Tuesday, February 16, 2010
It's the New Coke
For all those who took a flier on "sex addiction" as the next big Celebrity Cop-Out Affliction at handsome 12-1 odds, please report to the cashier with your bet ticket in hand to receive your winnings. At one point it was booze, later it was drugs of varying intensities, and in between you'd see dashes of gambling and the occasional kleptomania (how you doing over there, Winona Ryder?). Now it appears that sex addiction has taken its turn as the en-vogue thing for famous people to hide behind when they make bad decisions.
First, David Duchovny goes into rehab for sex addiction after portraying, of all things, a man unable to resist the deep urges on the show Californication. Then Tiger Woods' wife gives him a worse beating than Rocky in the first Clubber Lang fight, and he is spotted months later at a sex rehab clinic in BrettFavretown, Mississippi. Now it's on to our boy Steve Phillips, the much-maligned (or much-celebrated, depending on who you root for) ex-GM of the New York Mets, who this past fall was ushered out the door at ESPN after his affair with the creature above became public. and just recently gave an interview with Matt Lauer to tell his sex-addict tale.
So the Average Nobody can cheat on their spouse (note that I didn't say 'wife,' because not all you ladies out there are made of Teflon either) and they're labeled a dirtbag, a scoundrel, a selfish and devious animal. But if you're rich and famous and you cheat on your significant other, now you can just play the sex addiction card and it's just supposed to be okay? Let's get one thing straight. You can't claim "addiction" and all of a sudden be absolved. You're not born addicted. It's not hereditary. If you become an alcoholic, or you smoke until your lungs turn black, it's an addiction that you walked yourself into by not being able to say "that's enough." You get a charge out of getting away with something, and you do it again and again chasing that first high until you're out of control.
But that's just the way it goes. Money, fame, and power don't make problems go away, but they can deflect a substantial amount of attention away from the problem; and when that isn't enough, they can be used to forge your way into an exclusive and expensive rehab facility that will certainly make a sympathetic case out of you in due time. To offer an analogy, in the Uno game of life, the rich and famous have a lot more Draw-Four Wilds than any of us do.
On second thought, I may have to make an exception with Steve Phillips. You'd really have to be a sex addict to sleep with a mud-wallowing wildebeest like that.