Rielle Hunter in GQ; wow, someone actually said that they “don’t know if [they] would fully consider her human”?

A friend of mine sent me a link to Rielle Hunter’s GQ interview, and I wound up being more fascinated by the comments than I was by the interview itself. I mean,

“Hunter is definitely a bad person and I don’t know if I would fully consider her human.”

I always knew that American society is pretty batshit when it comes to philandering politicians, but not fully human? What could be more human than adultery? Read your Bible, fool. Or better yet, beat yourself to death with it, and spare us your stupidity.

Do I think it’s awful to cheat on your cancer-stricken wife? Why yes, actually, I do. Do I think it’s shocking or surprising? Not exactly. Face it: people cheat. They’ll cheat in spite of cancer, or because of it. They’ll cheat for no reason at all.

Not  a second goes by without someone’s heart being crudely shattered. It doesn’t matter if you practice monogamy or not. You will still get hurt. You will get mauled. We all do, at one point or another. The entire political landscape of the United States of America would be a less terrifying place if people could just learn to expect this this sort of thing comes with the territory.

The one time I was seriously lied to, so far, I ended up dragging myself to an HIV-testing clinic. It wasn’t a day for grand philosophizing. I was terrified. Did I hold a grudge though? Not exactly. Not then, and not now. Probably because I believed that what happened did not happen due to malice.

Do I believe that Rielle Hunter and John Edwards have some sort of cosmic drippy love thing going? I don’t know. Maybe. None of my business, really. I do find it odd that people feel as though Hunter had no right to speak to the media. Are you kidding me? With all of those books out there? All of the interviews? All the talking heads? She was damn right to tell her side of the story, especially considering the fact that she is now a parent. Because, and I really wish I didn’t have to point this out to any thinking adult – there are always multiple sides to any such debacle.

People who say things like, “and her and John’s daughter will have to live with the humiliation of it” are the same people who perpetuate the humiliation. I honestly wish I could smack them. You want to talk about how sick people are? Look in the mirror.

I think that Hunter is being perceptive when she points out that Edwards was not a real politician. He wasn’t smooth enough. I think that for people like him, going out and having this type of affair, or even falling in love with another woman, it’s an expression of a need to be elsewhere. Of course, a bunch of people got hurt in the process, and by that, I do not mean the voters (anyone who keeps going on about how “hurt” they were by the Edwards revelation without having any direct relationship with the family or the campaign just needs to shut up – you are not hurt, this is not your pain, stop trying to appropriate it). Because that’s what happens. People get hurt. Children get hurt. Cancer patients and loyal wives like Elizabeth Edwards get hurt. And there is no end in sight.

But the American public always has to go and make things worse. Because people are never hurt enough. There’s a curious emotional sadism in our public discourse, and it comes out very sharply when the famous get caught in affairs. It’s like, everyone scrambles to illustrate how much better they are at a time like that. Even though, according to your Jesus Himself, you are not.

What did Jesus say? Even if you so much as look at another woman, it’s as if you’ve already had her. So all of those American Christians who worship at churches that look like big concrete shoeboxes, who pray to keep making those mortgage payments, who have fish stickers on the back of their cars – they’re no better and no worse than Edwards or Hunter, not really. At least according to their own paradoxical religion.

I think the best PR move for Rielle Hunter would have been rending her clothes and pouring ashes on her head. It’s curious that she did no such thing. She says she was in love. She says she is in love. She’s unrepentant, and by doing that, she invites more scorn, because Americans want the big weepy apology, and they get furious when they are denied their political emo-porn. Rielle Hunter has serious balls, I’ll give her that.

This may not be a groovy story about free and amazing love that GQ is trying to sell, but it’s a real story, with consequences. We want everything to be wrapped up in a pretty bow, but it never is.

15 thoughts on “Rielle Hunter in GQ; wow, someone actually said that they “don’t know if [they] would fully consider her human”?

  1. Say what? Because I call her a loyal wife who got hurt and humiliated in addition to, you know, getting cancer?

    Or does showing respect to Elizabeth Edwards mean going around calling Rielle Hunter subhuman and a whore? ‘Cause I don’t see how it does. All it does is add to the drama, which should have been a private matter anyway.

  2. Internet comments are always a blast. In this case, as in all the others, they also don’t know her, will never meet her, and therefore treat her as an abstract… she ain’t real. Try looking at a local sports site sometime when the team is losing.

    Crap, I was going to leave a link to one, but all the hockey forums are tame today.

    This is one from a story about new training techniques for the US armed forces:

    “NO!! SHOUT LIKE A LUNATIC AND try to get some other morons to LISTEN!!! Defeat ALL THE CAPITALISTICS AND THEIR RUNNING DOGS!!! Eat more fish!!”

    They’ve got a fantastic comment thread going:


  3. Oh face it. You glamorize women like Hunter. We have an entire culture glamorizing women like Hunter. And if you had a chance to spread your legs for GQ like that you would seriously take it.

  4. Tabby, you poor thing. Just because I don’t spread them for you really oughtn’t make you this bitter.

    Gabriel, I get that in a sense, it’s just the internet being the internet. But at the same time, it’s this stupid obsession with the private lives of politicians that fuels the fire in the first place.

  5. I didn’t even bother to read the interview because I think that the media has made way too much out of this non-story. Two people had an affair and the public needs to get over it. It is absolutely ridiculous the way that so many have become personally invested as though they were the ones that were cheated on. I also think the slut shaming and demonizing or Rielle needs to just stop. If John had not wanted to cheat nothing Rielle could have done would have enticed him and that is the bottom line few will admit. You would think we were in the 19th century will all of this scarlet letter nonsense.

  6. Renee, even in the article Hunter says something to the effect that this wasn’t the first time Edwards cheated on his wife. So you’re right, she couldn’t have lead him astray unless he was already inclined to do so, and he was.

    It amazes me that the “other” woman is always the one everyone comes down hard on. She isn’t the one who made any vows to Elizabeth Edwards about fidelity…and he’s a big boy, he can say, “no.” It’s scary how no matter what it’s always the women who get blamed and defamed. Here we see the larger part of the public painting Hunter as a homewrecking seductress, and how does she respond? By painting the wife as a raving wrathful bitch who drove him to it.

    That’s the one part of the interview where I wanted to give her a whack upside the head and tell her she’s an idiot. Every cheating husband says his wife is the devil. He certainly couldn’t convince any woman to hop in the sack by saying his wife is a perfect angel but he’s a sleazehound who feels entitled to some side action too. I don’t know which Elizabeth Edwards is, but it doesn’t matter, because in order to sleep around a man is always going to say the marriage is on the rocks and his wife is horrible whether she and it is or not.

    And I disagree with the both of you. I do think the country was hurt by this affair but only because I do believe that John Edwards could have been a very good vice president/maybe eventually president. It’s because he’s not a politician. I think he really is a populist who wanted to do what is best for the workers of the country. So while the “hurt” isn’t the emotional and private pain of the Edwards family and Hunter and her daughter, I do think there is real pain and disappointment that his political career is in ruins on the part of those of us who believed in him and his candidacy.

  7. Donna, I think you make a good point about the people Edwards has hurt at large. I just wish it didn’t have to be this way. I think the only people who should be affected by affairs are the people who are directly involved, or else in the line of fire. I don’t think it’s puritanical to suggest that Edwards acted like a dick, but I hate how these things blow up into scandals that sink promising political careers.

    It’s like, in France, Rachida Dati, a prominent politician, becomes a single mother, tells the world it’s a “private matter,” and that’s it. She goes on with her life and career. Does not even disclose the identity of the father (which, by the way, probably means he’s married – or so some people claim). She gets criticized because she returns to work so quickly after the birth, but I don’t hear a whole lot of people calling her a “tramp” or anything.

    Now imagine ANYTHING of the sort happening in the States, to someone of Dati’s level. We can’t. And that’s stupid, I think. And sad.

  8. “(anyone who keeps going on about how “hurt” they were by the Edwards revelation without having any direct relationship with the family or the campaign just needs to shut up – you are not hurt, this is not your pain, stop trying to appropriate it)”

    Word. I think it’s this that gets me. It’s one thing to claim hurt on the part of people whose political situation changed for the worst when Edwards’ career was scuttled, as Donna does, it’s quite another to be one of the people doing the scuttling and wailing about how somebody else’s private life has caused you pain.

    I think this same tendency to wail that Edwards and Hunter’s behaviour has hurt you, personally, is what leads many people to wish to police the sexual and private lives of others (whether it be by rallying against gay marriage, fighting to ban certain sexual behaviours–like BDSM–that they find distasteful, or yelling at other women for shaving or not shaving their legs) in really disgusting ways. It’s misguided and slef-centred at best, and downright hateful and authoritatrian at worst.

    Also, thanks for pointing out how human adultery (and all of the other sordid mess that goes along with love and sex) is.

  9. I usually try to avoid American sex scandal crap, but I had to come over from today’s post about some nasty pedophilia apologizers to try and figure out why somebody who calls herself “Cranky Liberal” would resort to the second biggest strawman cliche in conservative rhetoric spewing to try to attack the views in Natalia’s other post. Ms. “Liberal” definitely needs some more poli-sci courses.

    I’m not even going to comment on this most recent, yet timelessly absurd round of “Harper Valley PTA”. There are REAL problems and real joys in the world to learn from. Like whether or not politician x y or z’s proposed social or fiscal policies are viable, for starters. I’m going back to RL to do so.

  10. “but I hate how these things blow up into scandals that sink promising political careers.”
    Rachida Dati’s case doesn’t compare to Edwards’. She did not betray anyone’s trust (and neither did Hunter), Edwards did. I don’t feel personally hurt by him, but if his family are not able to trust him why should constituents? Sure, most politicians are sleazeballs, it doesn’t mean we have to condone it. Also, it’s just amazing (not in a good way) that he would campaign for the democratic nomination with that kind of skeleton in his closet. If he had won the nomination and the revelations had come out afterward that would have most definitely translated to 4 more years of republican presidency. So yeah, he totally had it coming.

  11. Lots of powerful people fuck around – people fuck around in general. It should be a private family matter, not something that makes or breaks a political career. Elizabeth Edwards’ situation is heart-breaking; it is also none of my damn business. At the very least, it shouldn’t be.

  12. I just think that this reveals how puritan American society really is. In many other nations this would not only be a non issue, it would have no effect on him running for political office. America is not the land of the free as it proclaims because it is still invested in disciplining peoples private lives. If you are not sleeping with the person in question then it never has been or ever will be your business.

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