Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Infidelity held in contempt

Men. Why can't their brains override their sexual impulses. Just as
Bill Clinton made a a complete idiot of himself in his indiscretion
with silly young Monica, so has one of my favourite local politicians
brought himself into public shame and ridicule with a sexual
dalliance. Mark Brindal is not of my political persuasion, but I like
him for his incisive brain and tolerance. I like him for his culture and his eruditition. I just like him. He is now on the carpet and
over the front pages for having a sexual encounter in his office with
a young intellectually disabled man. The man's guardian is reported to have
attempted to blackmail him over this - and the sorry saga came out,
Brindal standing up for himself and saying that he did nothing
illegal. No, Mark, it was not illegal. It was short-sighted.
That Mark Brindal is bisexual is no surprise. That a man of such
intelligence, such a superbly rational debater, could not argue with his own libido is a surprise.
I am disappointed in him.
It is not with whom he had an affair. It is that he had an affair.
I am not a fan of infidelity. Hetero, homo or bi, it is preferable
that one disengages from one relationship before initiating another.
It causes less pain to those around you. But, it seems, many men
are willing to accept the
consequences - well, if they think of consequences. I have always
considered that the male of the species is somewhat consequence-
handicapped. They don't think ahead - unless they are financial
Brindal, as I see it, has not only humiliated his wife and step-children, he has
embarrassed his political party and completely demolished his
professional future. Before becoming a politician, he was a
headmaster. Neither world will be rushing to open doors to him now.
And this marvellous man is wasted - just for the sake of a short affair.

Co-incidentally, with Brindal holding press conferences and his
political party doubtless holed up analysing how they are to deal
with his disgrace, the theme of male lack of foresight is being mirrored in the theatre - albeit that there is absolutely no similarity between the love objects of reality and the drama, just the issue of emotional fallout. And that is, of course, my one and only point here. My solitary moral stance. Oh, how I hate the betrayal of infidelity. Ah, yes, I have felt its sting.

The controversial Edward Albee play, "The Goat -
or who is Sylvia" opened at the Playhouse last night. It is devilishly witty
absurdist work about a man who brings down the world around him by
admitting that he is having an affair with a goat. It studies a
family confronting complete disaster - a massive black hole out of
which they may never emerge, so great is the taint of the man's
sexual foray. And he, at the glittering peak of his career, is doomed
by his own disgrace. None of this having occurred to him as he
succumbed willingly to the "amazing" emotional connection he claims
to have experienced with a rural nanny goat. The play depicts the
crashing of his world - so brilliantly written by Albee to have the
actors pausing, mid tearful confontational scenes, while the audience
roars with laughter at the pithy dialogue of the great Albee. Who
would have thought that so many years after "Virginia Wolf", Albee
could perform the same boundary-pushing trick again with yet another
superbly-constructed piece of tragi-comedy.

And here we have, once again, a core emotional predicament with which far too many of us can, oh so sadly and bitterly, identify. Brindals,'s much the same.

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