Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Expressing Pain Through Words

When John Edwards was running for president, I wrote a blog saying why I didn't like him. I didn't like him any less after his clay feet were revealed. It didn't surprise me, nor did I personally care that he had an affair. I have never felt that a politician's private sexual choices were the business of the voter-- unless they break the law. The aspect of hiding something that likely would have doomed Edwards' candidacy, if he had gotten the nomination, was a character flaw; but since I hadn't trusted his character, it also was no surprise.

His wife was another story. I didn't know what to think about Elizabeth Edwards. There was this public persona of the almost saintly woman and yet what was this about knowing he had the affair but still pretending they had a perfect marriage? Wasn't that attempting to foist a fraud onto voters for the sake of her husband's ambitions? Or was it her ambitions? Was she an enabler? At the time, I didn't think too much about it and more or less justified her actions by thinking she loves him, she has terminal cancer, she has suffered great losses, she believed in his abilities.

[Kathleen Parker wrote a piece that pretty well says what I am now thinking: Elizabeth the Hypocrite.]

Does writing about something, as Edwards has with her newest book help her, help others? If she was going to write it, might it have been better to wait until she was no longer angry-- which is clearly not yet? Maybe she doesn't have that time.

Striking out at the other woman also strikes out at the child who most likely is John Edwards' offspring. That child is a her, not an it. Does it help Elizabeth's pain to publicly publish her feelings about it all? It didn't take genius to imagine her anger and disappointment without this book.

Do people who buy such books tacitly encourage such revelations to vicariously gloat or suffer-- or is it about the juicy details they hope to find in the pages. Soap opera made political.

I won't be reading her book but the details are out there through her promotional tour starting with Oprah-- which I also didn't see but who could miss the details as they were in all the papers.

Evidently Elizabeth, as so many scorned women have, blames the other woman for something her husband did. Sorry, but there are always other people. This is about her husband's promise, not with whichever woman he had the affair.

To me what she has done with writing this book and then promoting it through all these high end interviews is worse than if she had flared out at the time the infidelity came out. Her thinking still is not clear of the anger and to use this huge venue to pillory him (or is this to pillory that 'other' woman and redeem his political career as some have suggested?) doesn't seem like wise judgment. The book may not be primarily about his infidelity and her reaction to it but it sounds like the interviews have been.

Elizabeth wouldn't answer in one interview whether she still loves him (I would take that as a no to at least to being in love) but in another she said she does love him still. Has she been reading the unflattering comments about her reasons for staying? I didn't have a problem that she stayed. That was her business and decision.

The thing is she and her husband are adults and he deserves whatever he gets in the way of bad publicity but what about the children? This book and those interviews (which often end up on YouTube) leave something not only for three children but all their friends someday. What did it gain? Obviously she is not concerned right now about the fact that her kids might have a half-sister, but didn't her own have enough to bear with a narcissistic father and a mother with terminal cancer? Guess not.

I hope Americans don't buy the book and it disappears quickly from the lists. Haven't we rewarded this kind of thing enough in the past? Elizabeth is obviously a still angry woman who is lashing out supposedly in a book intended to help others (guessing) while trying to get past her own pain. She wants to make herself look good in what was at best a questionably ethical time. We might understand her. What would be our excuse for buying the book?


Darlene said...

I am in complete agreement with you, Rain. I see Elizabeth as a wronged woman seeking revenge. It is a selfish act because she is not thinking of the damage done to her children. Sadly, she has spoiled her own image as well as John's.

This tawdry mess should never be made public unless it serves a good purpose. The time for that was when Elizabeth first found out about the affair and would have stopped John's candidacy.

TorAa said...

I will never ever think about buying this book.
And I do not care about whoevers sexual life.
Ask the journalists about heir sex-life and how often they do visit a bar. They do not write about their collegues, and own, immorality.

As bloggers we should reveal this double morality;))

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

If you'll recall, I voted for Edwards in the primary. As a "wronged" woman myself (now divorced since 1987), I longed early on for some sort of revenge. But, heck. I was a nobody so a tell-all book wasn't in the cards.

I didn't see the Oprah interview. A male friend of mine who was in the Ford cabinet told me that almost all the powerful men he knew were womanizers.

You gave me a lot of food for thought with this entry. Like Elizabeth, I used to excuse my husband's behavior because he was easily manipulated by beautiful women. I believed in the sisterhood; how stupid I was.

I never read these kinds of books. I just feel so sad about the whole thing.

Rain said...

There is no sisterhood of women as such in my opinion. What there should be, but often is not either, is that a woman does not go after her friend's man or her sister's etc. but other than that, there'd be no adultery if there was the attitude that a married person was off limits to all other people. The woman who had the affair with John Edwards is not as pretty as Elizabeth. It's often not about beauty. In Edwards' case, I think he's just a man who needs constant stroking and no woman, not the 'other' woman or the wife could provide that for long enough.

My feeling on Edwards was that he was using junk science to get huge awards for his clients and himself. He built that mansion on being the kind of lawyer I don't admire at all. If he would defraud that way (or convince himself of whatever suited him) how could I trust him anywhere else. I also didn't like how he supposedly was there for the poor (when a camera op) but living this royal life built on insurance premiums as well as suing companies for products that means we all pay for his house-- poor or rich.

robin andrea said...

I have purposely avoided reading anything about this book and the affair. None of it is interesting to me. I guess there's a reason parts of our lives are called personal and private, I wish Elizabeth had remembered that before she picked up the pen.

Parapluie said...

Until Rain brought the book to my attention, I was unaware of it. Now when I visit book stores my focus is on what my grandchildren are reading.I am interested in what the popular myth for children is today.Should I be alarmed that kids as young as 10, boys and girls are reading about a teenager want to be vampire infatuated by a "good" vampire sworn off of human blood. She is infidel as she swings back and forth between a beautiful vampire and an American Indian whose tribe is at war with the bloodsuckers? There is plenty of books and movies to digest, I do not have time for Elizabeth's book.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I have a lot of strange feelings about Celebrities writing books and getting them published because they ARE Well Known. This is her second book...I didn't read the first and I probably won't read this one either. I feel for her because she is in pain---on so very many levels. Underneath anger IS Pain....And that she is hurt by her husbands behavior is understandable, but....All your questions about WHY write this, etc., are good questions. That SHE can get it published when there are millions of women out there who have had similar things happen to them and THEY couldn't possibly get there books published, disturbs me and says things about the Commerce aspect of everything that is pretty disgusting. It is ALL "Selling Soap", isn't it? And the Domino effect on THIS particular selling of soap is quite extraordinary---Publishers make money, ALL the papers make money off of this story--it sells papers. Oprah makes MORE money--her Magazine publishes a transcript of the Interview she did with Elizabeth Edwards....Etc., Etc., Etc.
I remember nany many years ago Sammy Davis Jr. wrote a book called "Yes I Can"....it was a big success and then, many years later he wrote another book kind of exposing some of the untruths he told in the first book....Both books sold very well. Celebrity confessionals make money.....It is all Selling Soap, no matter.

I do feel for Elizabethn Edwards facing terminal cancer and having her husband publically humilate her in such a low-life way--(Just my opinion here)....but, should she write a book about her feelings and be able to get it published? That is a whole other question. Anyone can write a book and if it helps them deal with whstever they are going through---Bless Them. But, getting it published?? As I said, your questions, especially where her children's feelings are concerned and where their more-than-likely half-sisters feelings are concerned...THAT is another whole kettle of fish. The Enablers are MORE than happy to help her with her book. It puts more dollors in their pockets, and it was ever thus. Where is the integrity? No Where.