THIS is why I don’t follow pop culture. You hide yourself away, you don’t listen to the radio or watch TV, and pretty soon you start getting optimistic. The world seems full of possibilities. So you come out of your cave for just one day, and then somebody shows you a clip of The View, with guest Rielle Hunter, John Edwards’ mistress or ex-mistress or whatever she is, and you’re reminded why you gave it all up in the first place. Even a few moments of The View is enough to send anyone scrambling for the nearest cave, but this isn’t about The View‘s awful hosts. This is about The View‘s terrible guest.
I’m familiar with the former senator, so knew of Rielle Hunter as one of the nasty women that flock to rich, powerful men. Typically, these women are called Desperate Harlots, but this doesn’t describe Ms. Hunter.
She’s way down the food chain, hovering near the Rock of Love contestants. If you’re content to be the woman on the side, perhaps you could pick somebody a little less selfish? There are men who will cheat, and then there’s John Edwards, who cheated on his dying wife and denied being the father of his infant child. Despite the complete absence of respectability on Edwards’ part, you get the feeling he’s still getting the raw end of the deal with Rielle Hunter.
It may be the least of her transgressions, but does anyone else find it unbelievably irritating that she calls him “Johnny”? Does she think that’s cute? Of course there are lots of men named Johnny in the world, but you know just by looking at him that he’s a John. (See what I did there?)
Rielle Hunter spends lots of time trashing the deceased Elizabeth Edwards, whom she refers to gently as a “witch-on-wheels”. You could say Elizabeth Edwards’ anger at her husband’s philandering and shame at the intense media scrutiny was understandable. But it would probably be lost on Rielle, who says smugly that she’s “proud she helped destroy the myth of John and Elizabeth Edwards.”
What does that even mean? Like someone built up a fantasy world around the Edwards’ marriage? Is there somebody out there whose personal identity is enmeshed with the idea of John and Elizabeth Edwards as a power couple? Who are these pitiable humans? And who does Rielle Hunter think she is, snatching away the one bright spot in their existence?
Incidentally, in a later interview our wronged heroine indicated she had forgiven Mrs. Edwards for being so unsupportive of her husband’s affair. “Elizabeth is the mother to my daughter’s siblings,” she told 20/20. “She is, indirectly, now my family. My desire is to tell the truth to help people understand instead of judge.”
Uh-oh. When someone announces they have a responsibility “to tell the truth”, people prepare to hear stories of shocking human rights abuses. Rielle’s mission is slightly different, though no less important. Her responsibility is to relay the lurid details of her sleazy affair with Edwards in a book she “owes to Johnny and his entire family.”
(Still on the topic of her responsibilities and commitment to justice) Rielle adds: “Our daughter deserves it.”
Mmm, I’m not so sure about this, Rielle. To anyone who is unaware of your selfless motives, it almost seems like you are using the child as a publicity tool. Sure you aren’t just being a media whore now? Or a regular whore?
All in all, Rielle Hunter’s story is an uplifting one because she is proof of the old axiom: what goes around comes around. It’s comforting to believe karma catches up to people and John Edwards didn’t get away with the pain he put his family through. His punishment goes way past the destruction of his career. Hunter is the mother of his child, and will be part of his life until he dies. I’m absolutely certain he would have preferred jail time.