May 1, 2007

"You have to be Jackie Kennedy today."

That's what NJ Governor Jim McGreevey said to his wife Dina Matos McGreevey to prepare her to stand next to him as he went public about his gay relationship. I'm hearing her say this on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." (Dina is promoting her book "Silent Partner: A Memoir of My Marriage.") Oprah has been trying for 15 minutes to get her to explain what the hell she was smiling about as she stood next to her husband when he told the world that he'd been unfaithful to her. It's what every woman wants to know, says Oprah.
"No one ever said to me that he was gay," she said. "It's a cliche that the wife is always the last to know, and it's true."

Matos McGreevey said she was shocked by her husband's revelation, which she said came in "cowardly installments."

"I'm not in denial, but I don't think he's simply gay. I think he's bisexual," she said. "I mean, he was married twice. He has two children. And, you know, I never saw him checking out men, but I certainly saw him checking out women."
There's something creepy about this show. The McGreeveys are engaged in a big legal fight over the custody of their daughter, yet Oprah seems to want to present the show as saying something to all the many individuals who find out that their spouse lacks the sexual orientation that corresponds with the marriage. This is a serious issue, but Dina has a legal stake in portraying herself as having been utterly in the dark.

The creepiness swells when Oprah shows Dina a clip of Jim McGreevey when he appeared on her show. Oprah had asked him what it was like when he had sex with his wife. We see a split screen. He says "It was special." Dina smiles. Oprah pushes him: Was it real? He says, "I thought it was real," and so does Dina.

Dina talks about seeing a manuscript, where McGreevey wrote that he married her for political purposes. She says that if he'd been able to keep his secret he'd be running for President right now. And she says that in her hour of need she turned to Hillary Clinton. Hillary took the call, and Dina said "You're the only person that came to mind when this happened." This gets a big laugh from the Oprah audience. (Hillary told her to get her own advisors and to take care of herself and her daughter.)

We learn that Dina continued to live with McGreevey -- and share his bed -- for three months after she learned of his betrayal. Oprah expresses disbelief: Even if you had nowhere else to go, "It's the Governor's Mansion. You had lots of bedrooms. You could say, look, I'm gonna be down the hall, and I'll see you at breakfast." Dina said she thought he should have moved out.

In the end, Oprah asks Dina to say something to all the heterosexual people who discover they have married a gay person. Her message is: You've done absolutely nothing wrong. Don't blame yourself. Oprah asks her if she's dating again, and she says no. She blames McGreevey, who's destroyed her trust in people, "especially men."

Oprah crisply responds, "Yeah. Well, we contacted the former governor for a statement and here's what he said and wanted us to say" -- Oprah touches her cheek with her index finger, a gesture I've seen myself make on video and think means I'm not quite saying everything I'm thinking -- "'Congratulations, you're sitting on America's favorite couch. I wish you well in your journey. With the telling of this book, Dina has now had an opportunity to share her story, as I did with mine. Now, hopefully, is the time to look to the future, to raise our daughter, in a loving, nurturing environment.'"

Here's the look on poor Dina's face:

Dina Matos McGreevey

"It's a classic McGreevey performance," Dina says. I wonder if she realizes how much Oprah was on McGreevey's side through the interview. Based on that look on her face, I think she does.

52 comments:

reader_iam said...

I didn't see the show.

It's not quite clear to my why you think Oprah was on McGreevey's side (I'm not disputing it; it's just not clear to me from what you wrote). What appeared to be Winfrey's problem, her agenda?

And what, do you think, is she expecting Dina to do--just suck up the rotten situation in which she found herself and buy into the total narrative provided by her husband? Who, gay or not (and I have no problem with someone being gay), was certainly faithless in terms of their marriage--unless, of course, they agreed to some sort of open arrangement of whatever sort.

reader_iam said...

She didn't reply, "You, sir, are no Jack Kennedy"?!

(Well, except that ... .)

Anyway, couldn't resist.

Ann Althouse said...

Oprah was needling her throughout, but the real kicker was that she had that quote and she saved it up 'til the end, after Dina had gotten pinned down as bitter and unforgiving.

Peter Palladas said...

Dina has now had an opportunity to share her story

...that's all that seems to matter now. Have a story, howsoever gross or private, then just find the right audience to grab the sales.

Payolla - that's all there is.

Tim said...

So who is worse?

McGreevey?

His ex-wife?

Or Oprah?

Dan Collins said...

Well, at least the guy changed the New Jersey joke from "Which exit?" to "Which rest stop?"

tjl said...

Dina's experience must have been a nightmare of hurt and embarrassment. There's no doubt McGreevey's selfishness and dishonesty are to blame. But - it's hard to believe that she really had no clue. There had been rumors swirling around McGreevey for years, and, in any case, he was highly gaydar-activating. Could Dina really have been so naive as to fail to pick up the signals which were being broadcast so clearly?

joated said...

That's pretty mean spirited of you, Dan! :-(

Tim, all three are about as low as you can get. He is scum for more than one reason (see below), she is out to make a buck on the taudry lifr Mc Greevy lived while, and Oprah is the enabler--shaking her head and going, "tsk, tsk, tsk," while shouting out to her friends (the audience), "Hey! Y'all gotta come over and see this shit! It's really bad!"

I really think that this whole thing makes the afternoon soap operas look good.

Did the topic of McGreevy's poor political performance ever come up in the discussion with either of two (he and his ex-wife)? The appointment of his noncitizen gay boyfriend to the Homland Security post was what really forced him out of office. The rest is smoke and mirrors.

Meade said...

Tim: Either Oprah or Oprah's fans.

[McGreevey] wrote that he married [her] to help him advance his political career.

Creep one.

"I smiled because I didn't want to break down," she said. "He told me, 'You have to be Jackie Kennedy today.' And I'm thinking, Jackie Kennedy? Her husband was murdered. You cheated on me and I have to be Jackie Kennedy?"

Smiled because she didn't want to break down after supposedly only just then learning her spouse had cheated on her. She then agreed to play a role.

Creep two.

How about custody for neither? Can there be custody for neither?

Eli Blake said...

To be honest, she probably wanted to suggest that her ex-husband (and maybe Oprah) take a ride with Gov. Corzine.

Only she couldn't say that. But that's probably what she wanted to say.

tjl said...

"Can there be custody for neither?"

Since both parents have already given up any pretense to dignity, why not award custody by vote of Oprah's audience, just like American Idol?

Methadras said...

I saw this show and I have to tell you the level of animosity that was being displayed by Oprah. Not with how she was saying it or what she said, but her body language was speaking volumes to me at least and I'm a big watcher of body language and have studied it for a long time. I do have to say that Oprah was clearly on the side of Gov. McGreevey as a method of exploitation to further promote that homosexuality is a condition of nature and that the ex-Gov. simply used his marriage to her as a way to promote himself politically, which worked, but furthermore to shield his homosexuality from the public eye and allow him to exercise the sexual nature of it behind that shield. Who would have thought that McGreevy was a homosexual in any way shape or form until an a man came out and said that he had a relationship with him. No one suspected.

All the while Oprah tries to strike at Dina as someone who restrained his homosexuality because of political reasons, which did two things. The first is highlight that if you are a homosexual man, that you have to hide it by marrying a woman in order to attain power. Secondly, it totally disproves the notion of homosexual marriage, since homosexual can marry whoever they want, especially in the case of McGreevy being married twice before and sired two children as well. And thirdly, Oprah depricates any woman who unknowingly marries a homosexual man and then finds out either as Dina did or through some other means that they are now the enablers because society demanded that, in the case of McGreevy, he hides his sexual orientation for the sake of all people concerned, which in this current era of homosexual openness is anathema to the homosexual lifestyle.

The last barb that Oprah tried to get on her from quoting her ex-spouse was met with the appropriate and powerful piece of body language. The eyeroll, for being able to completely diffuse and repudiate both Oprah and her ex's interrogations.

Jenny D. said...

I want to know what happened the FIRST Mrs. McGreevey...

Harkonnendog said...

Kind of want to watch this now. Odd that Oprah would perceive the deceitful cheating husband as a victim. I mean he discovered he was gay at some point. He should have told his wife. He should have told his constituents, for that matter.

downtownlad said...

I think the whole situation is amusing. Society pretty much demands that gay people pretend to be straight and then pressures them into getting married.

So when innocent women like this end up suffering - I think it's actually kind of funny. I enjoy seeing the lives of heterosexuals destroyed, because of their homophobia.

ricpic said...

Oprah dasn't side with a straight against a gay. Oprah, even Oprah, dasn't nettle Pink Power.
Pink Power Rules! And no one dare question its sway.

Harkonnendog said...

You know I change my mind. I think Downtownlad is right.

Society is evil and anyone who is not gay is a perpetrator of this evil... so claiming somebody is a victim if they aren't gay... pshaw.

Let's hope his heterosexual children kill themselves over this!

Revenant said...

So when innocent women like this end up suffering - I think it's actually kind of funny. I enjoy seeing the lives of heterosexuals destroyed, because of their homophobia.

You're just action-packed with unresolved emotional problems, aren't you?

Bruce Hayden said...

I do think that many/most women can tell when a guy is strictly homosexual, or even mostly. I have had several relate stories about previous boyfriends and the symptoms. In retrospect, it usually looks pretty obvious.

But here, if the former Mrs. McGreevey is telling the truth, her husband did his maritial duties, etc. without all the reluctance that those other women experienced with gay boyfriends.

So, my guess is that she is right, that her former husband is truly bisexual, with probably a leaning towards the homosexual. In other words, a man who can enjoy sex with either sex, but prefers it with his own sex. This may be rare, but I have met men like that before.

Palladian said...

Don't respond to "downtownlad" people. You should have learned that fundamental lesson by now. He uses your indignant responses to his disgusting comments as jerk-off material.

downtownlad said...

I'm allowed to have my opinion Palladian.

Sorry, but this is funny. Any woman who doesn't know that her husband is gay deserves to be mocked.

George said...

The only thing in America that's more sacred than Oprah is flouride.

She's a low-life carny barker who happens to be a billionaire.

I'm so looking forward to her show in which she grants the dying wishes of those with terminal illnesses. (She's been trolling for such poor souls on her website.)

Meade said...

downtownlad said...
...I enjoy seeing the lives of heterosexuals destroyed, because of their homophobia.

What makes you think their 5-year-old daughter, Jacqueline is heterosexual?

downtownlad said...

When women used to hit on me, I used to instantly back off, because I didn't want to mislead them.

Now I exploit the situation for a laugh. I think it's quite funny to lead a girl on all night, enjoy her conversation, and then simply walk away when I'm bored.

I used to think that would be immoral, but hey - since the Republicans are urging me to do that - I encourage all gay people to do the same. My friends say I'm awful, but it is just too funny sometimes.

My way of getting revenge on straight America.

The partisan moderate said...

Jim McGreevey induced Dina Matos McGreevey into a sham marriage. He admits to marrying her for political reasons. I think people should go easy on her.

How would people like it if their spouse repeatedly cheated on them and put them in the embarrasing position of defending it. Wrote a tell-all book that spun the truth. Would Oprah be singing the same tune if McGreevey was straight and had done this? I think not.

downtownlad said...

Partisan Moderate - A straight person has no excuse.

Straight society applies tremendous pressure on gay people to get married. Sorry - but straight society deserves to be mocked when that pressure bounces back in their face.

Sorry - but society is not really giving McGreevey any options here. If he wants to get married, he has to marry a woman, even if he has zero attraction to her.

reader_iam said...

What makes you think their 5-year-old daughter, Jacqueline is heterosexual?

Or a future Republican?

Or, given societal trends in terms of age cohorts and attitudes toward gay people, that she is likely to be anti-gay (or, for that matter, she is unlikely to be gay-suppportive)?

reader_iam said...

I'm waiting for someone to comment on the irony of that quote, that post title: the double way it can be read.

Could just be me, though.

PWS said...

I think it is tremendously difficult and hazardous to make accurate judgments about what is happening in the intimate space between two people who have been in a long-term relationship.

Just as the entirety of our own lives ultimately makes sense only to us because only we have been there for the whole thing, as outside observers, we cannot know even one fraction of 1% of the catalog of the millions of interactions these two people have had.

It is impossible to know all of the influences, dynamics, emotions, feelings, thoughts and actions that have gone on. THEY may not even know; there are all kinds of thoughts running in our minds that don't fully make it to our consciousness, etc.

Even the most seemingly basic things are suspect. For example, one commenter said the Governor should have been honest. This seems reasonable on its face. But maybe he didn't want to hurt her. Maybe he was scared and it prevented him from telling her. Those are two reasons I thought of in 10 seconds that many of us, if we consider ourselves in his position, might say, "Yeah, I can see that."

In any case, you get the point. To make statements about Oprah and these people is unappealing to me because we really just don't know and therefore any firm judgments are based on the flimsiest of facts, and seem sort of pointless.

reader_iam said...

the flimsiest of facts,

You make a number of good points, but it's an unflimsy fact that Oprah hosted each of these people on her show.

Choosing guests is a quite deliberate thing, in general, but especially on high-profile shows, and most particularly on Oprah Winfrey's.

What, you don't think so?

(I'm not a knee-jerk anti- or pro-Winfrey person. You can Google it, if you care enough to verify. I don't.)

PWS said...

That's true, Reader_iam. I'm not sure what to say to that. I am mostly responding to the speculation about what might have happened between these two.

I'm not defending or criticizing Oprah so much. She's doing her thing, whatever you think of it; she makes money by having guests. The guests get publicity.

I guess the way it links in is because given what I said, Oprah taking a side is based on the same speculation I cited above so whether she's for Dina or not, I don't really put a lot of credence in Oprah's opinion.

reader_iam said...

Speaking of Oprah (and freakin' weird coincidence, thankyouVERYmuch):

Just walked back into that veryselfsame kitchen, to see that Oprah is on Larry King (re-broadcast), and caught a snippet out of context. (And had to leave pretty quickly, 'cause, well...because of what my actual life entails.)

They were discussing the Rutgers women/Imus situation.

1.) So notable to me that Oprah first--and she specifically used the word "saddened"--noted, gain first, the gender-related implications of Imus' words. (Damn! Me too! Wish I hadn't taken down a blog post I did about that!) Only second, though quickly (which is not to say it wasn't sincere: I'm sure it was; that's not the point), did she address the racial aspect.

Interesting, that.

2) She addressed the issue of Imus' words and their impact on the women in terms of being victims (victimized) and the idea of permanent damange.

I want to emphasize, in no way should anyone think I'm "quoting" in either 1) or 2). I'm not, nor am I pretending to do so.

I (unusual for me) wish I'd seen that whole Larry King show. I (not unusual for me) want to see the transcript. Another caveat on my part.

That said: I suspect that, as a real-life women living in the real world, and for a fair amount of time, that Winfrey and Althouse share at least some views about the most useful (if not the best, but at least as likely the best) way for young women to deal with certain circumstance.

*****

LOL at myself. A whole lot of riff outta just a couple of minutes of caught dialogue.

Well, take it for what's it worth, in context. I begrudge that of no one.

MrBuddwing said...

downtown lad said:

"When women used to hit on me, I used to instantly back off, because I didn't want to mislead them.

"Now I exploit the situation for a laugh. I think it's quite funny to lead a girl on all night, enjoy her conversation, and then simply walk away when I'm bored.

"I used to think that would be immoral, but hey - since the Republicans are urging me to do that - I encourage all gay people to do the same."

Me:

A misogynistic gay man who lets Republicans tell him what to do? I don't know whether to alert Andrew Sullivan or Neil LaBute ...

Of course, downtownlad could be a "moby" - pretending he's gay and pro-Republican. (Please, no jokes about "moby dick.")

tjl said...

"So when innocent women like this end up suffering - I think it's actually kind of funny. I enjoy seeing the lives of heterosexuals destroyed, because of their homophobia"

Thanks, DTL, for providing an answer to the perennial question, "Why do they hate us?"

jodytres said...

"I think it is tremendously difficult and hazardous to make accurate judgments about what is happening in the intimate space between two people who have been in a long-term relationship."

I rather applaud this bland-ish comment from PWS!

The problem with Dina on Oprah is that she won't quite fit the vacant 'someone has to look stupid' slot on the show. McGreevey had already refused this slot by being sly. And Dina is, I think, not stupid.

Therefore it is a complex mystery why she didn't know.

(However my own stupidity is not in question. I still persist in 'reading' reader_iam as a charmingly bookish gent even knowing her gender!)

John Kindley said...

"For example, one commenter said the Governor should have been honest. This seems reasonable on its face. But maybe he didn't want to hurt her. Maybe he was scared and it prevented him from telling her."

Well, of course this would comprise the self-justification of most straight husbands or wives who have cheated or are cheating on their spouse. Doesn't make the betrayal any less deplorable.

On the other hand, makes sense that Dina would think of and call Hillary first (and that Dina would smile during her "husband"'s coming out ceremony), if you assume that both had been pretty much aware of what their husbands were up to and had accepted (either before or after the marriage) the situation / arrangement because they wanted to live in the Governor's Mansion / White House.

TMink said...

DTL, you do a disservice to gay people everywhere. Your glee in other people's pain is sick, even your friends have told you so, but you perpetrate other people still.

This is not injury by Republicans, this is you acting in an cruel and unprincipled fashion. You should be ashamed, if you are capable of that emotion.

How many readers who do not know gay people will think they are all like you? Is 6 enough, is 12 too many? Write more vitriol, be proud of being a sadistic perpetrator, but this has nothing to do with your being gay. It is about acting like a poor excuse for a human being.

Shape up. The gay men I know do not deserve you to call yourself by that name.

Trey

SteveR said...

That Oprah has become a billionaire and sits as judge ("not me!") over all matters political, moral, scientific, cultural and personal just by virtue of personality says a lot about the lack of depth in American thought. It does not surprise me one bit that she would side with the man in this situation.

Jeff said...

I think Downtownlad is performing an important service for everyone. Gay people, like straight people are individuals. There are gay people who, like downtownlad, are assholes, yet not every gay person is an asshole. Just like straight people, republicans, democrats etc. You shouldn't dislike downtownlad because he's gay, but rather because he is an asshole.

TMink said...

Back on topic, she was deceived and betrayed. I am not talking about before he figured out he was gay, if there was a before. You cannot reveal what you do not know about yourself, and some gay folks don't figure it out at first. When that happens, it is a tragedy, but not betrayal or fraud.

Having sex behind your wife's back is betrayal and fraud. Orientation does not enter into it. If Oprah is taking the perpetrator's side she should also accept all the jerks who cheat on their spouse and then excuse it by saying "She (or he) just didn't understand me."

Rubbish. This is not about him being gay, it is about him committing a fraud on his wife and the mother of his children.

He should pay through the nose.

Trey

carly said...

What's most noteworthy--and awful--about Jim McGreevey is that he's a liar and a manipulator who put his own needs/wants above those of all others; this includes his family and the constituents he was elected to represent. That he's gay is only incidental to this. In the insane, inside out world of political correctness, however, his sexual orientation gives him the "victim" status that may insulate him from the consequences that would accrue to a heterosexual who engaged in the same nasty, self-serving actions.

I hope he loses custody of his children and has to pay mega bucks to his ex-wife.

J. said...

McGreevey is brilliant.

Took the landmine of patronage and turned it into the fertilizer of gay rights and parenting.

He'd of come out as black if he could have.

Then he's first onto Oprah, and his humiliated wife is left to fend off charges she was in on it or was a naive dupe.

Yeah, the guy is good.

Christy said...

Just today I was feeling out a friend of mine to find out if she realized her husband of nearly 3 decades is gay. She doesn't. I knew the minute I met him. It should come as no surprise that we can wear blinders when we love. My pal also has a gay "boyfriend" so watching the dynamics in that grouping play out is endlessly fascinating.

Am I bad because I don't share my suspicions with my friend? I figure it is none of my business, but I see that Dina complains that no one ever told her.

mcg said...

Actually, something has changed about downtownlad since he first started posting on this blog. He actually was less militant (in a BlogActive sort of way) than he is now. He actually seemed willing to at least entertain the idea that there were straights, Republicans, and/or Christians who didn't want to burn him at the stake.

What's changed since then? I'm thinking that a boyfriend left him to go back to his Bush-loving Pentecostal wife or something like that. Whatever the reason, the descent into deeper hatred has been noticed.

mcg said...

As for Jim we need not worry. He's trying to become a priest you know.

Fen said...

Jeff: I think Downtownlad is performing an important service for everyone. Gay people, like straight people are individuals. There are gay people who, like downtownlad, are assholes, yet not every gay person is an asshole.

I'm betting he's a bottom, a queen. My experience has been that gay male bottoms combine the worst traits of male & female: agressive and petty. Every one that I've run across has been untrustworthy [theiving is rampant, by some odd coincidence] and dishonorable.

Maybe someone in the gay community can explain. Because the "non-queens" that I know are completely opposite from dtl - considerate, openminded, honorable, good role models [like Doug on Bravo's "Workout"].

TMink said...

Fen, we disagree. I do not notice the pattern you do, and do not think that dtl's acting out has anything to do with who he loves.

I don't remember you writing much about sexuality, bad memory on my part! But parts of your last post read as homophobic to me.

Please understand I am not trying to start a fuss, or insult you. We think alike in a lot of ways. And the post is not hateful, I think it may be that it is difficult to comment on the subject in a way that looks non-judgmental. But that one came across to me as a bit bigoted in place.

Again, I hope I have raised this issue in a respectful way, as I am hoping to discuss, not to condemn or embarass. But I felt it would be right for me to bring it up.

Trey

tjl said...

"My experience has been that gay male bottoms combine the worst traits of male & female"

And how reliable would your conclusions be, Fen, based as they are on a statistical sample composed of those who liked to discuss their preferred sex acts in public.

Based on ample experience of, shall we say, a more first-hand nature, it's clear that moral character among gay people is distributed in the same way as it is among heteros, i.e., with no linkage to being either a pitcher or a catcher.

TMink said...

TJL, outstanding post. Made me laugh, and I could not say what I wanted to so well and succinctly.

Well, I was more worried about being mean the you, but yours is still a damn fine post.

Trey

Fen said...

And how reliable would your conclusions be, Fen, based as they are on a statistical sample -

Like I said, my observations are based on my own experience and are hardly scientific. Just wondering if anyone else has noticed that pattern.

But parts of your last post read as homophobic to me.

Really? I tried to distingiush between dtl "queen" types, and more positive gal role models I've seen [like Doug on "Workout"].

Fen said...

"positive gay role models"

no-blogger said...

But hey, everyone must know that the big O's hubby is flamingly GAY !