The XX Factor

Sex and Blackmail

Hanna , Linda , the parallels are amazing between the David Letterman blackmail story and the the New York Times exposé of how Sen. John Ensign was pressured by the cuckolded husband of his lover. In both, a powerful man is told unless he comes up with $2 million, the story of his cheating will be made public, and in both the perpetrator is the significant other of a woman who worked for the powerful man. Ensign went for the coverup and payoff then was forced to confess-in one of the dreary “I have sinned” press conferences-when when the cuckold went to the press. Letterman (who seems to be flypaper for wackos) went straight to the D.A. then told the story in a weird, funny, compelling monologue. Ensign is a hypocritical, moralizing jerk. But unless Letterman makes a condition of the employment of female subordinates that they have to sleep with him-well, gee, if celebrities can’t have affairs with willing, adult women, what kind of world is this?