Dumb and Dumber

February 11th, 2011

By Tom Carter

Dumb and dumber applies to people who send partially or totally nude photos of themselves to other people by text message, through chat rooms, or on social media such as Facebook.  It also applies to people who think they can get away with equally stupid behavior.

The latest and most famous idiot is Rep. Christopher Lee (R-NY).  He responded to a woman’s ad on Craigslist, telling her he was 39 years old, divorced, had one child, and was a lobbyist living on Capitol Hill in Washington.  In fact, he’s 46, married, has one child, and is was a member of Congress.  More than that, he was a rising member (no pun intended) among House Republicans and had a seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.  The only thing unusual about Lee’s case is that he resigned so quickly instead of trying to ride out the storm.

Lee definitely falls into the “dumber” category.  In sending his photo, he seemed to forget that his face wasn’t exactly unknown.  He also used his normal personal e-mail address, the one he uses on Facebook.  Other well-known people have also proved themselves to be “dumber,” apparently believing that the people they sent messages and photos to wouldn’t say anything about it.

Message to the world — here are some things you have to think about before you give in to your hormonal baser urges:

  • If you’re married and you’re going to play around, for God’s sake don’t put anything in writing, take photos, or make videos.  Anything that exists as a digital or written record will inevitably get passed around, either by the participants or people they know.
  • When you’re the one with power and you’re well-known, your paramour owns you.  Just ask Bill Clinton, who gave power over his reputation and the integrity of his office to a young girl in her early twenties.  Then he rejected her, and the roof fell in.  Predictable?  Duh.
  • Office romances almost never turn out well.  It’s kind of absurd to see two people who work in the same place carrying on an affair and thinking they’re getting away with it.  The truth is they’re usually the last two people in the office who know that everyone in the office knows about their affair.
  • If you’re a powerful, well-known public figure (let’s say, a governor) you’d be well-advised to avoid cavorting with hookers.  No matter how discreet you think you’re being, you’re owned by ladies of the night and those who manage them and coordinate their activities.  It’s only a matter of time….

Why do people keep getting themselves in this kind of trouble?  Maybe Dr. Jim Taylor is better-suited to explain it, but I’ll hazard a couple of guesses.

First, some people are risk-takers; they thrive on living on the edge, risking it all, surviving by their wits and strength.  They aren’t just philanderers — they drive too fast, engage in extreme sports, and just can’t avoid doing dangerous things.  I’ve known quite a few among military pilots, usually better-than-average pilots who constantly operate right at the edge of the envelope even when they don’t have to.  And guess what — the reason risks are thrilling to some people is because they can have catastrophic outcomes, such as loss of reputation and professional status, serious injury, and death.

Second, while the appeal of risk-taking may be a factor, some people are driven primarily by an inability to accept life as it is.  Every time they achieve something, they’re no longer satisfied — they have to pursue something better than they’ve achieved no matter how good it may be.  That applies, sadly, not only to their professional and recreational efforts but also to their families.  It’s not that they want to destroy their marriages and wreck their children’s lives; they just don’t think about it until it’s too late.

There’s an old axiom that the worst thing a politician can do is get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy (that was the old days, when politicians were assumed to be male).  It’s time to update the axiom.  How about this:  Keep your pants on … but if you can’t, don’t write about it, don’t take photos or videos, and don’t assume you’ll get away with it.


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2 Responses to “Dumb and Dumber”



  1. larry ennis |

    I reckon it just proves that “Stupid” shows no preference politically or otherwise. Mr. Lee joins a long list of losers such as John Edwards who have done similar things. Too bad that such carrying on doesn’t always mean dishonor and loss of social standing. Some people such as Rep. Charlie Rangel get away with much more. I think that Rangel is one of those you’d consider a risk taker instead of stupid. He knew that there was a chance of being caught/exposed but he also knew that his predecessor, Adam Clayton Powell, had left office under a cloud but he’d also left office much wealthier than when he entered.

    As you point out the desire to live dangerously isn’t confined to to any one group of individuals. As a young man I was a risk taker but strictly for a price. I never mentally dwelt on the negative aspects/danger of what I was doing.

    Your point about people who are never satisfied touched me. For years I couldn’t understand why some people lived in poverty even though jobs were going begging for workers. I decided my family would never drop into poverty. Such a decision will promote the desire to excel which in turn creates demand for your services. Time or lack of it becomes the greatest obstacle.

    My son insists that every challenge for me becomes a “Quest”. At my age, life has really changed, I’ve had to slow down. Hell fire, I can’t even adjust the set-up in my new television receiver.


  2. Tom Carter |

    It’s interesting, as you note, Larry, that some public figures can get away with more than others. Bill Clinton is a good example. He’s a sexual predator with a history of abusive behavior toward women, not to mention a proven liar, yet he’s still revered in some quarters. Go figure.


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