Fans of military and political literature likely know the name Paula Broadwell for her book All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, a biography of the man who until this weekend was the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. Those who knew of Broadwell knew her as an accomplished woman: ridiculously well-educated, worldly, motherly, and outrageously driven. Now, the world knows her as one thing: the sexy younger woman in a scandal. She may as well be the desperate [insert miscellaneous job description here] at the start of a Katherine Heigl rom-com, pining after the unattainable object of her affection. She could be the sexy, alluring journalist, the forlorn woman lusting after a powerful man, or even the irresistible grad student who's a little too hot for teacher (or distinguished General). Unfortunately, even in politics, the broad strokes of pop culture often prevail. The problem is that while pop culture gives us a few buckets in which to dump Broadwell, in reality, she’s nothing like those women and perhaps that's why she's become so interesting to us.
Once considered someone so accomplished that her résumé practically needs to be presented as novella, Broadwell is now known as little more than a lovesick schoolgirl, enduring the treatment of your average celebrity home-wrecker. Just this morning, The New York Daily News uncovered a photo from Petraeus’ Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on the General’s nomination for the director of the C.I.A., pointing to the smile on Broadwell’s face as Petraeus and his wife, Holly, walk past and characterizing the look as “locked on to her target like a Smart bomb.” Many depictions of the author have focused on her physical beauty, referring to her fashionable wardrobe, toned arms, and her past status as her high school’s Homecoming Queen.
Of course, part of the blame goes to the thing that broke the story in the first place: Broadwell’s emails to the Florida woman who brought the emails to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s attention. According to The New York Post, the emails included such high school girl fight hits as “back off” and “stay away from my guy,” rendering Broadwell a character not unlike Erika Christensen in Swimfan with a touch of Bridget Jones desperation. In the wake of the scandal, encounters between Broadwell and Petraeus have been described as “disconcerting” or “inappropriate.” One aide noted that Broadwell seemed to have special candor with the General. “Those who worked for him never tried to leverage our relationship with him. It seemed to a lot of us that she didn’t have that filter,” the aide told The Washington Post.
The result is a depiction that is expectedly unflattering, even if it is incomplete. She is, after all, a married woman who had an affair with a U.S. official. But in just a few short days, Broadwell lost her reputation as the woman who had it all, as Inspired Woman Magazine touted in February 2012: “Finding a balance between her professional and personal life is something Broadwell seems to excel at, just like everything else she attempts.” She has multiple degrees hailing from Westpoint, Harvard’s JFK School of Government, and the University of Denver’s school of International Studies, in addition to being a research associate at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership and a doctoral candidate. The proceeds from her book on Petraeus, titled All In, were donated to a cause she's worked tirelessly to support: benefits for injured veterans of the war in Afghanistan. Even as she endures a scandal, she's still showing her proclivity for charity, giving her chance to participate in a charity parachute jump to veteran David Bixler, who lost both his legs in Afghanistan. But now, she’s “the other woman.” And unfortunately, the picture most of us have seen of the “other woman” is one that reeks of desperation, loneliness, and pining, while her partner in crime is merely "disgraced."
Yes, Petraeus is enduring his fair share of shame – losing his post as the head of the C.I.A. isn’t exactly a slap on the wrist – but he’s not the one who was caught sending juvenile emails. The former C.I.A. director has been displayed as regretful and one who hangs his head in shame while Broadwell’s persona is that of a swooning teenager, mooning over her idol.
But, despite the boxes our pop culture experience provides for women in Broadwell’s situation, she truly doesn’t conform. In reality, she’s 40 years old. She’s in the thick of her career. She’s got two grown children. She’s not exactly a desperate singleton racing after an impressive public figure. She’s pretty extraordinary herself. Unfortunately for the author and accomplished scholar, there’s no pop culture box for the kind of woman she’s become in the wake of this scandal and that makes her all the more fascinating, which means her days as the focus of our ardent attention are far from over.
Of course, now that we’ve established that she’s not some wine-guzzling sad singleton chasing a married man, like the character even Homeland’s genius Carrie Matheson is sometimes reduced to, what we’re faced with is a much harsher reality. Someone who had it as good as Broadwell did can still find herself in a compromising situation. It brings the issue a little closer to home when the comforting and often comical illustrations of the other woman are rendered pretty useless. Suddenly, those broad pop culture strokes are feeling a little less like a disservice and more like a security blanket.
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[Photo Credit: The Charlotte Observer/AP Photo]
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Hollywood.com users have spoken and the response is overwhelmingly clear:
The World Trade Center, a symbol of America's strength and power, should be remember and revered. Hollywood should keep all the images of the Twin Towers intact in films and television programs.
From our poll, 77.8% of our users voted against removing images of the WTC and 22.2% voted they would rather not be reminded.
Many of you also let us know your thoughts and feelings on the matter. Here's what some of you have said:
I don't understand it. We have finally been told that we are not immune to the tragedy that is happening in other countries already. We have been given a wake-up call. And what do we want to do? Push the snooze button? Go back to sleep?
I understand that some situations are hard for those who have lost loved ones in the tragedy. I'm not immune to it. I'm glad my mother and father no longer work at the Pentagon. I'm grateful that my fiance is safe and still in my arms. I've read the heartfelt articles in the Washington Post about loved ones waiting for the arrival of their family member(s), refusing to believe that they are dead. I've cried and I'm unable to read these stories anymore without bringing back those tears. But it is something I refuse to let go, something I refuse to forget in any way.
By removing these instances from the movies, we are giving in to our fears and hiding from them. We are attempting to forget something that should never be forgotten. We should be strong in our understanding and dealing with what has happened. We should be proud to see these images in movies, knowing that even through the tragedy, we are able to carry on as normal. Terrorism is described as an act of intimidation or coercion and we are caving in more and more when we chose to forget what was and what is.
"We have woken a sleeping giant and he has rolled back over and gone to sleep."
After being completely saturated with the coverage of the crisis, the evening after the attacks my husband and I decided to watch a movie on cable to get our minds off of things. The movie we chose was Bait, which had at least a dozen shots of the WTC. One shot was particularly eerie, in that is zoomed in on the upper floors of the tower. It was upsetting and sad, and will continue to be for some time to come. I am glad to see Hollywood taking a responsible position during this time of tragedy.
First off, let me say how saddened I am by the terrorist attacks on American soil. With that said, I believe the industry can go too far in trying to be "politically correct" or "sensitive" about the future uses of the images of the WTC in films and on book covers, or video game covers. In a way, the images of the WTC in the Spider-Man movie, for example, might even be looked at by some as a remembrance or tribute to New York's past great skyline. In the movie trailer, the buildings were not being blown up or set on fire, so I don't see the harm in allowing people to view the majestic skyline, as it once stood for peace and prosperity in our city (I live in New York). As it pertains to terrorist movies, then yes, I agree with holding them back for a while to let the Americans heal a bit from this blow to our way of life, but we must remember the way this great city used to look (and will look again), so I do not see the harm in images depicting the WTC or surrounding areas... We must remember the WTC and never forget what the terrorists took away from us.
The World Trade Center towers were a remarkable piece of engineering knowledge and to remove them from all future endeavors would be a shame. Yes it will bring sadness and most likely emotions of hatred but they are a part of history that should be used to create possibly bigger and better icons for America's future. Anyone who has a piece of this past, should treasure it.
-- Margie Scammaca
Give it two to three months. After that, movies with or without the Twin Towers and about terrorism should be showing on theaters and television just as planned.
At this time America is sensitive to the attacks here in America, but pulling movies out (even banning many songs on radio) is too much. Come on! This is ridiculous! Movies are for entertainment and even movies with terrorism doesn't show terrorists in a good light. A movie like Independence Day shows hostile attacks from aliens, but it showed that people of all races united to fight the enemy and prevailed. This is more of a feel-good movie than a depressing one. Most movies with terrorism always show where THE BAD GUY ALWAYS LOSES.
I think it's okay if they want to remove the image of the WTC towers from any future movies or TV shows, but if the show or movie was filmed and made before the terrorist attack, then they shouldn't have to remove the towers.
If a movie that has already been made and has not been released yet, then yes pull it, because it would
make no sense to show a movie that features two buildings that are not even there. However, do not
take away good movies like Independence Day due to the incident.
What happened to the WTC is very tragic and my heart goes out to all the families of the victims, fire- fighters and policemen, but in order for everyone to start trying to heal, we need to face what happened head on and not wait a year to do it. Hiding the images of the WTC is impossible because people want pictures and are buying them, the news is showing them when they were first built. I think it's great that plans to build them bigger and better have already started. No one ever heals if the situation is hidden or put on the back burner and not dealt with. People need to realize this is only the beginning of this war and it will probably last for a very long time. If Hollywood isn't going to show what we already know, the media, newspapers and reporters will.
I don't think they should show the World Trade Center, especially if it has to do with violence. I live in the city and saw them destroyed in front of my eyes.
Hollywood is always first in line to capitalize on emotional issues. It would be a low blow to all Americans, if we are constantly reminded of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, because Hollywood wanted to make a buck. Not to mention what impact a major motion picture, with the WTC, could have on a "stars" career. Maybe in fifteen or twenty years from now, a producer could make a movie that might explain the evil committed to our great nation. But, for now, let our nation heal and find the low-life scum bag that derived such a painful act of cowardice.
No! Most definitely not...I find the absence of the WTC far more offensive than its presence. Over the years since its construction, the WTC towers stood out like a beacon of light over the city of New York, symbolic of mankind's resourcefulness and spirit.
When bereaved, we don't pretend our loved ones never existed.. we don't throw out their possessions and burn their photographs... NO! we want to remember them, we NEED to remember them and the joy they brought to our lives.
Why then should we seek to obliterate this majestic building from our memory as though we are ashamed that it ever existed... WE have nothing to be ashamed of, and I for one hope that they rebuild the towers of the WTC, BIGGER and BETTER than before, as a lasting memorial to the people who lost their lives there.
Hello, I run a movie theatre in Indiana, so I have had to deal with the delays of movies and the removal of media items to promote certain movies. It is my understanding that the government would like for us to try to get things back to normal. How can this be accomplished when people are going out of their way to try and cover up reminders of the buildings which were involved? You cannot retrieve movies or shows or pictures that the public may have already in their homes. The absent buildings themselves are a clear reminder of what happened and will continue to be throughout history. With this being said why should Hollywood or anyone else lose money by trying to cover up what has happened. We will never forget September 11, 2001; and we never should. Thank you for the time in reading this email to express my feelings on this subject.
--David L. Stoup
I believe if we remove all reference to the WTC from movies, games, pictures, etc... they've won. I agree that movies due to be released such as Collateral Damage should be put on hold, at least long enough to allow the families to grieve, and the United States to let this pass as a whole. But making any major changes in the way we live (besides maybe some better security at these airports) and they've accomplished their goal. I hope that the lessee of the WTC property does indeed rebuild the WTC's. Even taller this time. Anything else would add to the tragedy that already passed. Putting a memorial on the first floor to remind everyone of what happened is a must. We need to keep this country in our prayers, as well as back our President, George W. Bush, with all the support we can muster. God Bless America.