First of all, we all need therapy to help us understand our perverse addictions to all things media: Facebook, Twitter, the All-Powerful Internets, you name it. With our society rapidly slouching toward Gomorroh, as they say, it should come as no surprise that we finally have a politician felled by his own sword, not like the Biblical Saul who anticipated his shameful end by depriving others of the pleasure of ending his career. Here in the media capital of the world we have our own homegrown sensation, Anthony Weiner, whose "wedding rabbi" Bill Clinton--the man who officiated at his wedding--an initiate into the "rite of indiscretion" the old-fashioned way, where, presumably, two people experience physical pleasure. In the case of the Would-Be Mayor of his Home-Town, Representative Weiner was simply an unhinged narcissist of the digital-age, seeking his own threshold of peak experiences, a new and decidedly unmanly way of doing things, as Maureen Dowd so adequately pointed out today. That's why when he cried at his press conference, I tuned out. Even my kids don't cry when I accuse them of spending too much time on-line.
Second, I'm more disturbed by his unrestrained ego, his out of control id, and his runaway hubris, the public delusion that in fact he was desirable to his countless "followers" on Twitter and Facebook, which, as far as I can tell, he earned by being well-tanned, fit, and yelling at people on the House floor. As for his skill as a politician, a fourteen year list of achievements in terms of what he actually did in service to his country (where's that list anyway?) and the disturbing wrinkle in time of the last four years in which he has toyed around with wanting to run New York City: he blew it. Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership should send him packing. NOT for some dumb ethics violation -- that's a smoke-screen to make the leadership on both sides, Democratic and Republican, look holy and pure in the run-up to the next election.
No--Anthony Weiner should be sent packing by his party's leadership because he brought shame upon his colleagues when the stakes for the future of the country are so high. The horrifyingly unethical slash and burn political tactics of many Republican leaders in Washington and beyond, the race-baiting, religion-baiting, immigrant-bashing, gay-bashing, right-to-choose-bashing, has been one of the most deeply disturbing manifestations of a broken political system in our nation's history. Nothing can get done in Washington, DC--or so it seems. So our adolescent Representative from Queens has nothing better to do but stalk women on the internet.
But not as creepy as Andrew Breitbart partnering with ABC News (Disney) in order to publish pictures of Anthony Weiner's fetishistic behavior. The Corporate Media Hunger Dragon joins forces with a known character assassin, who crows about being "vindicated" while never offering a word of remorse over ruining Shirley Sherrod's career--how soon we forget this racist mercenary's baptism into the 2012 Presidential campaign!
I watched Anthony Weiner's press conference and have read little else over the past few days. Who needs the headache--not only from him but all the other sanctimonious leaders who have not fought valiantly for a better budget, for a just system of taxation, for the call to serve our nation in a time of need. Whole government programs that provide vital services to the least powerful in our country are being taken apart on a daily basis. And the partisan stalemate leaves little else for consideration other than the porno-habits of a 46 year old boy.
Anthony Weiner is free to fight for his own marriage--but he was elected to fight for his district and fight for his country. To the extent that the country we believe in exists anymore.
Maybe it's all quickly moving to a new virtual reality of instantaneous media pleasure, shmeared with your favorite colors and flavors. In my home state, the Republican Party has openly decided to run fake candidates for state office. Fantasy and reality are virtually indistinguishable.
(But hey, wait a minute: if that's true, maybe the "real" Washington, the "real" State Capitols, are there for the taking!)
Poor Anthony Weiner: He couldn't keep his eye on the prize. Silly boy! He thought the prize was him.