The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

November 17, 2012

The Petraeus affair plays like a reality TV show, and we’re all hooked

— It’s “Homeland” meets “The Real Housewives” — and it’s hands down the best serialized show on TV.

 

It’s “Dallas” in military drag, in which a ridiculously retro social order (who knew that “socialites” and “hostesses” even existed anymore, never mind in Tampa, Fla.) slams into the high-tech world of cyber-stalking — only to reveal a story as old as the written word: The Case of the Compromising Love Letter.

 

Honestly, when will cheating couples finally learn to keep their declarations of passion out of anything that could conceivably be stolen by a lady’s maid, discovered by a suspicious spouse or unearthed by a cyber sleuth? Never, one hopes, or much of the world’s great literature, not to mention detective fiction, would collapse.

 

Stripped to its essentials, the Petraeus affair is a familiar enough narrative: Married man in power falls for a wide-eyed, admiring acolyte to the detriment of career, family and reputation. Happens all the time, or at least every six months or so — Clinton, Edwards, Sanford, Schwarzenegger, just to name a few. But it’s the brushwork that makes the masterpiece, and the details of the Petraeus scandal transfix the eye each and every time a new one is revealed.

 

First there’s the man himself, square-jawed, yes, but not terribly handsome, with those protruding ears and that receding hairline, still radiating competence nonetheless and more than that, a Middle American super-dad decency that almost belies his four-star status. Then there’s Paula Broadwell, the Harvard-educated biographer whose book was so unapologetically gushing that Jon Stewart, interviewing her before the scandal broke, asked her if David H. Petraeus was “awesome or incredibly awesome.”

 

And, oh, the shivery meta-media pleasure of watching Stewart now review those softball questions knowing what we know/he knows now, or finding the whole original extended-version episode in which Broadwell banters with her cuckolded husband as they do his-and-hers sets of push-ups for charity.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Injured snowy owl ready to be released ST. PAUL (AP) — A rare snowy owl that gained national attention when it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital is scheduled to be released into the wild after a rehab stint in Minnesota. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • Court case to test 'Buy the Farm' law NEW PRAGUE (AP) — A case set for trial next week is expected to test Minnesota's "Buy the Farm" law, which is meant to require utilities building high-voltage power lines to buy out farms in the way if affected landowners demand it. The case pits th

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge strikes down part of state energy law MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • White House updating online privacy policy A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tribut

    April 18, 2014

  • Horse virus cases showing up in Upper Midwest BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials in the Upper Midwest are cautioning horse owners about a virus that spreads easily among the animals and can lead to breathing problems, abortions and nervous system disorders. Three cases of equine herpesvirus

    April 18, 2014

  • Bear attacks spark debate: Kill them, or leave them alone? ORLANDO, Fla.—Dallas Smith thinks he has the answer to Central Florida’s black-bear threat, and he’s ready to lock and load it. “I think the fear of God needs to be put back into them,” said Smith, 47, who wants state authorities to lift restriction

    April 18, 2014

  • Tourism push plays up 'Only in Minnesota' ST. PAUL — (AP) — Say goodbye to "More to Explore." Minnesota tourism promoters ushered in a new slogan Thursday that focuses on "Only in Minnesota" experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign. The revamped message kicks off a maj

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp ap pipeline photo Minnesota Pipe Line seeks to expand capacity MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Pipe Line Co. announced plans Thursday to nearly double the capacity of a crude oil pipeline that carries oil from Canada and North Dakota to the two refineries in the Twin Cities that produce most of Minnesota's and much

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holder asserts his commitment to fighting heroin WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront

    April 17, 2014

  • Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds ATLANTA — Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her speech, but she

    April 17, 2014