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Friday, February 2, 2007

Gavin Newsom’s Sex Scandal

posted by on February 2 at 16:43 PM

The very popular, very handsome, and very single/recently divorced mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, is embroiled in a sex scandal. Nothing illegal went down—no underage interns were harmed in the production of this sex scandal.

Newsom did, however, have sexual relations with a staffer. Although the woman, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, was Newsom’s appointments secretary at the time of the affair, she hasn’t made an allegations of sexual harassment. It seems to have been a brief, consensual workplace affair that ended two years ago. A bad idea, particularly for a big city mayor, but we’ve seen worse.

But Rippey-Tourk, however, is a married woman. And her husband, Alex Tourk, is Gavin Newsom’s best friend and campaign manager. When Rippey-Tourk told her husband about the affair, he promptly resigned—from the friendship as well as Newsom’s reelection campaign. Now there’s talk about the affair ending any chances Newsom had of higher office. (He had been mentioned as a potential Dem candidate for governor of California.) It’s a shit storm, for sure, and Newsom’s a cad and I can’t imagine Tourk will be married to Rippey-Tourk much longer.

But here’s the detail that keeps bothering me

Mr. Tourk, Mr. Newsom’s former deputy chief of staff and a close friend, resigned Wednesday afternoon, apparently after his wife, as part of rehabilitation for a substance-abuse problem, confessed to having had a relationship with Mr. Newsom.

I keep picturing Rippey-Tourk’s shrink giving her the usual recovery rap about how she’ll never fully recover until she makes amends to all the people she’s wronged—and that she can’t begin to make amends until she confesses every last thing she did wrong. Or maybe Rippey-Tourk felt guilty about the affair and wanted to unburden herself to her husband, unprompted by her counselors. However it went down, I don’t think this confession was in the best interests of all involved. Not because I want to protect Gavin Newsom—full disclosure: Newsom’s a hero in the gay marriage fight and I’d have an affair with him in a heartbeat—but because, as I’ve argued in “Savage Love” on numerous occasions, sometimes the best way to make amends to someone you’ve wronged—particularly to a spouse you’ve cheated on—is by keeping your fucking mouth shut.

Rippey-Tourk could have sucked up the guilt, committed herself to staying faithful in the future, and allowed her poor husband to go to his grave believing that he didn’t marry the kind of woman that would do that to him. Instead Mrs. Rippey-Tourk unburdened herself and in the process shifted all of the burden on to Mr. Tourk.

Sometimes honesty is not the best policy, and this may have been one of those times. Now in addition to being cuckolded for real—this wasn’t some fetish cuckold roleplay scenario—Mr. Tourk has been humiliated before the whole world. Oh, and he’s out of job too. Gavin Newsom will survive this scandal (and may yet go on to higher office), and Mrs. Rippey-Tourk will be forever seen as the victim of a caddish man and an unnamed abusable substance. But Mr. Tourk? He’s always going to be that poor dude whose best friend banged his wife.

Yes, Tourk’s wife and best friend betrayed him. But with the affair long over, did Mr. Tourk really need to be told about the betrayal? What good did it do? And whose interests did this confession really serve?

I’ll bet you that Mr. Tourk, in his heart of hearts, would have rather not have been told about this affair.

RSS icon Comments


This actually sounds like one of the steps in Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous. After you make a "fearless moral inventory of yourself", you make a list of what you did wrong and to whom, then you have to go and "make amends" to them. It's pretty much a requirement, unless it could do more damage than good. And they seriously believe that those kind of skeletons are the things that keep addicts using.

Posted by caroline | February 2, 2007 4:48 PM

I'm with Dan on this. Can't we Americans be more a little more European about these matters?

Posted by Jim Demetre | February 2, 2007 4:55 PM

Or, she could have told him that she cheated and withheld the name of the other man.

Posted by keshmeshi | February 2, 2007 4:56 PM

Actually, step 8 is: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

And, this is great example of where someone should have kept their yam trap shut.

You really don't need to tell your spousal unit that you diddled their kid sibling on your wedding night...that's why god created I, Anonymous.


Posted by gnossos | February 2, 2007 5:00 PM

Newsom sounds like a perfect Republican presidential candidate.

Posted by DOUG. | February 2, 2007 5:06 PM

Or the media could stop talking about it so that the whole thing can blow over, Newsom is a fantastic leader, let's let it go already. Clinton was skewered for less, and to what end? Let it lie.

Posted by Morgan | February 2, 2007 5:08 PM

I totally agree, telling your spouse about an old affair does no good.

I don't know anyone in recovery who would advocate telling the husband under these circumstances. (Assuming we know most of the story). The step that addresses amends is the 9th step and as #4 says, it has a very clear about the exception.

Caroline @1
There are no requirements for NA or AA. And I don't believe that there is any certain "thing" that keeps addicts from stopping.

Posted by sober 10 years | February 2, 2007 5:24 PM

Ignorance certainly is bliss, but if I had devoted my life/career to a guy who cheated with my partner, I'd want to know about it. So I could quit.

Tourk may be out of a job, but wouldn't you rather be unemployed than working for someone who would pull such an underhanded, two-faced move on you?

Posted by Explorer | February 2, 2007 5:34 PM

Maybe I'm just being contrarian, but I think Tourk has a right to know that his best friend and wife are shits. He could have chosen to forgive him, or her, or both, and kept his undoubtedly well-salaried position, but it seems he'd rather start clean and hopefully find someone who'll think more of him than to boff his boss. I wish him luck--it's got to be hard to take, losing two important people in your life to something like this.
And while I admire Newsom's politics most of the time, the timing of his gay marriage move a few elections ago did more to galvanize the GOP's religious base than all their TV commercials combined. This consensual hetero slip may not matter too much in the polls--at least I hope it won't. But the kind of guy who'd have sex with his best friend's wife isn't my first choice for elected office, regardless of his party affiliation. I thought adultery was dumb when Clinton did it and I thought it was dumb when Gingrich did it, and neither of those guys did it with their best friend's wife.

Posted by chimp | February 2, 2007 5:34 PM

For once, I agree with Dan, to the max.

The old saying about lie, lie, lie - has great pieces of truth when it come to discussing the expectation of fidelity.

I have an ex of long duration - we are good friends, amicable mutual separation and divorce, have a couple of kids in common - but if I had ever told the whole truth - what a hell would have ensued.

Posted by caleb | February 2, 2007 5:36 PM

For once, I agree with Dan, to the max.

The old saying about lie, lie, lie - has great pieces of truth when it come to discussing the expectation of fidelity.

I have an ex of long duration - we are good friends, amicable mutual separation and divorce, have a couple of kids in common - but if I had ever told the whole truth - what a hell would have ensued.

Posted by caleb | February 2, 2007 5:38 PM

I stand corrected, Sober 10 Years @7. Didn't know exactly what it was all about, but was pretty sure she's doing that 8th step.

Posted by caroline | February 2, 2007 5:47 PM

hmm i'd really love to be married to dan savage. or work for him.

Posted by wf | February 2, 2007 6:02 PM

Caroline @12--yes, I agree. She was probably doing the steps, but in my opinion she was doing them in a pretty fucked up way.

Posted by sober 10 years | February 2, 2007 7:43 PM

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would harm them or others." (I think it's actually "harmed" not "injured" as in 7 above)

Those doing the steps are not supposed to make amends just to unburden themselves at the expense of others. The step says "amends" meaning "to make up for." Which in most cases involves some kind of apology and request for forgiveness and offer to make it up if possible. This is easiest with theft, much harder with betrayal.

Of course, we don't really know what happened here.

Posted by mirror | February 2, 2007 8:01 PM

Me @ 15 stupid me, it is "injure".

Step #9 Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Posted by mirror | February 2, 2007 8:54 PM

yeah I screwed up on the step #, it is 9 as sober 10 yrs says and not 8 (apologies to those I may have harmed)...but I quoted directly from an AA website...maybe I just got a site that's been updated for the age of harm reduction...harm being a litte more encompassing than injure.

Posted by gnossos | February 2, 2007 9:15 PM

Dan is completely right. Former cheaters should STFU.

Is it just me, or does it seem like it's mostly women who do this "cheat on someone and then tell them" thing?

Posted by heart | February 2, 2007 11:16 PM

“Rippey-Tourk could have sucked up the guilt, committed herself to staying faithful in the future, and allowed her poor husband to go to his grave believing that he didn’t marry the kind of woman that would do that to him. Instead Mrs. Rippey-Tourk unburdened herself and in the process shifted all of the burden on to Mr. Tourk.”

Here’s a fun thought experiment. Extrapolate this relationship to the relationship we have with our own government. Specifically, apply it to the domestic spying program the Bush administration perpetrated on the American public. Not entirely dissimilar, right? One party fucks the other over in secret, terribly violating their covenant with the other. And what if they hadn’t been caught by a leak to the New York Times, but were living with this secret? What’s best to do? What if, in a (decidedly uncharacteristic) fit of self-examination (pause for laughter) they considered coming clean? Is this a good argument:

“The administration could have sucked its guilt, committed itself to keeping the public trust in the future, and allowed its poor constituency to go to their graves believing that they didn’t elect the kind of administration that would do that to them. Instead the administration unburdened itself and in the process shifted all of the burden on to the public.”

I’m stretching, beyond belief, the abilities of our current administration to question its own actions to make a point. We endlessly rail against deceit by our government, corporations, et al.—why then do we allow ourselves little Faustian bargains to preserve the relationships we’ve entered on an interpersonal level? It seems to me that if we imagine ourselves to be principled individuals, that we have a duty to adhere to those principals if we expect adherence in return.

And, alright, maybe it’s Pollyannaish and naive to force a parallel between a marriage and the Greater Social Contract. Then consider this: In Dan’s model, where the cheater maintains silence in order to protect the greater good of the relationship, the cheater dictates their own consequences. They done their partner wrong, so they will carry their burden of guilt, and never reveal their transgression to their significant other. In doing so, they act as their own moral arbiter, doling out their own punishment of nobly carrying this burden and sparing their wronged loved one the messy emotions of hurt and confusion, like a parent who tells their child that old Sandy has been sent to a farm where she can run in the fields and chase rabbits and not euthanized on a vet’s table to spare her from crippling arthritis. It seems to me this “punishment” carries with it its own mitigation. The cheater is assuaged by occupying their own, self-generated moral high ground. What noblesse! What sacrifice!

What bullshit. Not only can the cheater transgress, but the cheater gets away with it scot-free under the guise of self-sacrifice, and never faces any real consequences for their actions. No, if Rippey-Tourk betrayed the most sacred trust she had with her husband, it no longer lies with her to decide the ramifications of that violation, as she is clearly unfit to make that decision by virtue of her lack of virtue. Everybody is an adult in this situation, and the adult thing for her to do is take her fucking lumps, cede the moral high ground to her husband, and let him decide the course ahead, be it reconciliation or otherwise. Fuck bemoaning the shifting of the burden to Mr. Tourk, in an honest relationship, it was always his to bear. Fair? No. Honest? Most assuredly.

A final fallacy:

“Gavin Newsom will survive this scandal…Mrs. Rippey-Tourk will be forever seen as the victim of a caddish man and an unnamed abusable substance. But Mr. Tourk? He’s always going to be that poor dude whose best friend banged his wife.”

Wrong. Mr. Newsom will be seen as the caddish man, Mrs. Rippey-Tourk will be seen as the victim of her personal inability to remain faithful, and Mr. Tourk is going to be that guy who was tragically shit upon by the two people he trusted most in his life. There’s no need to make it worse by posthumously wishing Mrs. Rippey-Tourk would have compounded her weakness with blatant cowardice, and relegating Mr. Tourk to the role of cuckold AND fool.

Posted by Stephen in Chicago | February 3, 2007 12:18 AM

Stephen in Chicago:
You get my award for the most dumb-fool post I've read in the last 3 days.

The basic idea is that most people feel very burdened by their bad acts. There is a lot of relief to be felt by confessing the bad acts, especially if one has a system for living set up that rewards you for such confessions while at the same time supporting you through any fall-out, for example Alcoholics Anonymous.

However, realizing the relief of one's confession to the harmed party doesn't do any cosmic good if your relief just causes more harm to that party than it does healing. This calculus holds for 3rd parties as well. In these situations the confession is pure selfishness.

I know there is a lot of cynicism (and misunderstanding) about the 12 steps here at the STranger, but the program was developed above all else to be practical and to move the "recovering" person away from a self-centered life of rampaging and spreading chaos in the life of those around them. The program was not developed to turn the participants into militant morality police or into unthinking fodder for hard line morality police.

I fail to see any connection to George Bush, except that he owes an apology to the American people for all his bad acts and stupidity. I cant see how his making such an apology would harm me or anyone else. As I heard an old AA guy say once, "If you got a problem with stealing, well stop fucking stealing." Whatever we think of Ms. Rippey-Tourk, I assume she was intending not to do the same stupid shit again. Bush always means to do it again, and actually promises to do it again.

Posted by mirror | February 3, 2007 1:47 AM

Man, can't the rehabilitation clinics keep from having people divulge there "sins" as if thats the only thing a person can do to fix there lives. If she felt so guilty about it she would have left the guy or worked something out. This bothers me , because it is like these rehab programs are nothing but infested with this deep religious conviction you have to tell everybody everything you di. I'm sorry but if you want to confess , go to a confessional at a church. You might as well. Mark one more point in the Church for screwing up peoples lives.
I feel for all parties involved and theres more to affairs than people think. Its like "Oh I cheated on you , so you have a right to think I'm super evil and all. I should get therapy. I
should do this, I should do that, I'm the one thats crazy."
Thats what I feel her reaction , when her husband flies off the handle and clips her one, is to be.....because the Church and society thinks she's a sinner , the evil one and she should purge herself of her witch like ways. Getting cheated sucks, I know, but you don't have to persecute and throw stones at the cheater. It was sex or love was lost, whatever. No reason to even know in the first place.
Yeah people should be honest in there love, but feelings for a partner doesn't have to choke out the love,passion, desire, and lust you had between eachother. unless your possessive, which I'm findiing that in modern times has become increasingly so. We are only Human we say, but deep in our hearts we seem to have this controlling factor in relationships.
Marriage is the only union which means something in a realationship, people say. Its like if were not married then you don't love me on and on and on. I get tired of this religious pining on of how thats so great.
Any way I thought of all this while reading the article and I thought of the reasons men go to war, because of there passions for women. They like the best fight of them all "fighting over a women" look at the Trojan War.
And it comes from what 'Religion' and our great ancestors have told us.
Man will never change, and will continue to be self destructive because of love. People are being misled, and we are dooming ourselves if we do not set ourselves free from
the Church and religion.
And I'm not saying that we should all just go out and screw like bunny rabbits...I'm just saying relax the persecution allready. Its making mankind Bi-Polar. Crazy.
Whats your godlike definition of Virtue. All this comming down on the church and its virtues in this rag, and you can't take the fact that no matter what you think or do or act, is
heavily influenced by the religious pining of your parents to be the good liitle boys and girls, and someday you are going to find love and and , you better not cheat....cause Gods gonna get you.
Screw shame and all that guilt. Go to rehab , get made to feel guilty about sex and how you should just love one person.
Its all over hollywood, all over america, all over your neighborhood that someone wnats to screw someone else. Its in every damn show, people watch it, and then they go home feeling better they can indulge in the 'Sins' as long as they don't do it. You want that kind of religion go to Pakistan. they set the rules of who they can screw and not. And if your caught cheating by the masses, whoah your toast.
I'm just saying that this comes to the science of the matter, of how man acts when he wants to control something. You want therapy. I deal in science. Two different arguments my friend. And if you want to throw religion into everything having to do with relationships and all go ahead.
I'm saying its making man nuts. He's a big, jealous, ugly brute... and will continue to be so because he was told he was.
I don't care for cheaters liers or anyone else for that matter. We might as well go to war on cheaters and liers. And hence mans folly. He has to fight about everything.
Not me pal. I don't judge anyone anymore. Leave that for the church. Wanna meat Jesus. He's right here man.

I'm comming from the view point that if I was married and my wife cheated I wouldn't be judgemental, I could live with it, I would not off myself or her and everyone around me, I would feel a little wierd at first but I could move on. I wouldn't quit my job, I wouldn't bow to the masses to get revenge, or write a winey book. I would even put her on a pedestal and show her love daily. Someone elses cock in my wife doesn't mean she didn't love me is all I'm saying. Hell everyones wife had a cock in her one time or another. Big deal. Again the virgin marriage Religious thing again. phooey.
Thats a fear many men have, and it ruins them and starts wars, and hatefilled propaganda that gets people all hot and bothered by equating sex with love. I could be screwing my wife for years and then someday she has
a quicky with a coworker and suddenly lifes over? I'm supposed to reject her like trash. thats someone elses opinion. not mine. I have a little more reasoning factor behind my soul and i'm not so quick to judge. Call me that defeatism whatever, but I learned that sometimes we need to get over our persecution of sexual trystes. I even hate that word. Religion came up with that. "Do you take this women to be your LAWFULY wedded wife"
whys does love have to be Lawful all of a sudden. You can be with someone and now you own them. I love my girlfriend, but I love the freedom to love her forever. Not because I had to. Because I want to. Marriage is overrated. I'm sick of its religous overtones. Everyone harps on Christians and there morals in this slog, so I'm riffing on marriage. I'll get deep. Marriage is a Brain Wash.

Posted by sputnik | February 3, 2007 1:56 AM

If you keep telling people that they don't have to come clean if they're not caught...

I don't know. I think if you have made the commitment, than your spouse needs to have all the facts.

Mirror, you are a fool-parrot. AA is a pointless waste of time. It's main purpose seems to be to tell people it's not their fault, they weren't in control. "Don't feel bad, you were predisposed to it. It was going to happen. Now ask fake god for forgiveness and please donate on your way out."

Load of shit. Doesn't AA have the same recovery rate as going cold turkey or any other way of quitting?

Sputnik, try to condense that into something readable.

Posted by PDXRitchie | February 3, 2007 2:28 AM

Well PDXRitchie:
Does it? I don't know the stats.

I think most recovery programs do some form of the 12 steps, which is basically 1)admit shit insn't going well the way you are doing it right now, 2) be honest with yourself about who you are and what you've been doing, 3) say you are sorry if you have hurt people and if it wont hurt people doing so, and 4) keep being honest with yourself and if you do something wrong admit it as soon as possible so it doesn't fester and make you feel isolated and powerless.

It certainly sounds like way too much trouble if your life isn't going very very poorly and you are very unhappy

What moral system 12 steppers use or what or whether they adhere to a specific spiritual/religious practice is not specified. Given the predominance of Christianity in the US, it is no surprise that for many 12 steppers they use it as their guide, but it isn't mandatory.

I guess what gets some people so resentful about 12 step programs is resentment against perceived religion, the feeling that it is some sort of cult, and the feeling that the AA people are (secretly) judging other people's (ie one's own) drinking and drug use.

But talking about one's fault with another person is just standard practice in any kind of therapy. Catholics call it confession when done with a priest. Atheist therapists call it therapy.

The question here is whether it's therapeutic or ethical in all cases to get it published in the SF Chronicle.

Posted by mirror | February 3, 2007 10:24 AM

Well if it isn't a cult what is it?
Did you know for a fact that they put people in there who have no problem at all. They not antisocial drinkers, they not full of suioide and not everyone is drinking to kill themselves over lost girlfriends.
But the court seems to think so, and its mandated everyone go to AA to cleanse their souls.
We bought into the Brain Wash because it supposedly works. But all I see is it churning some people into totally self absorbant trainwrecks. And they run around telling everybody , don't take that sin juice. Its gonna be bad, ooooh scary . Its like the big fear campaign we got against the world. Clinics are cool, but not if it has to mandated by society.
I don't trust societies that indiscriminately place people in Rehab programs.
Because thats what they are Programs.
And if you look into the history of Europe, they used to put normal people into insane asylums and the poor bastards were forced to feel paranoid about themselves.
The Church I think had something to do with that, so I am very skeptical of rehab programs yes.
As the church says now...."the moral fiber of this country is breaking down... people are smoking pot, having sex , getting drunk and playing rock music, we got to smite that demon down"
You get my drift that I'm not falling for that. I don't have to come clean with who I am. I already know.
And I like Booze, and I like sex, and I like a lot of things that would make the "devil cry". So what. At least I'm not actively pouring zillions of dollars into the war machine and the church to fulfil a prophecy. If anyone needs to go to rehab, its those guys at the Pentagon. Its like they live for War , and manage to get all the money they need for endless amounts of toys to further war.
Maybe some looking in the mirror could help them. And we could see some progress with trying save this planet from destroying itself from within.

Posted by sputnik | February 3, 2007 10:55 AM

want to see a good movie. See the movie "End of Violence'. There is a lot all the players in San Francisco and around the world even,could learn from that script.

Posted by sputnik | February 3, 2007 11:03 AM


Is your most dumb-fool award an actual mirror? That would be great, as it would remind the recipient "Yes...I too, like this award, must be more reflective." In keeping with the theme, we should have the award ceremony here in Chicago:

Says you:

"However, realizing the relief of one's confession to the harmed party doesn't do any cosmic good if your relief just causes more harm to that party than it does healing. This calculus holds for 3rd parties as well. In these situations the confession is pure selfishness."

The situation you've laid out here is incomplete. You deal only with the confessor and their feeling of absolution. If that were the only factor, if the confessor merely says "I cheated on you. WHEW! That felt SO GOOD!" then strolls away whistling “A Nightingale Sang In Barclay Square”, then yes, that would be pure selfishness. You neglect to mention the consequences the cheater so richly deserves. They might actually have to feel bad publicly, instead of in solitude. They may have to be yelled at. They might have to watch their loved one cry. They might, horror or horrors, have to accept forgiveness, the poor thing. I don’t see the cheater nobly shielding their partner from pain and rightly eschewing a selfish pursuit for absolution. Rather, I see it as a cheater compounding their weakness by being too much of a coward to take responsibility for what they've done, too spineless to submit themselves to their partner’s reaction and accept the ramifications to the relationship. The whole 'it-would-do-more-harm-than-good' argument is just a veneer to disguise the cheaters own inability to be an adult. AGAIN.

You know, the cheater's feelings don't interest me half as much as the feelings of the cheated upon. And I would want to know. I know it would make the relationship more difficult. I know it makes for far more work and awkward meals and nights alone and the possibility of collapse. But I'm willing to do the work, that's why I showed up in the relationship. I have a responsibility to fix what is broken, together with my partner, if it can be fixed. Which I can't do, if I don't know its broke.

And sure, to not have to deal with a transgression in the here and now would save a little pain. But I know, somewhere down the relationship road, somebody's gonna have to watch the other person die, and maybe take a long time to do it, with a lot of ass-wiping and breathing tubes along the way. Someone is going to lose a job, a house is going to burn down, a child is going to die, some goddamn thing. I want to know now what are the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship are so I can know what's going to happen when there is no simple, pretty lie to keep things rosy. So please, spare me the sparing me.

Finally, mirror, for the engraving of my award, please note the spelling of my name. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve received a check or something in the mail with ‘Stephan in Chicago’ on it.

Posted by Stephen in Chicago | February 3, 2007 12:52 PM


You may have misunderstood my comments. I don't think absolution is the objective of the amend steps in the 12 steps. (I think the request for forgiveness is a way humbling oneself further after admitting the wrong. Its not the getting but the asking. What more can you do?) The need or desire for absolution should not outweigh consideration of potential injury. Nor should ones "amends" confessions be intended to cause harm as in "Oh yeh, so you want to break up with me? Well I slept with your best friend AND her dog."

As to my strong negativity, I apologize. I felt strongly that the idea that the drunken slut harlot should confess so she can be punished severely as she deserves for her immoral conduct regardless of any other considerations is too narrow a view for me to be comfortable with.

And as I said, I dont know anything about the actual situation here. I merely agree that someone recently into rehab may want to slow down and have a chat with a cool headed person about her motives and the ramifications before she immediately confesses all her infidelities or turns in all her pot dealers.

Posted by mirror | February 3, 2007 3:46 PM

Here's a pic of the lady-in-question...

Posted by mattereaterlad | February 3, 2007 5:42 PM


"...the idea that the drunken slut harlot should confess so she can be punished severely as she deserves for her immoral conduct regardless of any other considerations..."

Egads, love! I never suggested that the woman be whipped at a pillory or painted with scarlet letter or anything of the sort. I did not call her harlot, drunk, and the only way you could accuse me of calling her "a slut" is if you went back and anagrammed the word "Tulsa"...which wouldn't work because that ALSO does not appear in the post!

The point I was making simply had to do with "confess the infidelity" versus "hide the infidelity", and my thoughts were not confined to those in recovery, but to anyone in that situation. Prevalent consenus seemed to trend towards concealment, that the cuckold is better left unwitting. I chaffed at this because I feel concealment is less about preserving the relationship and more about saving the cheater from whatever consequences may stem from their revelation. And by consequence, I mean hurt feelings, the threat of separation, messy shit like that. I do not mean being labeled anything untoward by the public at large or drowned as a witch, those are not the consequences of which I speak.

So, no, I don't think she's a slut and should be punished. Quite the opposite. I'm a relationship chump by nature, I'm a huge reconcilliation fan. Though, as I'm sure you'll agree, in the greater scheme it's not what you or I think, it's what they end up deciding that counts. Pray god that stays out of the Chronicle, 'cause I don't have it in me to hash this out again.

And I did misunderstand where you were coming from. I was not dealing specifically with the 12-step recovery process in my post, so I didn't cotton on when you ran with it. Sorry.

There, mirror! We have kissed and made up! Though, full disclosure, you are not the first mirror I've kissed. I'm incredibly vain.

Posted by Stephen in Chicago | February 3, 2007 6:40 PM

I have to disagree with Dan on this one. Newsom's career ends in the mayor's office, and Rippey was right to confess her affair.

If she'd slept with some other guy, a guy she didn't work for, and with whom her husband didn't work for, and who wasn't her husband's best friend, she could have kept her mouth shut. But affairs with husband's best friend are not going to be secrets forever; they just can't. She needed to tell it for her sake and for Tourk's.

Newsom on the other hand is stone-cold guilty of sexual harrassment in the workplace. Consensual, my ass; he's used his office and his power over her and his political magnetism at its peak, at the time when he was a national superstar, to fuck his underling. That's wrong. The fact that she's his best friend's wife, well, that's bad, but it's not unheard of and it's not unforgiveable. But Newsom's going nowhere in the state (maybe to the state House or something, but not the Governor).

Way to fuck up a promising career, guy. He's let down a lot of people across the country.

Posted by Fnarf | February 4, 2007 10:07 AM

Interesting perspective. Not just and employee but also emotionally vulnerable because of alchohol and emotional problems, rocky marriage.

Posted by mirror | February 4, 2007 10:16 AM

I'd just be happy in Ruby's position to finally ditch my atrocity of a name. Ruby Rippey-Tourk? The music of it is highly annoying. More specifically, her last name sounds like the first and last name of a tele-evangelist's wife.

To whit: Pastor Tourk and his wife Rippey want to wish you a very merry and blessed Christmas this year. Praise Jesus.

Also: If fidelity is of the utmost importance to you, marry someone with no attractive qualities and a very low sex drive. Otherwise, accept the fact, however uncomfortable, that reasonable and rational people often succumb to the overriding urges of the endocrine system. And learn to forgive, because children will play. You can be as righteous about it as you want, but behavior is identity and the record shows that we humans like to spread ourselves around, especially when we're feeling good about ourselves because we are any of the following: young, attractive, attracted, rich and/or powerful.

Posted by doctiloquus | February 4, 2007 10:45 AM


You are too bright of a man to post such an ignorant argument.

Mrs. Rippey-Tourk is in a rehab program for substance abuse and yet your suggestion is the following:

"Rippey-Tourk could have sucked up the guilt, committed herself to staying faithful in the future, and allowed her poor husband to go to his grave believing that he didn’t marry the kind of woman that would do that to him.

Guess what?!? Sucking it up wasn't working for her and it doesn't work for a lot of people. Instead she turned to drugs/alcohol/sex whatever to distract herself from an issue she wasn't able to confront. Ultimately it created such a disruption in her life and the life of her family that she had to seek professional help.

All of us have a right to decide the type of relationship (professional or personal) into which we enter. If one party decides to change the rules or the context of the relationship than the other has a right to this information so they may make the choice to continue or disengage.

Your argument that the confession didn't serve anyone is false. It has allowed Mrs. Rippey-Tourk on opportunity to focus her energies on getting healthy instead of covering lies. It has allowed Mr. Tourk an honest assessment of his personal and professional relationships and it has allowed Mr. Newsom a front row seat on the effect his behavior has on others. Clearly this affair wasn't just "sex" - otherwise it still wouldn't be an issue two years later.

Posted by Kelly | February 4, 2007 7:26 PM

Damn, the more I think about this the more I really don't want to know if my SO goes astray but finds some help to get back on the straight and narrow.

I figured 12 step recovery was about finding a way of taking responsibility for ones own life and stopping causing chaos in the lives of those around you, not exploding ones recovery and secrets upon the planet as an instrument of cosmic justice.

Posted by mirror | February 5, 2007 1:48 AM

here's a perspective i haven't seen posted yet: now that this scandal has come out, city hall officials are now feeling free to confirm the rumors of the last few years that newsom is m.i.a. when it comes to the daily nitty-gritties of running san francisco. apparently he's too busy fucking, attending socity functions and showboating for the press to do any anctual work. what was the gay marriage fiasco but show? it wound up doing more harm than good. the nation wasn't ready for gay marriage, and the backlash was harmful to all of us. i am a long time resident of sf, i love this city, and what we need is a WONK, someone who will do something about the graft, the ineffectual self-protecting police force, the underfunded city services. newsom is just a GQ pretty boy "spokesmodel" and i say good riddance.

Posted by ellerosa | February 5, 2007 10:59 AM

gnossos @4: "yam trap" is a new one on me and now I'm going to be laughing uncontrollably every time I think of it for the rest of the workday. Thanks buddy!!

Posted by Quinapalus | February 5, 2007 11:07 AM

There are many more reasons Mr. Tourk is better off knowing what he married than not. And as for your opinion on this matter,try adding "and what you don't know won't hurt you" to your vows for your life long partner.

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