There’s a scene in the movie “Zorba”, where Bouboulina is dying and the women of the town don’t even wait for her to draw her last breath before they take everything. Listening to the media each time a public figure has an affair reminds me of that scene which might as well be called “the vultures descend”. Having an affair is wrong, but when a public figure has one, does it give us the right to have a gossip fest? It seems every commentator, blogger, et al, can’t wait to have a say, to condemn, to judge, to criticize, to chastise, (however disguised through the art of punditry) forgetting that the same spiritual code that tells us an affair is wrong also tells us that these behaviors are just as wrong. We talk as if we are above weakness, as if we had never made a big mistake, as if we had never hurt anyone. What ends up being on display as people keep on talking is the lack of compassion, of understanding, of reasons behind the action, of context, of intent, of forgiveness, of many of the values which make people good Christians, good Buddhists, good Muslims or good Jews. We tend to loose ourselves in our own pronouncements and as we do seem to loose sight of what’s important. Suddenly the transgression is magnified as if the individual involved could not have done anything worse. We then justify our form of voyeurism by telling ourselves it goes to character, as if there are no better indices, such as votes cast, speeches, stand on issues, life history or how the person in question handled adversity. We quickly forget that politicians go back on their promises, that they tweak the truth to be acceptable to whatever audience they are talking to, fall prey to believing their own hype, all of which are not much different than the kind of lies involved in having an affair. Still, we seem to excuse one and not the other. Perhaps this ought to be no surprise, as long as we allow our morality to be defined by the tabloids. They pay for the tidbits we are all so eager to learn, dangle money in front of poorly paid (sometimes disgruntled) servants, attendants, and others employed by potential subjects. We engage in the gossip, immune to the source and to the fact that our attention, the nation’s, and that of decision makers is being deflected away from more pressing issues.