As if New Yorkers weren't jaded enough.
It's been a summer of blistering heat waves, and scorching headlines detailing malfeasance by mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner and New York Yankees' star infielder Alex Rodriguez, a.k.a. A-Rod.
Even in a city where scandal and moral turpitude have long since descended into little more than background noise, the recent exploits of the politician who can't stop texting pictures of his, um, manhood, and the celebrity baseball player who can't seem to stop taking the performance-enhancing "juice," have people on sweltering subway platforms shaking their heads in weary resignation.
America is famously a land that encourages self-reinvention, in particular after you've made some catastrophically stupid mistake. (Martha Stewart and Tiger Woods anyone?)
Barring the use of the dreaded n-word, it seems pretty much any sin can be forgiven these days if the proper form of contrition is shown. But forgiven only once. And therein lies the problem for New York's latest bad boys.
Weiner had already done himself in — two years ago, when the first "sexting" scandal drove him from Congress.
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In keeping with the now standard public humiliation/recovery ritual of American politics, he then did pretty much all the right things.
First came the angry denials, followed closely by the high-performance art of the weepy podium admission of guilt, which included the stand-by-your-man wife at his side.
Then there was the very public marriage counselling sessions. And finally, the temporary retreat from the spotlight, followed by a few skillfully selected "lesson learned" press interviews earlier this year.
So far so good. And it all led nicely to his current mayoral run. But then, he just had to go and do it again. Rodriguez, the highest paid player in Major League Baseball history and a tabloid favourite for all sorts of antics, follows a similar pattern.
Performance drug use in the early 2000s. A 2007 public denial. The shaky 2009 confessional interview. The "I'm responsible for my own mistakes" noble statements.
And now, a second turn on the doping merry-go-round. At 38, in the twilight of a storied career, Rodriguez has become the face of the newest scandal and the only one of 13 MLB players appealing a suspension in the teeth of some pretty overwhelming evidence.
A thought here: When you get caught tweeting pics of your naughty bits, or swinging a bat with a needle in your arm, just, well, don't do it again. And if you do, for the love of God at least pretend you're sorry.
In today's America, there's nothing like a sackcloth-and-ashes interview with, say, Barbara Walters, or a few well-timed tweets about "what an idiot I was," to win back public affection.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver managed to walk away relatively unscathed from his "Don't got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do," comments, after publicly falling on his sword.
Then there's the granddaddy of all political recoveries, Bill Clinton, who managed to do things with an intern and a cigar that would have had any normal politician (no less the president) flogged out of office and living out his days in reclusive shame.
Yet Clinton has somehow re-branded himself the good-humoured senior statesman of charity causes and ethical politics. (The mind boggles.)
But these latest fellas, having already gone down the mea culpa path before, are now bizarrely brazen in their self-defence.
Weiner's ironically self-defeating self-justification — "I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out" — was like flipping the bird to his critics, and not what New Yorkers wanted to hear.
Heck, this is the city of Rudy Giuliani, and Michael Bloomberg. New Yorkers are used to flawed mayors. But only if they think they can trust the guy when the chips are down.
A-Rod's "I have to defend myself. If I don't defend myself, no one else will," and his decision to appeal his 211-game suspension, is unlikely to win him any fans, even amongst his fellow players.
This is a city that lionizes its top-line athletes (while sorta suspecting that there's always a hooker or drug deal somewhere in the background). But even New York's most ardent sports fans can't stand a serial cheater.
In a city where disaffected world-weariness is all but mandated by law, many New Yorkers have already made their views known through that time-tested method — the jeer.
Weiner was publicly booed while walking in a parade down Fifth Avenue the other day, and A-Rod was splashed on the cover of New York Post with the words "Damned Yankee!" after his suspension was announced.
Stay down, man
A good man knows when he's down. Perhaps Weiner and A-Rod could take a lesson from bar fights, where there's a code for how to take a good public pounding: "Stay down man … stay down!"
A smart man knows when he's beat, and lays there in the sawdust and shame. Only a fool struggles to his feet, protests his intentions, and begs for another beating.
Both these men refuse to stay down. Weiner continues his bootless run for mayor. And A-Rod is still giving press conferences hinting at dark conspiracies and talking about only wanting to get back on the field.
Yes, both men still have small fan bases in New York. It's a city that loves an underdog. Scratch the surface of the average New Yorker, you'll find someone who's hoping he can buck the odds and make it BIG. The Big Apple loves people with Big Dreams, even if they have Big Flaws.
In some twisted way, you almost have to admire the sheer (to use the local vernacular) chutzpah of both Weiner and A-Rod.
Despite the relentless, often savage, media condemnation, and the punishing public shame, they refuse to give up their big dreams.
And because everyone loves to watch a good train wreck, New Yorkers are as unlikely to escape the endless Weiner and A-Rod dramas as they can the summer heat.