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A summer reading suggestion for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford

June 25, 2009 |  5:29 pm

The poignant and deeply felt anguish expressed Wednesday by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford when he revealed his love affair with a woman in Buenos Aires has reminded us of the great novelist Philip Roth’s take on another sexual scandal, back in 1998, when the Republican establishment was trying to topple President Bill Clinton for his sexual indiscretions.

Moralists like Sanford, who find themselves in the very position for which they have excoriated others, might want to pick up a copy of Roth’s 2000 novel “The Human Stain,” which contains this wonderful passage:

“It was the summer in America when the nausea returned, when the joking didn't stop, when the speculation and the theorizing and the hyperbole didn't stop, when the moral obligation to explain to one's children about adult life was abrogated in favor of maintaining in them every illusion about adult life, when the smallness of people was simply crushing, when some kind of demon had been unleashed in the nation and, on both sides, people wondered "Why are we so crazy?" when men and women alike, upon awakening in the morning, discovered that during the night, in a state of sleep that transported them beyond envy or loathing, they had dreamed of the brazenness of Bill Clinton."

I myself dreamed of a mammoth banner, draped dadaistically like a Christo wrapping from one end of the White House to the other and bearing the legend "A HUMAN BEING LIVES HERE.”

-- Robin Abcarian

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