"I want to be reincarnated as your tampon."-Prince Charles to Camilla Parker Bowles
There is an increasing upsurge of democratic independence in this country and all over the world, no doubt. Further precipitating this status quo is the increased use and development of Information Communication Technologies AND further steps being taken in lieu of what can be termed as the New Sexual Revolution that sort of differentiates itself form that of the 60s and 70s where now it is the ‘queer’ that demand their rightful placement in the philosophical atlas of sexual liberation, evident in the homosexuals and Semenyas of our time. This phenomenon is quickly merging into other aspects of society and shakes the very norms that we have long established. Luckily (or unluckily) society has managed to clutch on its last moral cloth and condemn those who seem to violate it. And the wrath is worse for those who are supposed to uphold this moral regime. On the sexual front, this introduces what has been come to be termed as The Sex Scandal - when an individual or an institution by virtue of having some form of public office of appreciation is publicly exposed to have engaged in embarrassing sexual activities. This is usually done in a seemingly spontaneous manner by alternative media and the public is given the feeling that what is uncovered is just “the tip of the iceberg” and the individual in question is left to endure the wrath of society and sometimes leading to their resignations or fall from the erstwhile public appreciation. Examples of this are far and wide, ranging from Kaz’s Nudgate, the K-Street Scandal, various beauty pageant holders’ pictures in the nude being unearthed to the Princess Di – Dodi Fayed Affair to the earth shaking Monica Lewinsky Affair which produced one of the best soundbites in recent history by US President Bill Clinton:
" I did not have sexual relations with that woman,…"
Sex in general and sexual scandals in particular have become all the rage in the recent times gauging from the intense public interest they provoke. The Kaz Scandal came to the fore via viral e-mail messages and discussions on message boards such as Mashada. In fact a blog dedicated to this particular scandal Inside Karen Lucas still receives thousands of hits up to this day despite it being pulled down for review into rights violations. The Commission investigating the Monica Lewinsky Saga spent a cool 65 million US Dollars in uncovering the truth. This is nearly three or four times more than what was spent by the Commission that dealt with the 9/11 terror attacks.
I will attempt to explore the various manifestations The Sexual Scandal has taken in modern times, analyse what this says about the economic and moral undertones prevalent in society today and in the second part, answer some salient issues that arise as regards this issues such as how justified sexual scandals should be exposed and the role of the media both mainstream and alternative.
THE ANATOMY OF A MODERN SEXUAL SCANDAL
The immediate component of this phenomenon would usually be that of a public figure say, a politician or a political leader. However, with the development and increased usage of social networks and high-megapixel cameraphones the standard has quickly sank to that of a next door neighbour where a seemingly unknown individual catapults to celebrity status by virtue of (sometimes circumstantial) evidence of his/her sexual activity. This is proof enough that the line between that public and private sphere is fading fast. The assumption that it is only those in public office that have relinquished their privacy no longer seems to apply. And perhaps this is a good thing as the moral telescope’s magnifying power has narrowed down to the individual and handing them a responsibility of upholding certain sexual(?) norms, from Kibaki with his Two Wife Saga to the next door neighbor to the watchman to two pretty looking male Kenyans in the UK who tied the knot or, according to activist Okia Omutata Okoiti, “were shackled" much to the chagrin of their cucu.
The second feature that could manifest a sexual scandal is the peddling of power.This is more obvious in political sexual scandals. They say that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac so it thus follows that those in positions of power of any sort tend to have convoluted and gargantuan sexual appetites from the Sexually Active Popes to the former French President, Jacques Chirac’s records of conversations with a courtesan about engaging in sexual activity in “the big bed” (a gift from Putin himself). The tendency of clinging on pseudo-absolute power as discouraged by Frank Madison in his Federalist Papers also creates an assumption of sexual domination by individuals who cling on to this power. This has been the norm since Julius Caesar, Cleopatra and Marc Anthony’s time. Along with the political power of these individuals comes sexual power. Their realm is a Sexual State of Nature, if I may use that term and as practice proves perfect I may note that these individuals are VERY good in bed as well. However Sexual Consitutionalism demands Sexual Checks and Balances and those in the lower chain of Command are at hand to enforce this in any good system of sexual power. The secret behind Edgar J. Hoover’s half a decade clutch on the leadership of the FBI was not his administrative skills but rather his neat collection of sexual “dossiers” on sitting presidents such as JFK.
Another dimension of this phenomenon is that of the casting couch, an industrial term reffering to the trading of sexual favours across organizational ranks usually between subordinates or prospective employees and their superiors with the aim of advancement in one’s careers or employment. It cuts across all sectors of the economy and it can even be said to have its own unwritten rules regarding such things as “sexual qualifications” that can be handed in alongside one’s CV for example. It has been experienced everywhere from the “sex-for-hire” casting agencies, having been the ispiration of many “reality” pornography producers to straight up white collar organizations such as the shocking Sex Scandal at Nation Media Group that is yet to be conclusive, rumoured to be due to the alleged firing of the staff said to be behind the allegations. It even trickles down to educational institutions where the term “sex-for-grades” is commonplace. In short sexual activity is being clothed with educational or qualitative skill value that is vital for the success of an essentially economic organization whose aim is to receive fiscal profits and not orgasms. It clothes a perfectly natural activity with some academic value of sorts that justifies E grades in Equity or Civil Procedure and gives power to the alteration of these grades in the interest of a “greater talent”. If in doubt, y’all should listen to Kanye’s verse in Poke Her Face.
The last dimension is that of moral repugnance, a factor that used to motivate the exposing of sexual activity that was perceived as unhealthy for society. It is this that informed the element of “scandal” in the entire thing. However, the use of “scandal” in recent times has been extended to what can be termed as private activity not worthy of placing in the public domain. This means some sex scandals are not scandals in the strict sense of the word but a way of making the public at keep talking, a way of entertaining the public. Father Kizito fondling boys he’s supposed to be assisting, now that is repugnant… but, but, but, what was so wrong about Paris Hilton’s orgy that we had to see it? What’s wrong if two people who are dating decide to engage in coitus – am talking to Kim Kardashian and Ray J? What makes it a scandal and what makes it porn? In fact the quickest way of getting a following as a celebrity apart from twitter is releasing your sex tapes and collecting huge royalties from the agency you leak it to? Our stars are becoming inverted pornstars…perhaps that is all there is to the “scandal” bit. *yawn* It is statements such as this text message by Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick sent within working hours to his assistant-cum-mistress that carry with it the moral repuganace that we have long abandoned in search for entertainment:
"You were kind of wet last night, inside and out. LOL"