Some weeks have more news than other ones

by Brian Clarey

Among the other things John Edwards has screwed up in recent months — his marriage, his political future, the sovereignty of the mainstream media on a breaking story, the moral high ground for the Democratic Party and narcissism as a valid defense, to name a few — was a perfectly serviceable editorial that took the position that it didn’t matter if Edwards had something going on the side.

Of course, we never expected he’d come right out and tell the truth — parts of it, anyway… the jury’s still out on that baby.

And even though Edwards did his best to downplay his confession, airing it live during the $300 million opening ceremonies to the most confounding Olympic Games ever, it still stole the show in a news week that was anything but slow.

There is a war going on in Eastern Europe, you know, after Russia — an old boogeyman, but still a favorite — tried to stomp Georgia into supplication.

In the good old days, if there was military activity in Europe, we’d all be buying bomb shelters, watching made-for-TV miniseries about nuclear armageddon and making our schoolchildren sit under their desks with their heads between their knees every afternoon.

It doesn’t seem all that long ago when the war was a cold one and we all assumed the arms race was what would blow all this into oblivion. But then Russia went broke — which was the point of the arms race, really — and we just kind of forget about them as a military power.

Really, those were simpler times… now when Russia flexes a little muscle we don’t even blink, even as the tanks roll into Gori laying waste to everything in sight. Nobody has less respect for the value and sanctity of human life then the Russians.

Except, of course, the Chinese.

Take a look: While Edwards was admitting his raging egomania (big surprise there) NBC aired a spectacular opening ceremony on the floor of Beijing National Stadium (because the Chinese have yet to discover the sweet and easy money behind arena naming rights). The pageantry included 14,000 performers, 15,000 different costumes and the world’s largest LCD television screen.

And yet they’ve hustled all the undesirables out of the city, built brick walls blocking unattractive storefronts from street view, taken half the cars off the road and basically told everyone in the country to be on their best behavior until the show hits the road. And still there’s that guy who got stabbed, the father-in-law of the US men’s volleyball coach, at an ancient landmark. Chinese authorities say the attacker jumped to his death. Right.

For China, the Olympics is a show of superiority, just like it was for Russia in the summer of 1980, when the Olympics were held in Moscow. The main difference between then and now was that we still had the balls to boycott the games back then, while this year our sitting president has neatly compartmentalized the international games as a “sporting event.”

And he seemed to have a hell of a time, too, our president, at his weekend Olympics fantasy camp. He got to ride his bike on the official course. He watched a baseball game. He got to see US swimmers win gold, acting like he deserved some of the credit. He got to huddle up with the US men’s basketball team. And he was even invited to give US women’s beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor a pat on the ass.

He declined, of course — or he blew it, depending on how you look at it, offering this firm, young professional athlete a fetid tap on her lower back.

Edwards, on the other hand, would probably have cupped her pretty good if he was given the same chance, and which one is more embarrassing?

Also virtually wiped off the radar last week was longtime Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre’s move to the New York Jets, which really should have more of an effect on regular Americans than the situation with John Edwards’ sperm. So while all the political/sex scandal junkies speculated about the paternity of Rielle Hunter’s baby (What about the old married guy who said he did it? Does he still get to keep his payoff?) we were ignoring the question as to whether Favre can get the ball to Laveranues Coles across the middle.

The Jets won’t be meeting Green Bay this season, unless they both make it to the Super Bowl, which at this point is about as likely as John Edwards being named attorney general, or even getting to put his hand on an Olympian’s ass, in the near future.

To comment on this story, e-mail Brian Clarey at