One of the lessons of Bill Clinton and the 1990s was that if you cocked up on a spectacular enough scale, it wasn’t necessarily the end of your career, because there’s a thin enough line between fame and infamy to survive. So Bill buggers interns and subverts the law, but because he was the president, he’ll always have lucrative new speeches to give, new articles and new books to sell, and new talk shows to appear on.
While few men living have had the power that Clinton did, numerous celebrities have committed similar crimes and misdemeanors and have managed to maintain whatever level of power or fame they’ve achieved quite nicely afterwards
Speaking of “Crimes and Misdemeanors”, 50-something Woody Allen rogered his decade-long partner’s adopted teenage daughter, but sells enough tickets in Europe and DVDs around the world, and is enough of a Hollywood icon that a studio will always give him a director’s contract.
Janet Jackson may have exposed herself to a worldwide primetime audience of parents and their kids and violated the decency standards of the television network which carried it, but so what? She’s now probably guaranteed a minimum level of CDs she’ll sell, concert halls she’ll fill, and TV shows to appear on.
And likewise with Jayson Blair. Sure, he cooked the books at The Times, but in his eyes, it’s all OK, because the man was trying to keep him down. So let’s give him a book deal and book him on all the talk shows!
The lesson in all of this? Crime pays–if it’s a big enough offense, and you’re already very successful at the time you commit it.
And morals? They’re strictly for suckers.