So What If You Gave a BJ in College?

Joan AllenOver the past week, I‘ve been discovering that there are just as many dumb movies on Amazon Instant Video as on Netflix. I’m in the midst of a free 30-day trial membership with the former and almost every night, I look for a free good movie to watch for free, knowing that I won’t actually find one for free. (And by good, I mean something that measures up to my three favorite classics: Independence Day, Basic Instinct, and Madonna: Truth or Dare.) Basically, I’m Sisyphus—but hey, did I just mention my favorite four-letter F-word enough?

The other night, I slept-watched the 2000 political thriller snoozer The Contender, packed with enough famous miscast actors to guarantee that it would suck.

It didn’t suck. At least not completely. Without diving too deeply into the plot, after the country’s Vice President dies, Democratic President Jackson Evans (Jeff Bridges) chooses Laine Hanson (Joan Allen) to be the nation’s next Number 2. (Sorry, Hillary.) But some mean, nasty Republicans (what else would they be?) seek to derail Congressional confirmation by exposing Hanson’s torrid sexual past. Turns out, there’s alleged photographic evidence of Hanson reveling in a drunken orgy during a sorority initiation.

To be clear, I believe that to elevate someone who engaged in such debauchery to Vice President is an insult to the nation.

The woman deserves to be President! 

Hanson, you’d have my vote! As someone who has participated in threesomes that somehow devolved into twosomes (they always do) in which I was left out (I always am), I applaud anyone who can successfully navigate an orgy. Negotiating with the G8 powers would be child’s play for Hanson.

Throughout the hearings, Hanson consistently refuses to discuss her sexual past. She will neither confirm nor refute the allegations.

(Stop reading now if you plan to watch the film. Though who are we kidding? You won’t watch it.)

Toward the end of the movie, Hanson reveals that although she did come to a fraternity party to have sex with two men as part of her sorority hazing, she changed her mind at the last minute (guess the guys weren’t hot enough?) and left. The girl in the old photos is not her. I think Hanson may have added that there’s evidence to back up her claim, but I was dozing off by that point.

The ContenderAfterward, others encourage Hanson to vindicate herself, end all the sex accusations, and accelerate her confirmation. However, she refuses, knowing that her decision could cost her the Vice Presidency. To address the charges, she explains, would send a signal that it was OK to ask her about her sexual past to begin with. It wasn’t. As Hanson puts it, “Principles only mean something when you stick to them when it’s inconvenient.”

I told you this woman was too good for Vice President!

Too often, we are quick to validate only positive claims and reject only negative claims about ourselves without ever stopping to contemplate if we should be doing either. Of course, it’s tempting to fall into the trap of preserving your good name (unless you’re like me, who’s persistently trying to build a personal brand around bad behavior). It’s much harder to take the high road.

Still, the next time someone challenges your ability or your character or whatever by asking a question that isn’t relevant to it, stop before you answer.

Then don’t answer.

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