I love The New Yorker. No, more. I lust for it.
When it arrives in the mail each week I feel tingly. Gazing fondly upon the cover image, I fondle the table of contents, looking forward to that magic moment when I'll fill up our bathtub with hot water, pour a glass of red wine, and slip into the dual liquid sensuousness with a magazine that features marvelous writers.
Such as Adam Gopnik, who wrote a piece in the November 26, 2012 issue that spoke about General Petraeus' affair, and sexual morality in general, in a way that make me think: "that's just how I feel, or would have, if I had been wise enough to feel the feelings that Gopnik expressed so well."
Here's some excerpts from his Military Secrets.
Presumably, it is a bad idea for spies to have embarassing secrets that other spies might learn -- and what goes for the smaller spies should go for the big spy -- and so the resignation of General Petraeus may have been necessary. But the rest really did seem to be nobody's business but the General's and his family's.
If there is a small truth to cherish here, it lies in the reminder that Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner and all the other earlier, undecorated sinners were not heated by undignified lusts because they were baby boomers or Democrats, or because they lacked the moral code of real men making real decisions, or because they had spent too much time on Twitter, or whatever the latest explanation for self-destructive sexual behavior is.
The truth is that the force which through the not so green fuse drives all our flowers, and much else besides -- the force of wanting that can cause women of substance to send pestering e-mails, leaving distinguished generals caught in the middle -- is the force of life.
Petraeus, and his defenders and attackers alike, referred to his "poor judgment," but if the affair had had anything to do with judgment it never would have happened. Desire is not subject to the language of judicious choice, or it would not be desire, with a language all its own. The point of lust, not to put too fine a point on it, is that it lures us to do dumb stuff, and the fact that dumb stuff gets done is continuing proof of its power.
...In the meantime, let's recall, from "The Human Stain," the narrator's dream that, at the height of the Clinton imbroglio, someone had hung a banner from the White House reading, "A Human Being Lives Here." The more such banners fly -- from homes, and from tents and barracks and G.H.Q's, too -- the better off we will all be.
I'd especially like to see that "A Human Being Lives Here" banner hung on the Pope's Vatican residence, and the home of every supposed divine or quasi-divine person on Earth.
Gurus. The Dalai Lama. Yogis. Anyone who claims to talk with God.
We're all just human beings living a human life. We all have human desires, human lusts, human cravings. For sex, for God, for all sorts of things. The force of life drives us at every moment, as it must. Until we're dead.