionally now – remember when the concern was that communism would wash ashore in a red red sea?) how funny then that now it should be the “americanization” of the world. That’s not America bashing – and i don’t mean it that way – what i mean to say is that we are reaching a sort of homogenization of the world and there is everything wrong with that…. maybe Iraq has, or will soon have, a Starbucks and T-Mobile hotspot cafe and a Gap. It wouldn’t surprise me and some would see this has a “positive” development. I do not.

    The concept of telling the truth for money is one that disgusts me and the voyeurism involved in watching someones life come unraveled on national television (and before anyone says it, i watched this programme only to write this article – otherwise, i am not a big television watcher, period, and particularly not of this kind of program…) yet i found this something i felt compelled to write about.

    I feel we all have our skeletons. Someone once told me that “everyone” lies (I was very young at the time) and i disagreed. Not everyone lies. Certainly, i did not see myself as a liar, yet i have found that, even to my dismay, we do all lie to some extent – we may not lie outright, but we lie by omission. I don’t judge that in others or myself. We have our reasons and sometimes they are even good reasons (it sounds funny, but there are good reasons to lie or omit the total truth, anyway). Further, as a poet, it is sometimes MY JOB to lie. Not everything i write is “the truth”; much of it is fiction – yet i find many readers who take what i write and assume it verbatim and about my life. I never understood that – why cannot poetry be fiction? If i write about a lover, is it necessarily so that I have one? No. It’s not. It may hark back to an earlier time or it may be a complete fiction — thats’ the poet’s choice, even luxury. We get to play in our world.

    But to lie to such an extent that the truth would devastate your friends and family, one has to ask oneself, whether or not you want those things and those people in the first place. For such things to have occurred, there must be a fundamental problem with the relationship. I recently knew of a couple and the wife (by seeking) “discovered” that her husband was in love with and had acted upon this with another woman. She then said that the other woman had told her that there were “problems in her marriage.”

    There are two things about that that bother me: One, it is illogical that the husband’s lover would say anything about said marriage for it would only tip off the wife in the first place, so it’s an unbelievable statement on teh part of the wife; in fact, it’s an outright lie. No lover would tell their lover’s spouse that they have “problems” – use your head (duh). Secondly, no matter that it was NOT said, isn’t it implicit that if the husband writes that he is “in love” with someone else (or even two people – his wife and the other) that HAD the woman/lover said this to the wife (which again, one seriously doubts) she would or was right…. There WAS a fundamental problem – HE WAS IN LOVE WITH ANOTHER WOMAN. How much more of a fundamental problem can you get than that – and besides that, that’s not “really” the problem. The trouble is that which led to the other spouse falling in love in the first place: he had to be open to it and thus, yes, there must have been some divide in the marriage, some dissatisfactions and needs unmet or unable to be met by the wife that led to this. It may be hard to hear, but the lover made the husband happier. This is not the lover’s “fault” (if we MUST ascribe blame, and in this sad “culture” it seems too many people feel compelled to judge and cast stones when they ought be looking inward or minding their own land, etc…).

    You can’t blame a third-party for the problems in your marriage. The most you can say, if you must, is that you feel it was wrong of the other party/the lover to meet your spouses needs. but let’s face it, it takes two to tango…. the husband sought to have his needs met and in the final account, it ws never the lover who made the vow to the wife or who walked down the aisle and said, I forsake all others.

    Things change. You surely meant it at the time, but sadly, things DO change… people change, they fall out of love. It’s sad, it sucks, but it happens…. When that’s the case, it’s best to cut your losses and get out, OR, stay if you must and okay, have that lover to bring you the joy that you need – it need not be “sordid” as the other spouse would like so much to make it out to be. Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s real love and that is the hardest part for her in all of it.

    What I want to know is why it is that the woman is always called “the other woman” in the most derogatory and downgrading way and why SHE is considered a “home wrecking whore.” To me, it sounds like the home was already “wrecked” and that the door was open and that if anyone walked, it was NOT that the “other” woman walked “in” it was that the husband walked “out”. But it is phrased as, “He made a mistake (poor vulnerable him) and she is the whore.” Let’s then slit her throat and hand her by her feet — how absurd.

    Let’s all come clean and make a few bucks.

    I wonder, does the fact that i like the way i look and that i do not wish to look exactly like my mother when i am her age make me a bad person? I want to look like Katherine Hepburn. I want long, silver hair in a braided bun like Jessica Tandy. I don’t want any plastic surgery; i want to age gracefully, if possible. I want to stay young – looking and in spirit – for as long as i can, my whole life I hope. I’ve often been called “ageless” in how i look and i like that. I am “no age”. I am digressing here – but maybe we can all of us make some money by taking a lie detector test and tellign what we really think of programmes such as this one.

    question: do you think this programme sucks?
    answer: yes. I really do.
    answer (voice over): that answer is….(pregnant pause)… true!
    result: voila! you win half a million dollars.

    Why aren’t the questions like that? Why aren’t the qustions geared toward, Do you think the war is about oil? Do you think we are prejudice as a nation? Do you think we have the right to tell centuries old cultures what to do when we are only a few hundred years old nation? Do you like George Bush? etc etc….

    Ah, we all know why…. because we don’t want to know those answers because they are “boring.” Instead, we want to know whose sleeping with whom and how and when (and if we could, we’d even hear the sounds they make – damn, we’re almost there…)

    I just find the whole thing sad, pathetic, telling of our present-day society, and the one thing I WILL say is that at least on the Simpsons, they make fun of Fox constantly and it’s a smart programme. A cartoon speaks the truth…. it’s smarter than most shows…

    It’s all so funny to me, it’s all so damn expected.

    I wait for live nude executions… we are getting closer and closer… or maybe they will be live nude executions of the people who produce such clap-trap….

    i’m glad this piece is resonating with you all so far. and i’m ever-grateful for the read…. really.

    be well, and thanks for listening,

    s.r.p., march 21, 08, 12:59 p.m.

  5. FRIDA: Amen to that. American culture is like a foreign, alien species taking over the natural habitat of weaker species and devastating it. Reminds me of what happened to so many defenceless species in Australia after we introduced European animals, the dingo, for example has contributed to the extinction or near extinction of several. The “dingo” of course is blameless, he’s just another innocent animal, but I think the metaphor holds.

    SADI: You’re a professor of what we might call “boudoir mechanics”–the chemistry, physiology and resultant clashes and displacements of emotions and behavior under enormous pressures…That said, I think that much of your analysis is chiefly applicable to the canons of middle brow morality–granted, the vast majority in the modern Western world at least. I believe the very poor (especially in other cultures and classes) behave differently and feel differently of course. I can’t take credit for this thought because I read it here some place, I think in one of the editor’s own analyses, but am trying to reapply it as best I can…And the rich, the privileged, especially those with roots in privilege going down centuries, well, they behave by a totally different standard. Jealousy and all the other passions that strong attachments and infatuations can generate do exist, but much less frequently because these folks have a much greater access and ease to replace anyone they lose and they live lives of constant pleasure seeking where hedonism as a life style leaves no room for deep allegiances in the strictly romantic sense. Hence all the incredible (some would call it shocking) arrangements we observe, when we’re allowed a peek into the inner sanctums.

  6. Utterly fascinating read. I’ll still watch the program but now from a different angle. I guess we’re (many of us) just addicted to junk tv and cheap thrills. Not much else in our lives, is there.

  7. huburt – what the hell do you mean by “middle class morality” and “boudoir mechanics”

    explain, please. you make no sense.

  8. doris, hi ~ thanks for the read. sad there isn’t much else on tv which is why i either forgo it (i only watched to write this piece at a friend’s urging) because i feel i have my own reality… you know? But i’m pleased you found this interesting… truly…. thanks again and be well,


  9. hubert – “middle brow morality”? “boudoir mechanics”? I’m thinking you are actually attempting to insult me here and my morality, of which you know nothing – but tell me, in plain english, what it is you *think* you know about me and how I think? AND my past? I”m dying to know. Anyone who feels they can insult me in some not-so-subtle way should clearly have some explanation – or am i wrong and you were saying something nice?

    Do tell. We’re all waiting to hear….

  10. Now it’s me who is at loss. Ms. June, put aside your unwarranted hostility. You are not aiming it at an enemy. I frankly cannot see what you find so unclear in this sentence:

    ““boudoir mechanics”–the chemistry, physiology and resultant clashes and displacements of emotions and behavior under enormous pressures…That said, I think that much of your analysis is chiefly applicable to the canons of middle brow morality–granted, the vast majority in the modern Western world at least…”etc.

    My point was that in this very fine essay—it seemed to me and so I wrote it in my comment—that the author had chosen to apply her powers of observation and commentary on the intimate behavior, sentiments and mores of the so-called middle classes—which as we all know is the vast majority (at least in the developed world). Sexual and sentimental entanglements are the subject of complex codification in most modern societies and the observance of such rules, in each individual case, or flouting, trigger struggles that can be devastating to the participants. My intent was to start a dialog asking whether this behavior applied to the whole of a stratified society, which I believe is a valid question since feelings, emotions and mores do vary some between different layers. In my own case (I’m middle class, and have lived most of my adult life in Australasia) I have had the opportunity to see firsthand that the upper classes have a very distinct way of approaching things of this nature, an almost businesslike attitude masked with layers of “proper” manners, etc.

    Ms Sadi: You’re just plain mistaken. If you read the above, you’ll see I was merely trying to establish a dialog about these topics. I meant it as a sociological discussion issuing from your passionately expressed insights. It has nothing to do with who you are in private, nor do I care to know that because, well, it’s your business. Nor was I passing judgment on you or insulting you in any manner. You simply misunderstood. By calling you a “professor” in these matters I was paying you a compliment, since you are the most daring and knowledgeable of the essayist on this site in topics relating to personal liaisons, etc., about which I’m eternally interested given my own checkered past in that regard.

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