Sunday, June 12, 2011


We’ve been following the transgressions, then the lying and ultimate sometimes emotional confession of New York Representative Anthony Weiner (D) who now occupies that not so lofty plateau that puts him at the height of arrogance and stupidity all at the same time. What in God’s name was he thinking? I’ve followed a lot of Weiner Threads to include some of the most recent constituent popularity polls and the question posed to New York Voters – Should Weiner resign? More later…

I wondered how Weiner Friend and political satirist extraordinaire Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central would handle this. Well, Jon dug in, addressed the issue at the expense of his Friendship, entertaining us all in the process. Jon Stewart’s coverage of “Wangover” was creative by being excruciatingly honest with one especially poignant moment being the revelation that Weiner had apologized to Bill Clinton for his actions? Apologies for what - with Stewart offering that it had to be for, “copyright infringement.” Already a big fan, I now have an increased respect for Stewart…

Last Friday I ran across Jacquielynn Floyd’s column in the Dallas Morning News and was gobsmacked by her continuing extraordinary ability to reduce any issue to its basic components and then cut to the chase. Her most recent comments on Weiner say it all for me. If you aren’t from around here and don’t get the Dallas Morning News you can do no better than follow her columns at Floyd comes by her award winning reputation honestly having managed an obit desk and, of course, her work with the now defunct but oft remembered Dallas Times Herald – my Father’s employer for thirty years. Her post Sexting won’t make you sexy – or even hip follows.

“Goggle-eyed as we are over the titillating indiscretions committed by New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, I’m not sure we’re asking the right question.

The talks and the blogs and even we in the stuffy old mainstream media are frantic with speculation: Should he resign? Did he tweet from the office? Will the wife dump him?

They’re missing the larger point, which is: What compels a grown-up, mentally competent man to behave like he’s living in a Porky’s movie? Why does an adult person of power and influence not only commit tasteless misdeeds, but commit them in a manner so palpably, humiliatingly juvenile?

Here’s some important breaking news: Grainy photographs of your own crotch, in its gray-washed underpants, with homey photos of the wife and the pets visible in the background are not sexy.

They do not make women — not twenty-something college students a generation younger than you, not battle worn blackjack dealers who have heard every pickup line in the galaxy, not lonesome hard-luck gals stuck in some distant Texas scrub town — swoon and pant breathlessly that they need to loosen their bodices.

Crude propositions from Internet strangers do not represent the apex of their romantic aspirations. That’s one reason they’ll betray your ostensibly private communications for a paycheck or a few minutes on TV.

Here’s another valuable tip: Despite our bulletproof faith that Internet-based social media are hard-currency proof of edgy hipness and cultural sophistication, Twitter and Facebook are not inherently cooler than nickel postcards and rotary phones. When you reduce the most complex of human ideas and emotions to the guttural text argot of “U R hot,” you sound like an imbecile, regardless of the medium. LOL, fool.

From a purely technical standpoint, it’s a by-the-book sexual-infidelity-by-a-politician scandal. There’s the Lie and Bluster phase, the haughty effort to Rise Above It, the Tearful Public Apology, the angry debate over whether They’re Piling On Because He’s A Republican/Democrat, the Lucrative Rehabilitation as a Cable News Commentator. Later, when the story finally starts to lose its legs, we’ll all draft another round of windy rhetorical think pieces about Powerful People Who Risk It All.

Rep. Weiner’s surname adds effortless fuel to the fire, even for those stodgy outlets that don’t purposely take cheap shots (from the CBS News website: “Video: Weiner probed by House members”).

But what really sets this guy apart from the routine sex-scandal pack is the creepy childishness of it all. The Twitterfied effort to sound racy and flirtatious — the clinical discussion of specific sex acts, the narcissistic fascination with his own man tool — comes across as repulsive and kind of sad in a person of his age and prominence. For all their salacious interest and inexhaustible Weiner puns, the New York and Washington-centric media types fueling this barn fire keep treating him like he’s still a youthful, Clinton-era wunderkind, instead of a seven-term congressman in his middle 40s.

I don’t care whether the guy resigns or not. That’s up to his constituents, or perhaps his conspicuously unsupportive colleagues in the House.

But here’s a final scrap of unsolicited advice: “Sexting” is for dimwitted, attention-starved teenagers. Grow up.”

Well done, Jacquielynn Floyd.

So, what’s the fallout and what kind of support is Weiner getting from his constituents in the 9th Congressional district? On June 9, the very credible NY1 (Time Warner Cable's 24-hour news channel in New York City) and The Marist Institute for Public Opinion (MIPO) reflected that 56% of registered voters in Weiner's Congressional District wanted him to stay in Congress while 33% thought he should resign. While this is a slim margin, major races have been won with lesser majorities. Weiner may be safe for now, but at what cost? He is now apparently on a voluntary leave of absence and has been removed from all House Committees. Up to this point he has been a very vocal critic of the Republican Party and their agenda. So, now, how can anybody take him seriously as a respected voice for the loyal opposition?

It would appear that the folks in the 9th Congressional District are getting exactly what they are paying for. Comments of supportive constituents like, “As long as he is doing his job” indicate to us that respect, honesty and integrity apparently are not part of that job description in the 9th Congressional district. Whether Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green or any other party – these behaviors should not be tolerated. Should a House Ethics Committee inquiry be far behind?

More fallout: CBS News has reported a 30% drop in Tweets from Congressional Democrats (18% from Republicans) immediately following the Weiner debacle. Best we just keep some thoughts and questions to ourselves and think twice before we hit that send button.


Ned Buxton

PS: The great wiener cartoon in this post was used with permission of Jerry Fuchs of Jerry is a very talented Georgia-based artist who creates cartoons, illustrations, and animations for local, national, and international clients. He would also appear to have a great sense of humor…. We encourage your collaboration with Jerry. Aye, NB

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