Understanding America’s Reactions to Politicians’ Sex Scandals: Rep. Anthony Weiner
While the media continually underplays the crimes committed by the United States government both in its daily acts of murder against innocents in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq and in its flagrant disregard for the well-being of the people of the United States by ignoring the pain they suffer as a result of inadequate jobs and health care, polluted air and water, homelessness, etc., nothing is ever missed when a political leader does some lewd sexual act. The current media circus around Rep. Weiner is just another way the media focuses on the trivial and ignores the significant crimes and problems of our time. But since this is happening, we present three very different perspectives on the current reality.
This is the first article I want to share:
Everything Said About Anthony Weiner Is Bull
by Michael Bader
There’s only one legitimate reason to be upset with Anthony Weiner, and that’s because his behavior and its discovery has taken away a bold and effective voice in the Democratic party. Everything else you think and feel about him is bullshit.
By bullshit, I mean it has nothing to do with him, and also little to do with broad generalizations made nowadays about the sex and powerful men. The first is too personal and private for anyone to ever know. And the second is so abstract as to be useless in understanding any individual situation. What itdoes have to do with is you and me, with all of us, who are repeatedly enticed to either buy-in to or create fictive stories about sexual scandals that are little more than projections of our own forbidden or feared desires.
Read the full article here.
Another perspective comes from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach:
Did Anthony Weiner Want to Get Caught?
by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
When I wrote a column last week calling Anthony Weiner yet another Broken American Male who needs to feel attractive to women in order to feel whole, one of the outlets that publishes my columns refused to publish without significant changes. “It sounds like you’re making the assumption that he’s lying about being hacked.”
There are good and bad liars and to his credit Anthony Weiner is a terrible liar. One of the worst I have ever seen.
As he gave TV interviews about he had been pranked, and then blamed the Republicans for his troubles, he looked away from the cameras, brought in complete nonsequitors, made infantile jokes about being attacked by his toaster, and said that he won’t go to law enforcement because he doesn’t want to waste their resources. If there is any truth to the widespread theory that men who cheat actually want to get caught, then the stupidity of Anthony Weiner in sending tasteless pictures of his underwear to complete strangers constitutes high proof indeed.
In his confessional press conference Weiner was asked what he was thinking. He responded he honestly did not know.
Read the rest here.
The third article, offered to us by Phil Wolfson, presents another point of view:
Keeping It in Your Pants — Literally and Virtually — The Weiner Fiasco and Others of a Related Ilk
by Phil Wolfson
Look at that torso. A glimpse of that too identifiable chin. Goodness, he is a hulk, for a small guy really buffed, a slim Jewish Schwarzenegger and he can’t show it to anyone lest he get caught and his career snaffued. After all, Obama half naked revealed abs and pecs and that was a steal not a reveal. And Strauss-Kahn, we have only heard not seen. And at 62, younger than me, but well, still old, what was he thinking (or not). And Clinton and Edwards, no revelations there, that is in the buff. And Spitzer, very homely and bald, paid for it – sex that is–not much personal allure for the mass virtual physical groping. The strenuously cultivated and constantly calculated careers damaged and lost for what benefit and from what psychological causes or aberrations. Is it truly possible to believe you can get away with any such subterfuge in the age of global information sharing? You gotta be kidding yourself to expose, or pay, bribe, think an affair is secret and will be kept secret. No doubt the prior California Guv basted his problem children and mothers with dough in exchange for a long silence that allowed him to run for office and stay in. He was known for groping before the first election. And Strauss-Kahn had also been implicated and warned before his current imbroglio. Seems to be in character with these two–and unrestrained. The ex-New York Guv appears to have confined his spending to hookers – many 10s of thousands of dollars spent on fornication. And Edwards apparently jism-ed public money in a stupid attempt to get away with his infidelity, forever reminding us of the ugliness of a betrayal of a wife near death. So many white male politician lawyers – Wiener and Arnold are not – the rest are. Is that a key to the dunce club door?
So, Weiner, it must be hell to work out that much and have no one but wifey to see your incredible success; maybe some guys at the gym, perhaps a few babes if the gym is co-ed. I grew up in Queens but in a different time – we had no gyms to show off in. Poor guy. But that crotch shot in the gray jockeys, what was he thinking? Perhaps it is that much too easily picked on last name – Weiner – that connotes hot dogs etc, or perhaps the much smaller version that would give a complex to any young guy – Vienna Weiner – is he of Austrian background? That might explain it – Aryan Penis Envy.
The bulge was suggestive, not arousing. What was he thinking? Who gets off on that? She was thinking – ‘Wow, a moneymaker. This could sell! Not him in his undershorts. But another Congressional sex scandal-$$$. I made sure it was really him – he even held up a sign–and he put himself in my virtual hands. Got him!’
Anthony was feeling nothing. Virtual doesn’t feel. He didn’t get that he would suffer grievously. He was lost in the cloud.
So, I am a shrink. And about two and a half years ago I got to meet Anthony Weiner in a crowd at the annual convention of Physicians for a National Health Program. I was impressed. He was funny, quick witted, bright, for ‘Medicare for All’ without hesitation – no ‘fumfatting’ as my grandmother would say. He was also impeccably dressed, compulsively so – tie tightly wound at the throat, the long shirt collar elegantly affixed as high on his neck as possible, expensive suit – an elegant man from a mixed racial and not very affluent District-overdressed – I knew his streets. He was ambitious, espoused populist ideas, and was preparing for a second real run for Mayor of New York. Those were passing observations within an overall ‘Like’.
Weiner, Kucinich, Senator Bernie Sanders and a handful of others are, perhaps with Weiner’s scandal, were, the ‘progressives’ of Congress, too few and totally vulnerable. Weiner’s foolishness reduces the small number of progressives. That is the real harm. Shaming his new wife and family is the other harm. Nothing illegal – just really stupid for a personal/sexual/ego/animal benefit that seems trivial and fleeting at most. So, if you are uptight to start, stressed, arrogant from success, a bit above everyone else–riding high on power and position, full of testosteronic maleness, used until recently to a single man’s life, or in getting away with stuff outside the public eye, then entering the realm of delusion is more likely. I call this stuff ‘leakage’.
I have no personal knowledge of Anthony Weiner. I cannot perform a public analysis of his behavior based on direct observation other than his demeanor. He has been married less than a year. He reads the papers and knows that politicians will be out-ted for any personal infractions. But not for bad, socially destructive politics, or lying, breaking campaign promises, or corruption by lobbyists. A part of you knows and another part is lost in the action, the conceit, separated from reality, and on auto-pilot cruising in another realm, a fairy-land of one’s own making. The causes are not simply psychological but a wish for something else, perhaps intimacies with strangers who pretend with you that virtual is something else. Until the strangers’ hold on the nature of opportunity in the material realm wakes them and you up and you crash to earth and hit hard.
On the same day that Weiner fell from his sky, an appeal for campaign finance came from Bernie Sanders. It suggested that he was potentially the Last Man Standing. I had watched him too. He dressed frumpy and was old. I felt less vulnerable to a sex crash and burn. I sent him a check.