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Floyd Elliot

Floyd Elliot
Chicago, Illinois, USA
January 05
Lord Snarky
Floyd Elliot is species of rare vine native to the Chicago Lakefront. Once so abundant that they darkened the skies as they flew over (and the ground too), Floyd Elliots were hunted almost to extinction for their plumage and haunting cry; today, thanks to conservation efforts and an outpouring of credulity on the part of the public, Floyd Elliots can again be spotted outside a zoo; inside a zoo, they're striped.


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Editor’s Pick
JUNE 25, 2009 1:30AM

Sorry For Your Loss: Sympathy For Mark Sanford

Rate: 16 Flag

I'm going to do something unusual--nay, unprecedented--for me: I'm going to say something nice about a Republican. Well, pitying, anyway, and not in that oh-I'm-so-sorry-you're-so-vastly-inferior-to-me way, but truly, deeply full of fellow feeling.

            I'm really sorry for Mark Sanford.

            Now, mind you, I think the man is a raging fucktard, but not because he dumped his wife to get a Brazilian. (I know, she was Argentinian. Must we be so literal?) As a matter of fact, if anything in this idiot's Jesus-beseeching, stimulus-refusing, sex-negative-oh-my-god-so-negative-that-we-have-to-coin-a-whole-new-term-for-how-negative, bigoted-ass life could convince me that he was not a total waste of water and carbon atoms, it's that for one brief moment this beyond-dipshit actually experienced a moment of real human weakness and vulnerability with his Evita. Of course he will now proceed to shit on that by loudly and publicly putting it behind him and repenting of his wickedness. His estranged wife will swallow that bitter jagged pill and for the sake of the children/propriety/the state and the nation/whateverthefuck will accept him back over the marital threshhold. (I'm guessing--and only just guessing, because I have that kind of sick mind--that the marital bed hasn't been at issue for some time now.)

            I'm sorry for Mark Sanford because I imagine that when he was crying for Argentina he was truly alive, perhaps for the first time in what seems--to me, and perhaps me alone--like a miserable dissembling inauthentic life. He described his relationship to this woman as "lightning," that "snuck up on" them. I'm sure that sensation scared the living fuck out of him. It is not a pleasant sensation; it's like that moment in the cartoon when Wile E. Coyote runs off the edge of the cliff. You have and can have no doubt that you're going down, that your life as you have known it is going to end painfully, but for the moment, you can see for miles. And now? Well, that desert floor is mighty hard, and mighty cold, and Argentina is a long way from South Carolina.

            It's hard to tell from the emails, because let's just say that Mark Sanford is not doomed to be enrolled in the annals of the immortal poets of love, but I think based on those emails that there are two emotions that Sanford clearly felt, and perhaps even deeply, and perhaps for the first time in his well-planned life: exhilaration and terror. I will never know, but am, for the moment anyway, curious which scarred his soul most deeply.

            But hey, if he plays his cards right--handles a few serpents, lets the tears of redemption leave runnels in the church-dust that's settled on his cheeks, holds on to his wife's hand so hard that she may need orthopedic surgery to repair the tiny little bones he's crushed, while she sits rigidly beside him, a look of I-am-eating-glass on her face--he can get back in the good graces of his constituents and the rest of the right wing windbags. Because, for all their talk about family values, they really don't give a shit about the sanctity of marriage, any more than they cared about Bill Clinton's infidelity or gay marriage; they care about the votes of the people who care about these things. If he does all the right wrong things, Mark Sanford can and will recapture those votes, and that's his life.

            I am very very sorry for Mark Sanford.

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Well, after he's fired from being governor, maybe his kids can work at McDonald's when the school lunch program gets canceled.

Oh, but we must show grace and be forgiving of this fallen angel as he finds his way back to the path of righteousness! He has merely succumbed to Satan's false and glittering promise, bumping uglies with his Argentinian delight with such fervency and passion that it addled his brain, turning him into a vague and barely coherent speaker, a mere shell of the great man who once led the sovereign nation of one of them Carolinas.

Judge not, for he is Republican. And only God has the final say on the spiritual flatulence of those jokers.
Zuma, you really think there will be consequences for this guy? Personally, I doubt it. Consequences are for poor people. If you're a rich right-winger, you get a Get Out Of Jail Free card. All you've got to do is mention how very very sorry you are, and claim that you know in your heart Jebus has forgiven you. (As Dana Carvey in the guise of the Church Lady used to say, isn't that *convenient*?) I mean, after all, our former War Criminal In Chief got a book deal, not a stint in a maximum security prison. (Though, as I've said elsewhere, I personally can't wait for the sequel to My Pet Goat.)
Ahh, there you go - EP. Well-deserved. Guess the formula is
finely-tuned humor applied to public figures in compromised positions. Your take on this almost makes me want to find out more about what happened.
Excellent point. I kind of hope that Sanford will take a lesson from this - that life is too short to waste time on things like this. I agree that the worst thing that could happen to Sanford, as a man and fellow human being, is for this to eventually blow over. I hope he finds the courage to embrace that passion he clearly felt, and part of me kind of hopes that he just resigns and goes to Argentina to be with the woman who inspired those letters.
Yeah, perhaps no lasting consequences - life, his life, may well go on along its appointed rails - but in the meantime some keen humiliation. Too bad the humiliation has to extend to wife, teen-aged and other sons and paramour - for her identity will be revealed in due course... I hope the wife goes out and has a loud lusty affair...

Meantime, it's all so cringe-making that I'm reading between my fingers...
Maybe he'll feel that he was bitten by the writing bug and he'll open an account on Open Salon. Then he can get himself a serious case of EPD (Editor's Pick Dysfunction). Well done, Floyd!
Wonderful writing!
I'm still stuck on having learned that Sanford is a libertarian-leaning Republican who had hopes of the presidency... and I must confess to to two things that I can never understand:

If you don't really believe in the role of government, why would you want that topmost of the top jobs?

If someone running for POTUS doesn't really believe in the role of government, why would the voters elect him (so far, they've all been men!). They voted for Reagan, after all, who may not have claimed to be a libertarian, but still had all of those beliefs and that policy agenda.

As for the affair... these things happen. Apparently, though, that Washington rag (which I now refuse to name) has run a story about how affairs have ruined political careers. Only problem is they left out a bunch of Republicans. Reminds me of that screen shot of Fox that Media Matters had the foresight to save... the one where they labeled Sanford as "D."

These are the times to try women's souls.
"Because, for all their talk about family values, they really don't give a shit about the sanctity of marriage, any more than they cared about Bill Clinton's infidelity or gay marriage; they care about the votes of the people who care about these things."

Boy that's the gist of it right there, isn't it?
I feel sorry for him-- nope! His wife separated from him; I hear Jesus is kind of pissed. rAted! Well Done on the EP. You deserve it.
So I heard Sanford this morning on the news talking about how this whole affair had "hurt his boys," which made me think that Evita had done something a little BDSM-ish to his testicles.

Nora: Woo hoo! Or, um, uh, how nice that I was so recognized. I said, not once losing the dignified mien for which I am known near and narrow.

Sadly, I expect that this kind of character study mixed with philosophical bullshit musings is the only kind of political writing I can do, or at least find interesting to do, since most more-factual political analysis seems to me an exercise in the extremely obvious: "Really? You really think it's more important that you own a boat than that an inner city kid, you know, eats? And your right to own a gun is more important than that kid's right to live? And you know better about global warming than the vast overwhelming fucking-90+% of professional meteorologists who don't work for oil companies? Really?" It's only when it comes to the human aspects--which are not unlike getting inside a fictional character's head, maybe even one that you don't like all that much--that these things start to interest me.

mad_typist: I agree with you, but we are talking about a man with limited capability for transcendence, I think. I would be very surprised if he does what would, I agree with you, be by far the best thing for him.

Myriad: I don't think Krazy Kristians have loud lusty affairs. I believe the affair main-course of choice is sad and furtive, with a side of guilty and self-justifying.

The wife made a devil's bargain years ago, I'm sure, and will almost certainly abide by the terms of it. I'm not really sure how I feel about the kids, but I do know that dozens of kids about their age actually died from gun violence in Chicago this year, and thousands of others live miserable lives in poverty, so I'm not all that concerned about some rich white guy's spawn. Sucks to be them; sucks to be all of us; sucks even more to be some of us.

cartouche: Thanks. So, is EPD when you get the EP, then lust for the next one, or don't get it when you should and curse the editors for their lack of perspicacity?

Oh, wait, it doesn't matter, since I've done both. Recently. Like, yesterday.

And oh, sure, like we need someone else here whose every utterance gets on the cover.

voicegal: Thank you; that's very kind of you.
Well put. Another conservative misses what life is really about once again. His moment in the sun of truth will, as you say, be denied by himself and he'll get swallowed up again in the hypocrisy machine once more.
Floyd, you've stolen my thunder with this post -- well, almost.
Thor, former Norse God
Judge not, for he is Republican. And only God has the final say on the spiritual flatulence of those jokers.
Zuma-you can do better than that-Republicans have always attacked their own when they leave the reservation. Dems circle the wagon and live to run another day. Barney Frank, Clinton, John Kerry,Chris Dodd............When you make no jusdgements, it is hard to be a hypocrite
ktm: Yeah, that makes little sense to me either; if you don't believe in capitalism, you don't try to become CEO of IBM. And yes, of course only Democrats are unfaithful. Sanford changed parties the minute he got groin-y with Evita.

JustJuli: What's The Matter With Kansas, Thomas Franks' excellent book, makes much the same point as I did. I only steal from the best.

Mr. Mustard: Thanks--and lucky for Sanford, Jebus will forgive him. Luckily that Jebus guy is a lot nicer than most of his followers.

PoLS: Ed Zackly.

Tom Cordle: I'll give you back your thunder if you give me back my lawnmower. Oh, wait; I don't have a lawn. Never mind; keep it.

When you say you're a former Norse god, do you mean you're no longer a god or no longer Norse?

Jay Richer: Yeah, if you're going to declaim about morality, you've got to be prepared to take a heaping pile of shit when you demonstrate that your hypocrisy was...well, hypocritical.

neilpaul: Some marriages work; some don't. Kurt Vonnegut, in a story published posthumously this month in Harper's, wrote: "While bachelors are lonely people, I’m convinced that married
men are lonely people with dependents." But the character who says that is very committed to his bachelor-hood. And I suspect that living an inauthentic life isn't confined to the middle classes. Sadly, the upper classes won't let me in to verify for myself. (Apparently you have to have a lot of money for that.)
Thomas Frank, not Thomas Franks. If I'm going to steal from him, I should at least get his name right.
I had the same reaction to those emails. This was so well written, and on point.

"I think based on those emails that there are two emotions that Sanford clearly felt, and perhaps even deeply, and perhaps for the first time in his well-planned life: exhilaration and terror."

I am hoping he will go off to Argentina for a few years to figure out what a heart really is, and come back to write a memoir of how he became a lefty Democrat. I suppose that will have to be a novel -- your scenario seems so much more likely.
How fucking dumb is Sanford, let me count the ways.
1) Cheats on attractive wife
2) Cheats on attractive wife who is the heiress to the Skil Tool Company.
3) Asks attractive wife for PERMISSION to continue to see the Argentinian woman (A little narcissistic, even for me)
4) Cheats on attractive wife who gave him four sons.
5) This guy wants to be President, right?

Actually I'm not judging his heart. There are plent of reasons that people fall in and out of love. That's his business. But if he really thought he could carry on like that not get caught, then run for President, he's deluded.

When the spotlight glares they all get caught.

Great post.
SeattleK8 and Roger: thank you both.

I think you're right, K8: none of us change all that willingly, and Sanford has had such great success with his corrupt inauthentic persona that he'd have more trouble than most. Losing everything might be his only chance at becoming a Real Live Boy, but I think you're right that that outcome seems more in the realm of fiction than memoir or, say, future political history.

Roger, there's no doubt this guy is something of a dumbass and, as you say, possibly delusional as well. But that delusion is the Wile E. Coyote moment: he had the exhilaration and the terror, but hadn't yet had the big scary fall and the big painful impact on the desert floor, so was hoping against all reason he could keep that feeling of being alive and yet still have his deadening daily life. I know that feeling; it's absurd and idiotic and impossible and very human.