Just when you thought the only thing left to come of the Congressman Massa resignation (the one that brought us reports of snorkeling, groping, tickling, a cancer scare, and the image of Rahm Emanuel lobbying while naked) was the resolution of some sexual harassment lawsuits, this week brings a lengthy piece on the scandal from Ryan D’Agostino, an editor at Esquire.
More precisely, it’s a story about Massa’s life just after his ignominious departure from elected office, when he and his wife lived under de facto house arrest for fear of facing reporters who might be waiting outside their door. Think homemade pizza, wood fires, red wine, and a lot of scenes of Mass looking dejectedly around the house. (There’s also an odd and previously unreported pre-resignation interlude describing a meeting where Massa slips into Esquire’s Manhattan offices to allege that Dick Cheney and David Petraeus have been meeting to plot the later’s 2012 presidential run, something the then congressman characterized as a potential “American coup d’état.”)
D’Agostino has impressive access—he got to know Massa profiling him during his unsuccessful 2006 congressional campaign, and when this winter’s meltdown came, was welcomed back to embed with the Massas and put up in a guest room above their detached garage.
One night, D’Agostino retreated to his room and left the understandability depressed Massas to themselves. Then, he was called back over.
Back at the house, impossibly, the mood has lifted. Massa and his wife stand in the kitchen, grinning.
“Well, we just had a very interesting conversation, and it was about of all things you,” he says. The lawyers, he says, told him that his story could become a book that could very well be turned into a movie, and that the first step in that direction was to have a big magazine story come out. Have the writer tell your story, the lawyers had told Beverly and Eric.
“I mean, imagine if it won an Oscar,” Massa says. “I don’t know. Who knows?”
I can see how that might be an interesting movie. Pick up right after the resignation, show the friends who refuse to take your calls, the looming financial strain after job loss, the stresses to your marriage—Phillip Seymour Hoffman, maybe?
Alas, Massa doesn’t come off as particularly ruminative or remorseful in D’Agostino’s article. In part that’s because the article doesn’t show the ex-congressman seriously confronting any of the allegations made against him by his staff. (Perhaps Massa wisely ruled all that out of bounds?)
Still, it’s probably nothing a a good script doctor couldn’t fix.Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.