I wandered in on the end of the Weiner press conference and, in a healthy political culture, this man, notwithstanding his particular pathologies, would be simply too ridiculous to be a credible political candidate.
“I’m not going to get into a back and forth,” he told a journalist. Au contraire, he’s happy to get into a back and forth for hours on end (warning: Not safe for work).
“This was something in front of us that we knew might come up,” he said. You can say that again (warning: Even less safe for work).
These “sexts” and “selfies” are from less than a year ago. I link to them not because of their literary or artistic quality but because the euphemistic gentility of the American media serves to protect Weiner. If you watch Wolf Blitzer talking about it with Gloria Borger and Dana Bash on CNN, you would never know that the likely next Mayor of New York is a man who photographs his penis and emails it to strangers.
And that ties in to Charlie and Jonah’s porn discussion below. I incline more to Charlie’s side – I’m a free-speech absolutist – but the problem here is not what’s legal but what’s accepted. What’s the point of regulating porn in a world in which voters are willing to elect a serial porn fantasist who uploads his erections? Who needs Larry Flynt?
America has a peculiarly schizophrenic attitude to this: If you show a nipple on network TV, CBS will get fined by the regulators. But, if you show your penis to the planet, you can get elected to high office (and appoint the regulators).
Weiner now says that he and Huma have put what they always knew was in front of them behind them. New Yorkers are the fools of the planet if they follow that advice.
(Headline via the ancient cop show: There are eight million stories in the Naked City – and that’s just Weiner.)
UPDATE: In related news, CNN reports that man “hunted the dildo to extinction“. If only their reporters showed the same kind of doggedness with the Weiner.