December 08, 2004

Tales out of school: Britain's Nannygate

Judging from newspapers on four continents -- Europe, Africa, Australia, and North America, one of my college classmates -- who once asked me for information to help her get a job, which I gave her, and for which I was never thanked -- has managed to make not only the tabloids but also the respectable U.K. newspapers.*

Why? She was sleeping with an influential government official who may have fast-tracked her nanny's application for a permanent visa. And the British love a good sex scandal. The same official is claiming to be the biological father of her two-year-old, and wants DNA testing. (Given that her first husband has said she had affairs with many rich, powerful men, and her current husband had his vascetomy reversed, I think it not unreasonable of him to believe he may have been the sperm donor.)

While I find British politicians (think Tony Blair) as reprehensible in their actions as I do our own, apparently this man -- with whom she launched an affair within three months of her second marriage -- wants to be a Daddy again -- his political career, my classmate's breaking up with him be damned, and her second husband's willingness to suspend disbelief not to be fathomed. Perhaps it is a cultural difference across the pond.

Since this man wants to make U.K. citizens carry an ID card with all manner of personal information encrypted on it, evidentally civil liberties have gone by the wayside there even more so than here. They say power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and here is an example, in the flesh, as it were.

If my classmate is remotely representative, this is what comes of receiving a degree from a prestigious American college whose name has appeared linked to her in the press in many articles. So, next time I go to London, not only will I be I disliked for being an American, but more specifically, for having gone to that college, were I to mention it in passing. It makes us sound like Sluts R Us,** eager to fuck the rich and powerful just because we can.

I should have had such luck. My life is pale and middle-class banal by contrast. Then again, I will never have to answer the question, for a child, who is my Daddy?

It frightens me to know I am of an age where the people I went to school with -- high school and college -- are now having major political influences, good and bad, across more than one continent. The inmates I know are now the ones running the asylum.
* None of this is gossip; the facts are all attributable from with one search on Google. If I were more tech-savvy, I could provide you with links, but HTML and I are on only the most cursory of acquaintances.

**It was the late 1970s, pre-AIDS, and I am far from condemming the Sluts R Us multitudes, for I probably do count among them, and I don't intrinsically have a problem with the term "slut." I think it is one feminists should claim as an act of power, an act of choice. After all, the men (and/or women) we slept with played their part in this situation as well, but still, "stud" has more positive connotations on American society's sexual scoreboard.

It is 2004, but boys will be boys is still more palatable for many than its correlary, girls will be girls. It's hormones, regardless of gender, so far as I can tell. Or, as it's been said, power is a strong aphrodisiac.


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