This is going to sound a bit flame-y but I'm kind of stuck over an uncharacteristic, probably just off-the-cuff snippet in an overall very good post by E.J. Graff at The American Prospect. The main subject of the post, the knee-squeezing twittery by press and politicians about what appears to be a fairly routine affair between David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell.
I can easily see how that intense connection could become erotic—especially when it’s between a powerful man and an ambitious younger woman who’s trying to borrow some of that power for herself, that traditional method of exchanging power. (It may not be a feminist-approved method, but I’m writing about the real here, not the ideal.)
Yes, Petraeus is 60, but Broadwell is 40. At age 34, when they would have met, she was already a West Point grad, a military reservist with active duty experience, an accomplished athlete, and a Kennedy School grad student. Meanwhile Petraeus was still just a colonel. They had a common academic and professional interest in the then-still-under-appreciated field of counterinsurgency.
None of that overrules the possibility that Broadwell is just some older-than-usual groupie to Petraeus's Charlie Watts (the "superstar" drummer for the Rolling Stones, and yes I had to look up his name because as superstars go drummers aren't really at the top of the list.) But it does make it less attractive to leap to that assumption when other factors might make more sense.
Perhaps by working out of the D.C. based Prospect Graff has more of an inside scoop on their relationship than I do out here on the west coast. But unless she's willing to spill I'm still more inclined to look at Broadwell and Petraeus as two mature, successful professional heterosexuals with a too-long, too-close history of common interests in situations where they were too often too far from their respective spouses. For too long at a time.
I'm sensitive to this in part because I'm really creeped out by the dominant male belief that women have no intrinsic interest in sex beyond its exchange value (Bogus Rule of Desire #1) And so I'm creeped out by the implication that Broadwell's interest in Petraeus would have been that of a groupie or "gold digger" hoping to reflect herself in his power. (Because, see Bogus Rule #2, who ever heard of, or could stand the idea of, a man being sexually desirable?!?!?)
It's just weird coming from Graff instead of, say, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or Satoshi Kanazawa. And her parenthetical "It may not be a feminist-approved method, but I’m writing about the real here, not the ideal?" Seriously? That's also something I'd expect to hear on right-wing radio before I read it on TAPPED. I mean, eww!
Probably a typo.