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The House of Cards Vision of Infidelity: More Fact than Fiction

Editor's Note: Click here for Part 1 in Becky Graebner's dissection of how Netflix's House of Cards series compares with real life in the political jungle of Washington D.C. And drop by PJ Lifestyle each Wednesday for new installments in the series.

The topic of infidelity isn’t exactly funny—or a subject that many T.V. producers and writers can write into their plots without making the audience completely hate the characters engaged.  House of Cards’ writing involving the marriage and unfaithfulness of Frank and Claire is subtly genius and creepy--because the audience doesn’t necessarily come to completely dislike them for their moral derailment.  This might mean that the writing is so genius that the audience is tricked into not judging the cheating characters, or it might simply shed some light on the moral condition of D.C. and greater society.  I think it is a little bit of both.

When people gain power, they start to feel untouchable.  And when they think they are untouchable, they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors.  They are also more likely to become a target for those who also seek fame, power, and wealth.  Celebrities and politicians frequently fall prey to a false sense of indestructibility, as well as to power-hungry gremlins…and some are led astray from their marriages.

Infidelity is not a phenomenon specific to Washington, D.C.—it occurs from sea to shining sea--but the sinful game has higher stakes in the District.  Due to the nature of the cheating players’ jobs, their environment, and media coverage, unfaithfulness seems to be both concentrated and magnified in D.C.  History is full of famous “D.C. wanderings.” It’s pathetic that I have so many to choose from.  Let’s start at the top…