Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hitchens: The New Face of Scandal

Christopher Hitchens on the Edwards-Weiner scandals. An excerpt:

In my time at Oxford, there still persisted a quaint survival from the Victorian era. A special part of the river bank set among the willows was reserved for nude male bathing, with membership restricted to dons and clergymen. Prominent signs and barriers prevented boats and punts containing females from approaching this discreet stretch. On one fateful Sunday afternoon, however, a recent flood had washed away the signs and weakened the barriers. A group of ladies was swept past the rows of recumbent and undressed gentlemen. Shrieks of embarrassment from the boat, while on the shore—consternation. Pairs of hands darted down to cover the midsection. All but one, the hedonist and classicist Sir Maurice Bowra, whose palms went up to conceal his craggy visage. As the squeals were borne downstream, and the sheepish company surveyed itself, Bowra growled, "I don't know about you chaps, but I'm known by my face around here." How long will this traditional view endure?

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