Friday, April 11, 2008

Driving with your trousers down is okay in private

Why do they entertain us so, these rich and powerful men? Following on the heels of the revelation of Eliot Spitzer's dabblings with "escorts" comes a far more racy expose, literally, of FIA supremo Max Mosley. To be honest, the main shock about the Spitzer thing is the amount he was prepared to pay for the service of "ladies of the night." Another reason was the titillating speculation about which other famous people had accounts with the same company (the Duke of Westminster, whoever he is, was on some lists). After all, another elected official recently bit the dust for the same reason, but he paid only $150. Was Spitzer a bigger fool for paying $5K for the act or doing it at all? Max Mosley would be passionately arguing that Eliot had done no wrong, as he now is about himself; and therein lies the rub.

I'm sure that most of my readers, all three of them, have no clue as to the identity of Max or what the FIA is. I tried to explain to Dulcie that the FIA is a really important world-wide organization involving motorsports and car manufacturers; but in response to her interrogation about what they actually do, I was unable to provide an answer. Like a lot of organizations dominated by rich men, they probably sit around and chortle a lot about nothing in particular while spending a lot of money in the process.

Being the biggest fan of F1 in COD and perhaps all of DuPage county, I am very familiar with Max since the FIA presides over F1. Last year was the infamous Spygate scandal involving McLaren stealing stuff from Ferrari (I know in this country that Spygate refers to the New England Patriots taking pictures of other teams (how dull) but that was really very small beer compared to the $100 million fine that Max and his kangaroo court imposed on the hapless McLaren and heavy-but-humble Ron Dennis for what appeared to be scarcely proven indiscretions using information that a disgruntled Ferrari man had given their lead designer since fired. It seems that sucking up to the royalty of Ferrari and the patrician Max's (Max is the son of Oswald Mosley, friend of Hitler and founder of the British Nazi party - viewers of Remains of the Day will have glimpsed Mosley's cameo in that film - a fact that plays heavily into this story) hatred of working class Ron Dennis probably had more to do with it).

This lead-in is getting way too long and most readers will have already given up. Like get to the point WTF. Anyway, the bottom line, pun intended, is that Max got caught up in a really racy, pun intended, kinky sex thing involving several prostitutes and spanking and alleged Nazi role-playing. It even made it to NPR and I sat transfixed in the car park listening to the report. It was introduced with the disclaimer that the subject might be offensive to some viewers. I'm thinking that should apply to all NPR broadcasts but that's probably a little unfair. Why single out a spanking story for that appellation, while lots of rants on Christians pass un-commented on? The News of the World posted video allegedly showing Max engaging in some S&M with a group of prostitutes with, the News alleges, Nazi themes. The scientist in me demanded proof; so to You Tube I went; and there it is, a grainy minute or so. (Isn't it strange how the blurry bits always seem to coincide with the more important areas in the shot? And I thought picture quality is meant to be good in this digital age). We don't get the whole thing, but there is indeed someone who looks uncommonly like Max (though I haven't seen him elsewhere without trousers) getting his bottom thoroughly thrashed.

Tellingly, Max doesn't deny it happened (well how could he?); though he does respond immediately that he has received scores of messages of "support." (Subtext: rich powerful men do this sort of thing all the time). His protest is that what he does in his private life is own business; and anyway it wasn't "illegal." (The latter justification reminds me of that used by people, usually men, who do bad things to others, like beating their wives or engaging in sexual perversity, when they say in their defence that the Bible doesn't say it's wrong or maybe even the Bible says it's right - like women "obeying" their husbands.) The only thing he denied was the Nazi bit. He doesn't intend to resign from the FIA claiming his private behavior doesn't interfere with his ability to do his job. Bill Clinton could resonate with that I think; and he may have a point. After all, as far as can be told, nothing more offensive than a lollipop has ever been popped into any one's mouth in the Oval Office during the tenure of the Current Occupant, and look what a hash has been made of it in the meantime.

Contrary to what Max is claiming, there is a groundswell of concern among the car manufacturers and teams that Max has to go having been caught with his trousers down. However, their expressed concern is more over the Nazi role playing than the kinky sex stuff. The implication there is that, provided they weren't imitating the SS, then the rest is really okay and so carry on Max. I don't understand that distinction; what is the difference? One is morally wrong yet the other is morally okay? Degrading women is degrading with or without SS frills. All moral questions aside, one simply marvels in disbelief that the likes of Max have such delusions of grandeur, such fabulist self-images, such hubris that they have no sense of shame. On the other hand, we would be the less entertained if they did.

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