Discovering that Santa Claus does not exist may have been traumatic for kids, but adults are not spared from disillusionment with the subject of their hero worship either.
Mahatma Gandhi's unusual practice of sleeping nude next to nubile, naked women - in some cases, his young relatives - to test his restraint is documented in biographer Jad Adams' "Gandhi: Naked Ambition" (Quercus, 2010) . "Abnormal and unnatural" was how the first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, described Gandhi's advice to newlyweds to stay celibate for the sake of their souls.
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King engaged in extramarital affairs, Ralph David Abernathy acknowledged in his 1989 autobiography "And the Walls Came Tumbling Down"(Lawrence Hill Books, 2010). He wrote: "We all understood and believed in the biblical prohibition against sex outside marriage. It was just that he had a particularly difficult time with that temptation." The FBI did put together a tape of the indiscretions caught on camera and accidentally - some said deliberately - sent it to Martin's wife, Coretta.
John F Kennedy's legendary appetite for female companionship has now been updated with a memoir written by then 19-year-old intern cum mistress Mimi Alford, now 69 ("Once Upon a Secret; My Affair with President John F Kennedy and Its Aftermath", Random House Audio, 2012). Putting aside the graphic details about their liaison, some interesting revelations have surfaced. At the height of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, Kennedy confided in his lover he was prepared to blink first: " I'd rather my children were red than dead." Even in bed, he was thinking of his country's future.
But when special prosecutor Kenneth Starr went after Clinton's affair with his intern, his infamous report became viral as a pornographic document on the Internet. He may have claimed that "it is unfortunate, but it is essential", that many details revealed highly personal information, many of which were sexually explicit, the end result is that the villain looked more victimised than his purported victim. In 2004, Starr expressed regret for ever having asked the Department of Justice to assign him to personally oversee the Lewinsky investigation, saying "the most fundamental thing that could have been done differently" would have been for somebody else to have investigated the matter.
Investigative reporters should take note, sometimes a better recourse is: "don't ask, don't tell." All that prying about the bedroom habits of high ranking civil servants and "allegations of serious personal misconduct" is now unearthing an online prostitution ring involving a handful of public servants, some say as many as 80, mostly from the education and uniformed services. Well, they do have lots of money to spend, thanks to the generous compensation packages crafted by the Public Service Division.