Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Say it Ain't So, G Man

I’ve been teaching The Crucible to my American Lit students. Last week we discussed the sullied hero, John Proctor and his struggle with guilt over his extramarital affair. It seems that an inordinate number of powerful men have engaged in adulterous liaisons. Bill Clinton was not the first American president to commit adultery. Many historians suspect founding father, George Washington was an adulterer. And we know FDR, JFK, LBJ, and Ronnie Reagan, just to name a few American presidents, were adulterers. We’re relatively sure hundred dollar Ben Franklin had plenty of action on the side.Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein fooled around on their wives too.

I find it troublesome to accept the fact that Martin Luther King was a cheater. I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around the fact that Martin Luther King, a man who sacrificed his life for others, was an adulterer. Worse yet, the history books tell me that Gandhi was a member of the cheatin’ husbands club. Gandhi? GANDHI? I mean how did that work? I’m trying to visualize Gandhi fasting away in his loin cloth, proving to the world that change can come through nonviolence, eyeballing some hot young number as she slinks by.

“Hey sweetie, wanna meet me up in my room for a night cap after the nonviolent protest?”

A few years ago I was sitting in an educational leadership class toward my master’s degree. It was a cohort class hosted by the Tempe School District and was taught by the superintendent of Tempe schools. I was the only teacher in the room who didn’t work for Tempe. We were discussing common flaws in leaders and I brought up the tendency of powerful men to engage in extramarital brouhahas. Baby, you could have heard a pin drop. Nobody said a word for what seemed like forever and a day. Finally the instructor said something about all men being flawed and moved uncomfortably to another topic.

As I walked to my car one of my classmates asked,” You ever read the paper?”

“Not lately.” I replied, “It’s been a busy week.”

“You might want to check out the front page of today’s Republic.” he said before climbing into his car and abruptly slamming the door.

I stopped at the Gas and Gulp on the way home to pick up a copy of the paper. And plastered on the front page was a photograph of none other than the instructor of the leadership class, a.k.a. the superintendent of the Tempe School District. It seemed that he had gotten himself into a messy affair with a younger woman. The angry woman had made public some embarrassing emails and the superintendent’s wife wasn’t very happy him.

Weird.

But Gandhi?

Gandhi?

17 comments:

Lazy Writer said...

No, not Gandhi! Please, not Gandhi.

kavita said...

May i know where you read this?Because i have never come across this information before...

kavita said...

Did little googling....loads of pages available.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I'm with Lazy Writer - no, not Gandhi. Or MLK.

Great story. Sounded like the perfect comment for the moment to me. Enjoyed the post.

Teaching American Literature. I'm jealous.

Guely of Sweden said...

I knew you couldn't trust in a man without Underwear. Now, let me tell you something about mother Theresa...

The pale observer said...

Just goes to prove that all men do it!!! Ok, maybe not you - but men (and women) of all walks of life can be guilty of cheatin' ways. But Gandhi... I gotta agree, that's a difficult one to picture!!

Great blog - keep it up!

Cheers
Holli in Ghana

MeganRebekah said...

LOL I had to laugh at the last part of the story. I think we've all made public gaffes like that!

And it is hard to realize that men like MLK and Ghandi are so imperfect. I think that power has a way of getting to men's heads (and women), even the good ones.

Coach BS said...

Lazy Writer,
I can see that you feel my pain.

Kavita,
I think I first learned of the affair watching the Ben Kingsly film. I know Gandhi's grandson talked about the affair in his book.

MJ,
I'm with you both.

Gueley,
I think Mother Theresa's memory is safe. It seems to be a powerful man flaw...

Holli,
Thanks for drropoping in. Checked out your Ghani blog. Very cool. Will make it a point to follow.

Megan,
The truth is stranger than fiction.
I checked out your blog. We struggling writers have to stick together. I'll be following.

#167 Dad said...

Coach BS is me. It's my tag for a discussion board for my students. I have no idea how it popped up. Technology is getting the best of me again.

italgalmm said...

It was only ....
AFTER I had already thanked you for your comment on my blog.. (You AND Coach BS)..That I read here that you are two and the same.. NICE..
Duh
Anyway....
Your Post was FAB...

Oh and by the by.. No Way Gandhi could have cheated..
He just wouldn't have had the energy... a good stiff wind could have knocked that little dude down.
Just saying..
; )

Norman Cho said...

In the end, does it really matter if he did? If Christ can lose his temper in the Temple, and weaken in the garden of Gethsemane, why do we demand a higher standard of Gandhi? What he did and what he achieved was impossibly hard. Let's cut the guy some slack.

Having lived long enough to have my falliblities laid bare, I'm disinclined to condemn people for minor failings.

#167 Dad said...

italagram,
Thanks for dropping by.
As for Gandhi, go figure...

Norman,
I didn't know you had a serious side...

bluesfrau said...

The temptation of the flesh goes a long way... it can even reach Gandhi. And maybe it's best never to put anyone onto a podestal. Because humans aren't perfect in the sense of what anyone might consider perfection. (To me imperfection is part of perfection - because it does exist, and in that it is part of perfection).
Who is to judge what another does...?

#167 Dad said...

Always good to hear from you, Blues.

Bluesfrau said...

Yes, my lack of humour in some situations sometimes really stands out... ^^

Anonymous said...

Blues,
What are you talking about? You have a great sense of humor.

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