For the past week, the mainstream and not-so-mainstream media has been obsessed with Representative Anthony Weiner’s wiener. As everybody now knows, Rep. Weiner sent a photograph of his underpants-clad member to a young woman via Twitter. Apparently, Rep. Weiner has a history of such behavior on social media with consenting adult females.
Weiner is a sleazebag. While disappointing, this news is not revelatory. Infidelity, flirtation, lechery and debauchery are all part of the human behavioral catalogue. By some estimates, as many as half of married men and a third of married women have cheated on their spouses. Prudent extrapolation should conclude that these statistics also apply to our elected “representatives.” Some simply have the misfortune of getting caught.
More distressing is the public and media obsession with the sexual conduct of various members of our government (pun intended). Once upon a time, sexual indiscretion was considered a normal part of the political animal.
Jefferson had sex and illegitimate children with his slave, and just about every other President maintained at least one mistress. Why has the news of political infidelity now become fodder for scandal and blanket condemnation?
While members of both parties seem to be equally capable of depravity, they also seem to enjoy a particular holier-than-thou attitude when the other side gets caught with his or her proverbial pants down, as if it settles the matter that one party is sleazier than the other, once and for all. With all the facts in evidence, I think we can now assume that almost every one of our elected officials is of dubious moral character, regardless of political or closeted sexual orientation. Since this is a settled matter, it would be wonderful if we could just agree that people’s private sex lives are private. I personally would rather rate politicians on the job they do, rather than whom they have consensual sex with.
We are currently weathering the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. We are funding and fighting in three wars. Fanatical ideologies that threaten the very foundation of our democracy are on the rise, and powerful private interests have infiltrated our government at every level. While I am impressed by the appearance and apparent girth of Rep. Weiner’s wiener, I really think our media and minds could find better fodder for contemplation.
As the religious right demands more purity in thought and action (at least the thoughts and actions that are made public)the Schadenfreude felt by those who have temporarily escaped scrutiny seems to grow and perhaps lends to the increasing excitement displayed by politicians, media and the religious public over these events.ReplyDelete
I admit a certain enjoyment when the hypocrisy (Larry Craig, Ted Haggard et al) or hubris (Google Santorum, for instance) is shown for what it is, however, I couldn't agree more that consensual sex should not be an issue.
Perhaps, when we as a country, find our religiosity approaching that of other developed nations (in other words dropping dramatically) we will spend more time on important issues. I saw a bumper sticker recently that seemed to say quite a lot on the subject..."If you won't pray in my school, I won't think in your church."
Right now, all I wish to speak to is this:ReplyDelete
While I am impressed by the appearance and apparent girth of Rep. Weiner’s wiener, I really think our media and minds could find better fodder for contemplation.
That really cracked me up, coming from you, killingMother. I chuckled and chuckled.
killingMother, you and Glennzilla seem to be in complete agreement.ReplyDelete
As am I.
But compare and contrast, not that it seems to matter.ReplyDelete
Peering into bedroom windows, or twitter accounts, and raising a fuss about what you see has certainly got to be easier than doing the work of running a government - and you get patted on the back by the religious wingnuts, as long as you aren't watching a wingnut.ReplyDelete
The whole thing makes me puke. I am disappointed in a bright, aggressive politician who apparently has very bad judgement, and I am disappointed in all of us for watching.
Thanks for the links tsisageya. Glenn says it much better than I do.ReplyDelete
Barbara, very well said.ReplyDelete
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I guess citing god (at least any of the big 3) as the arbiter of any moral behavior is most questionable. I mean this guy (god)in addition to what you cited, 'smites' entire populations for some really interesting reasons. Think about the suffering he caused his 'chosen' people by sending them into the desert for all those years not to mention that later problem in Germany...what was he thinking and more importantly why did those poor folks continue to worship him...I mean how tasty can a steady diet of manna and abuse be?? And then this whole Jesus thing is really bothersome. How any father (especially one who might want you to emulate his behavior) could somehow pick a teenager who had just happened to run off with an older man to magically impregnate with his child, 'the son of god', and then basically abandon that child for 30+ years only to come back and cause him to be captured, tortured, killed, disappeared, reappeared and then disappeared again is beyond me. Isn't god supposed to be omniscient and omnipotent...couldn't he have just forgiven everyone and then forced all of us to believe whatever it is we are supposed to believe and act however we are supposed to act without brutalizing his own son?
He seems to have chosen a very difficult way to get his message across and manage his world. It seems even a bigger mess than what our own congress has wrought and that is almost unimaginable.
I fear, as long as we have a strong majority of us willing to suppress disbelief (and reality) to serve their faith we will continue to wallow in the morass of non-productive 'social issues' that due to the emotionalism driving their supporters will continue to elbow out more important issues.
Your blog is outstanding. I really enjoy your insights. Keep up the great work.
I must say that I really don't careReplyDelete
about photos of mens' underwear,
...so let's draw a line,
...if it's legal, it's fine,
real assaults need publicity's glare.
Once again, pun intended. Of course I mean physical assaults, but also the assaults on reproductive and other rights, the environment, medicare, etc.
We are Great(and for the most part also not-so-Great) Apes, and set ourselves impossible standards in not appreciating that.ReplyDelete
I visit the right-wing blogs (for perspective), and over there, this has nothing really to do with sexual propriety: for the right, politics is a blood sport, and many thousands on that side spend huge parts of their lives in constant vigilence for signs of ape-itude to pounce on and rip a paper cut wide open into uncontrollable hemorrhage.
Rep Weiner was - & presumably never can be again - the Jersey Shore-like bigmouth of the Democratic House Caucus, the skinny geeky looking cat hanging around the real tough ones (It now comes out that the great majority of the DHC saw him as merely annoying, before & without the sexting (what it was). This isn't (wasn't) about sex & propriety; it was (is) about vulnerability.
The constituents of the NY 9th weren't getting real service from their rep before this (unless they just wanted theirs to just act as a megaphone - which, given his biggest single issue mindless support for the AIPAC, might actually be true, regardless whether it served their actual interests); but possibly could now - if Rep. Weiner suddenly grows up, much as Sen Ted Kennedy and Rep Barney Frank did years before, and becomes a real public servant (which I doubt - but then, Kennedy was a way more delinquent juvenile, and between his outage and his death, he morphed into an iconic legislator; so the possibility cannot be dismissed out of, uh, hand).
The big shift now is towards the issue of credibility: he LIED. Breaking news: hominids lie, especially about stuff that involves sex and marital fidelity, and hominid politicians are pretty much called on to lie & mislead & misdirect professionally, so chronically.
Yet we are ... shocked? This lie was aimed directly at one single other Great Ape: Rep Weiner's wife; it appears not even the women he was sexting to & heavy-in-hand-edly 'flirting' with took any of it seriously. He is NOT EVEN a sleazebag - that term elevates & overrates what he did & what he tried to evade; rather, he is an immature dick.
I'm not even sure we can fairly in good conscience wish for he & his wife to work this out; but if she has suddenly just found out what an immature dick he really is, then she never married him anyway, she married someone else. I doubt that, because women are generally way more mature &, uh, circumspect about such foibles in the more ridiculous gender.
(I apologize for the uh-ing: it looks so immature on my part - but it's really the fault of a confluence between the subject matter & my gender. Finally, I absolutely agree with where the priorities should be - but about 20% of the country is extremely well organized, funded & determined that such will not be addressed, so I really cannot see how they will ever be. Species come and species go; the records left behind in fossils & in our DNA proves it.)
I loved your last line and I agree with you completely. Unfortunately, the media is lazy and it's a lot easier to cover the "under-covered" Weiner than to do actual journalism.ReplyDelete
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Another great rhyme, Rhymer. The first two lines really made me laugh.ReplyDelete
Avattoir, You raise some very interesting points. We are great apes and as such, we are certainly motivated by baser instincts on a regular basis. One could argue that the whole, every man for himself, Randian selfish individualism and suppression of females (read patriarchal monotheisms and the GOP) are simply an attempt at moral justification of those baser instincts.ReplyDelete
On the other hand, we also have the capacity to rise above and behave with true morality, against selfish instincts, look out for the interests of our fellow humans and other living things. The people who spout the moral high ground as grounds for domination make me sick.
Thank you for sharing all your insights.
Madeline, I think it is also interesting that Sen. Ensign, who diddled his aide and then orchestrated a huge cover up and probably did break a few laws in the process, got only marginal press coverage for his indiscretions...hmmm. Weiner's member in underwear was obviously much more media-worthy.ReplyDelete
vis a vis your future post on 'god is a bad dad' you may want to check out this site, http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html. I've written several editorials on this subject and found it helpful.
Anonymous, Great link. But that really doesn't narrow down the possibilities for me. lol.ReplyDelete
The saga continues...if it is true that he was involved, however innocuously, with teenage girls, well that brings it to a different level entirely.ReplyDelete
As does this...
You are correct Gail. If underage girls were involved, it takes the perversion to a whole new level. Gotta love Bill Maher (thanks for the link). He really remakes the whole charade in vivid clarity.ReplyDelete
On the other hand, I must confess. I have exchanged a few steamy text messages with my husband on occasion. And I sure am glad Bill Maher isn't reading them aloud on his show. I do think this public viewing of private conversations is a bit voyeuristic and out of bounds.
I once read an essay I will never find again, about the deeply profound things we say to each other when when we are making love, like, "Oh."ReplyDelete
Isn't that different though, than exchanging inanities with SOMEONE YOU NEVER MET?
Gail,I didn't realize he didn't know the women he was sexting with. I wonder what was going through their heads. What motivates a woman degrade herself in such a way?ReplyDelete
Well, he claims he never met them, and they agree. There seems to be no evidence that he met them personally. I could see such exchanges even if they hadn't met, if say, they had been correspondents for even the teeniest time on the intertubes. But as far as I can tell, it started from the very beginning being purely sexual exchanges and painfully banal if that Bill Maher is any indication.ReplyDelete
On another thread a guy wrote in and said, c'mon let's fess up, I've sent similar stuff to my girlfriend. But he missed that he was talking about someone he had a relationship with, not a complete stranger - and what's more, one with whom there never seemed to be any possibility that there would be a relationship.
I have 3 grown daughters and ever since computers became commonplace (and don't get me wrong, I love the intertubes, and I'm not the least bit prudish) I have worried that sex has been so debased, porn is so available, boys get such totally unrealistic notions and girls have the choice of fulfilling them or being social rejects.
I think that is what motivates women, to a certain extent...unless they just like it?
Interesting insights Gail. It pains me the way young women and girls undervalue themselves today, particularly when it comes to men. I wish you were wrong, but I suspect you are correct.ReplyDelete