October 07, 2014

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union

Source: Shutterstock

Irving Kristol (sort of) said, “€œA conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged,”€ a quip which, besides not being as true as it should be, rather perversely makes me think of Clay Aiken.

After all, Aiken was robbed twice by black guys”€”although not in the Paula Deen sense, or else his celebrity status might be in real jeopardy.

Overlook the ill-advised latter-day plastic surgery. Set aside your bad feelings about gay dudes, especially ones with “€œpartners”€ and adopted kids: that boy can sing. Clay Aiken should”€™ve won American Idol in 2003, but”€”under slightly suspicious circumstances“€”he lost to an African-American contestant whose subsequent career has been undistinguished.

Then Aiken lost Celebrity Apprentice to Arsenio Hall, even though he”€™d raised far more money for charity”€”which (until Donald Trump changed the rules during the last 10 seconds of the competition) was supposedly the sole criterion for victory.

Beaten by a black man again!

Another fellow might”€™ve emerged from these electronic muggings, noted Obama’s semi-simultaneous, affirmative action-assisted ascension to the Oval Office (twice), and thereupon reinvented himself as an otherwise unlikely poster boy for the dissident right.

“€œIf these celebrity defenders sound like petulant teenagers, the “€˜hacked”€™ celebrities themselves are accidentally providing the general public with more entertainment than they tend to do in their professional capacities.”€

Yeah, no. Being Southern and all, Clay Aiken remains a born-this-way Democrat. In a big way, too: he’s narrowly secured the party’s nomination to run for Congress in North Carolina this November.

We”€™ve already witnessed President Ronald Reagan and Congressman “€œThat Guy From Love Boat“€ and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (although I still have trouble typing that last one without giving a little start of disbelief). So the concept of “€œCongressman Clay Aiken”€ doesn”€™t stun me as deeply as it probably should.

However, I was taken aback when, being a candidate and all, Clay Aiken dared to express a breathtakingly candid and unpopular opinion on a pressing issue of the day.

“€œAnybody who takes inappropriate pictures of themselves deserves exactly what they get,”€ Aiken told the Washington Post last month. Of course, he was referring to impossible-to-avoid reports that Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and other stars had been “€œhacked,”€ and digital nude photos they”€™d stashed in cloud storage had been leaked for all to see.

Within living memory, Aiken’s commonsensical remark would”€™ve been filed under “€œDog Bites Man,”€ barely worth reporting, let alone commenting upon.

Alas, we now live in a “€œMan Bites Dog, Launches Highly Successful Dog Meat Restaurant Franchise”€ world.

Take a look. Compared to the scant media attention Aiken’s political platform has received, potential voters might be forgiven for assuming he’s running on a “€œkeep your damn clothes on”€ platform.

I”€™m not slagging the media here, or even average citizens. Most of us”€”myself included”€”are more familiar with the contours of Kim Kardashian’s ass than we are with the terrain in Khartoum. In fact, I”€™m not entirely convinced that’s something we should be ashamed of.

The high-minded Mrs. Jellybys who claim to “€œcare”€ about current affairs of a geopolitical rather than of a celebrity-sexual variety also tend to be the loudest, dumbest do-gooder scolds.

Fashionable “€œgoodthink”€ forbids “€œblaming the victim,”€ even when the victim is to blame and isn”€™t really much of a victim. Lest you think such tsk-ing is restricted to reliably ridiculous sites like Jezebel and the Good Men Project, behold:

“€œPlease Stop Saying “€˜Celebs Shouldn”€™t Have Taken Nude Photos In The First Place,”€™”€ said Forbes (!) staff writer Kashmir Hill, who helpfully explains:

“€œThe digital age has changed courtship in many ways, and this is one of them. Texting nude photos is increasingly part of the sexual repertoire; phones have become sex toys.”€

Megan Gibson at TIME Magazine (!) agrees:

“€œShow me one person who can honestly say they”€™ve never taken or sent a suggestive photo, sext or email that they wouldn”€™t want splashed across the Internet for millions to see, and I”€™ll show you someone who doesn”€™t use or understand modern technology.”€

Take that, rubes! Even a Conservative MP and “€œMinister for Civil Society“€ is doing it. Sheesh, I”€™ll bet some of you old farts don”€™t even bleach your buttonholes.


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