I haven’t been able to weigh in on this yet because our hard drive crashed and I lost most of my work. This has made me more than a little down, though one bright spot has been the hope I’m holding out on these Petraeus sexts. In thousands of emails, there must be some juicy stuff. Especially since Broadwell is a writer by trade, (though both of them must have done quite a lot of writing in their careers, especially during their stints at Ivy League universities). There are also the emails between General Allen and Jill Kelley, though for some reason, I’m less hopeful about those. So far, JK seems like more of a tease than anything else – the type that will come to the party, but keep her clothes on when everyone gets naked.
In addition to erudition and good vocabularies, the Broadwell-Petraeus emails also seem promising for their inherent subtext – she worshiped him. The military culture is completely hierarchical and within it, Petraeus is revered. Power inequities may be unfair, especially with regard to the limited advancement of women, but they can make for some good role playing. Or just playing. Obviously, Petraeus couldn’t keep his hands off the much younger, very fit Broadwell; and for her part, she got a sexy father figure who advanced her career. Lots to identify with, for both men and women.
In fact, so far what’s been striking to me is the humanity of it all. No one is really acting crazy or out of the ordinary. While what happened may be dishonest and immoral, it also seems very natural and relatable. It’s been hard to demonize either party, though there are many still trying to do it. A few people are trying to shift the focus to Internet privacy issues. There are certainly some warning signals for would-be-adulterers in the Petraeus affair: for one, don’t seek safe harbor in the drafts folder of your email.
But the backstory that has me the most curious is how this episode plays in the ongoing rivalry between the FBI and CIA. This round is a point scored for the FBI, though it’s still not clear why a few anonymous, albeit angry, emails started a cyberbullying investigation. The opening of the CB case seems like an effort to impress Jill Kelley.
And finally, I’m always interested to see situations in which women effectively use their sexuality as power. Is it anti feminist to say I’m all for it? You have to use what you got. The Broadwell-Petraeus affair is another case of a woman using her sexual attractiveness to get ahead professionally. Daniele Chiesi did it. Jill Kelley did it. So did Cleopatra. I’m taking notes here because I have never been able to make a big play this way, though not for complete lack of trying. Maybe I lose my nerve at crucial points. Seems tricky to get guarantees though…