Thursday, December 4, 2008

Faux Pas and Faux-prahs

It is no secret how much power Oprah wields. So it is no wonder there are so many women who wanna be like Oprah, henceforth known as "Faux-Prahs." They say that behind every successful man is a strong woman ... an Oprah or a Faux-Prah. And we know that when these men in politics, religion or sports commit faux pas, there's usually a woman behind the action or the apology.

President-elect Obama was fortunate he had Oprah on the campaign trail and his Faux-prah Michelle by his side 24/7. Collectively, they made some faux pas--some say Oprah sullied her brand image by endorsing a political candidate for office and let's not rehash the ones that Obama and Michelle made during the long election campaign. With the recent faux pas of the IL governor, it brings to mind the true meaning of the national cliche "Chicago politics."

During the past two decades, we've been inundated with faux pas committed by leaders from whom we would never expected such behavior. It makes us wonder where the blame lies - whether these men deliberately misled us or whether we held them to higher standards than mere mortals. And what about the women who were their partners in their downfall or fall from grace - were they drunk with the thought of power or did they genuinely care about these men? Let's not forget the stoic women who stood by their men during their public mea culpas. Did they do it for love or for duty or other considerations?

In 2004, the ever-affable John Edwards informed us that there were "two Americas" - one must wonder if that is why he needed two women, one for each America? And while Jimmy Swaggart preached about fire and brimstone, did he realize that the road to hell was paved with good intentions? The list of marquee names that have fallen from grace is shocking, considering what these men stood for. Elliot Spitzer notably among them.

Do the private dalliances of public figures really matter, or are we clinging on to puritanical conventions that have outlived their time? And, will the actions of our leaders give us poetic license to throw caution to the wind and flagrantly commit faux pas without fear of consequences?

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