We already knew that Franklin D. Roosevelt was a lousy president — the Depression dragged on for 11 years, mostly on his watch, so the proper word for what he did to the economic calamity is “extend,” not “end” it — but the strange Bill Murray comedy Hyde Park on Hudson makes clear that FDR was a horrible man as well.
The movie is principally about FDR’s habit of employing his mother to call up local women, some of them cousins, and send them over to be the president’s concubines at his country house in upstate New York. It’s made clear to the women that they’re not to be taken seriously, they’re not to say anything, and they’ll be discarded as soon as the president tires of them, and in this film by Roger Michell (Notting Hill) all of this is presented as merry good fun and entirely suitable behavior by the iconic figure of the party that “cares about women.”
Laura Linney plays Daisy, a second cousin who is hurried into FDR’s life for unpaid sex work. FDR flirts with her by showing her his stamp collection, then takes her for a quiet country drive in his car, which is operated exclusively by hand controls due to his paralysis. But apparently the president was able to maintain an extramarital love life that can only be called Clintonian, or perhaps Kennedyesque. (Why is it that our most priapic presidents tend to be Democrats? Is it because they enjoy doing to the country what they do to unsuspecting younger women?) A more astute director would have played FDR’s womanizing as yet more evidence of the imperiousness of a president who famously used to lie around in bed in the morning dreaming up a price for gold, for instance declaring 21 cents to be the right number because sevens are lucky and 21 is three times seven.
Daisy, quickly accepted as the newest member of the household (though not the only concubine present), gets to witness the events of the summer of 1939, when (or so this movie would have us believe) the fate of the free world rested on whether or not the king of England would eat a hot dog.
Don’t let this post lead you to believe I care about Kristen Stewart. When I told a friend that my editor had asked me to write about Kristen Stewart, that otherwise well-spoken girl’s response was:
“what are you going to write about Kristen Stewart?! That she’s a dumb ho who inexplicably cheated on EDWARD CULLEN and is one of the biggest paparazzi magnets ever — how did she think she wouldn’t get caught in public with a MARRIED MAN? HO. And, she aint even that pretty. BURN.”
I do care what people think of Kristen Stewart. Because it’s funny as hell. And my absolutely scientific survey of the girls gathered at my friend’s house to watch the Olympics last night proves, beyond any possibility of a doubt, that even the most pop-culturally unplugged female has an opinion on Kristen Stewart’s infidelity. My boyfriend adds, “Even I heard about that. Don’t you go quotin’ me.”
And then there’s my fellow PJM blogger Leslie Loftis, who writes about Stewart’s infidelity as a sign of the times – yet another young woman persuaded by others that she shouldn’t settle down too young, even if she’s met the “perfect guy.”
I won’t pretend to know anything about Kristen or her relationship with these two men – I don’t know what life was like in private moments between her and Robert Pattinson, and whether he was the perfect guy he seemed in public; whether Kristen was feeling vulnerable when she cheated, or if she just recklessly did something selfish as so many people our age do. Who knows if he wanted her more than she wanted him and she didn’t know how to extricate herself without hurting him so she waited too long and then did something dumb; after all, it’s not an unusual story for people their age — they just happen to be celebrities so we pay attention.
As stated already, I don’t care. But other people’s opinions on the scandal fascinate me. Because that’s the sign of the times cultural commentators are seeking in the tea leaves of celebrites’ lives. So what’s there to find?
Today the Hollywood-gossip and 20-something-fan-girl sets are reeling over revelations that Kristen Stewart cheated on longtime boyfriend Robert Pattinson with the married director of her latest movie Snow White and the Huntsman. There are many snarky comments about how Stewart was so bold as to cheat on one of the most sought-after hunks in Hollywood. The fans and gossips are combing through old interviews and appearances looking for explanations. The whys won’t be found in such details — they’re in our society, in what we teach young women and men about love and commitment.
These days, we tell teens that their 20s are for living their life, doing their own thing, experimenting, experiencing. So if a girl meets Mr. Wonderful in her early 20s, when things turn to serious talks about marriage and children, she freaks out. Her friends, her sisters, sometimes her mother — they have told her it is too soon. If she goes so far as to get engaged, we women stage interventions. Granted, sometimes marriage is too soon. Other times the couple isn’t a good match. But we don’t typically weigh the relationships with a little discounting of the judgment of a younger woman. We take her youth as the decisive factor.
In so doing, we create the very immaturity we use as evidence of their immaturity.
From Rielle Hunter’s interview with George Stephanopoulos:
GS:You would still walk up into that room six years later, knowing everything you know now?
RH: Would I do that again? No way.
RH: Absolutely not.
GS: So in the end, even though you got this lovely gift, of Quinn. The relationship was a mistake.
RH: I don’t, many things in the relationship was a mistake, but I don’t regret loving him.
GS: And you still love him.
RH: I do.
GS: And he still loves you?
RH: You’d have to ask him that, but I think he does. I mean that I feel that he does.
GS: So how does that work going forward? You have a daughter together. You are a family.
RH: We are a family but as last, the end of last week, John Edwards and I are no longer a couple.
Watching this interview, it’s hard not to notice Hunter’s vivid, immature fantasy life.
As she talks about her relationship with former presidential contender John Edwards, you can practically get whiplash as she swings between reality and make believe, going from giddy girl and back again to sensible woman.
David Swindle recently pointed out how sad it is when a 50 year-old man hasn’t grown up sexually since he was 13. Hunter demonstrates the female version of this aberration. Like most adolescent girls, she embraces idealized definitions of love, marriage and family.
Hunter says, “We are a family” but admits they are “no longer a couple.” This “family” only exists in her imagination. Just because her fantasy life produced offspring it doesn’t mean she’s built a family.
A mature woman knows that it takes an immense amount of self-sacrifice to create a family. You can’t just wave a magic wand and conjure up one.
Has Hunter inadvertently exposed the underdeveloped mental anatomy of a mistress?
Since there still seems to be some confusion about the difference between Man Vs Boy and Woman Vs Girl then let’s provide a concrete example to illustrate the behavior in action. This showed up in my Facebook feed today and it speaks for itself:
Updated: And before anyone else freaks out, yes, it’s faked. “Taelor Vega” doesn’t exist (as if the first name wasn’t obvious enough) and Johnny Heward is just getting his 15 seconds of internet fame.
But people still don’t want to understand the point I’m making. From the comments:
David, your argument keeps shifting. First you made this big spill about how you were shocked and considered it immoral for older men in their 30+ years to find younger women between the ages of 18 to 25 sexually attractive. Then you went on this red herring about how men should be able to tell the mental an emotional maturity of women based entirely on their appearance (completely ignoring our mother’s lesson about never judging books by their covers). Now you shifted to another red herring with an example of a proposition of adultery (whose validity I highly question). But this example does not support any of your previous arguments and is being used to distract everyone to just how poorly your previous two arguments were.
My argument, repeated again: there are two levels of sexual maturity. There’s the sexual attitudes you have as a teenager just going through puberty, the way you view the opposite sex when you’re a boy or a girl. Sex is just about fun and how great orgasms feel. But as we get older we’re supposed to grow out of this immature way of approaching sex. Why? Because living out teenage sexuality in practice — a life of promiscuity, a life in perpetual pursuit of the better orgasm — does not generate as much long-term happiness as a life of adult sexuality. Men and women treat sex like adults. They’ve found things in life more interesting and more meaningful than orgasms. Sex becomes less about me and my orgasms and more about nurturing intimacy between a husband and wife and then creating children.
But not everyone makes this leap. And everyone who thinks they’ve made this leap is always in danger of sliding back to acting like a boy or a girl instead of a man or a woman. So, to make clear for those who chose to selectively read my initial point: there’s nothing wrong or abnormal with a 50 year-old man being attracted to an 18-year-old female. But we as men should be attracted to her because she reminds us of a mature women. Not because she’s acting like a girl, wearing pigtails, flaunting her sexuality, trying to climb into bed with us, and allowing us an opportunity to be teenage boys again. At some point in a man’s development the word “girl” should no longer primarily inspire sexual longing.
Make sense? Men should pursue women, not girls. And being a “girl” means to be immature, like the fake woman above.