In the early 1960s, there was a commercial on TV that sold weiners by Oscar Meyer. In this version, a little kid with glasses (intellectual symbol) tries to march in the opposite direction from his peers, singing that if he were an Oscar Meyer Weiner, there would be nothing left of him because (of course) he would be eaten. Naturally, the intellectual kid is overcome by peer pressure, and he joins in the march to become “loved” and not “eaten.”
Anthony Weiner, congressman from New York, was like that little bespectacled kid in the commercial. He knew that if he became the wiener as object of lust for meat eaters then he would be eaten. However, since some part of him was arrested in adolescence, he stopped growing into maturity when it came to his sex organ, and this was his ultimate downfall. The sad thing is that in other aspects of his life he was admirable and intelligent. Since he succumbed to adolescent peer pressure on the Internet (all the sex out there waiting for you!), he was castigated (perhaps even some wanted him castrated) as a pervert.
Who is the pervert? Congressman Weiner admitted to America that he was sorry for his actions and that he was getting help for his personal problem. This is the first step in recovery. On the other hand, the media did not ask the next question: what role does the media play in this sickness of Weiner’s? If they had done this, then perhaps an intelligent discussion could have opened up, similar to the one that opened up when Anita Hill accused now-Justice Clarence Thomas of showing lewd videos to her and making obscene remarks in front of her face.
Women (including my wife) began admitting that they had previously allowed men to make such sexist remarks without taking any action against them because they thought they would never be heard. We were able, as a society, to intelligently discuss the problem of sexism, even though Mr. Thomas was judged “good to go” by the Judiciary Committee in Congress.
Flash-forward to the ironies of today. During the midst of the railing by the media to get to the bottom of “Weinergate,” the congressman kept insisting he was trying to gain the attention of the media to discuss real problems such as Justice Thomas (there’s that man again) having a conflict of interest over the Obama Health Care Plan, which was coming up for review by the highest court. Millions of Americans, after all, could lose their coverage under the plan if it was judged to be unconstitutional, and Clarence Thomas and his wife can gain a lot of money if it is. The media promptly ignored Weiner and focused on his wiener.
In fact, there are even “rumors” abounding about other transgressions, such as the alleged lesbian love affair between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Weiner’s wife, Huma. Where does it all end? It doesn’t, does it? There is no shame when it comes to the media. Why? Because talk about sexual perversion sells more copy than real issues that can affect millions of Americans’ real lives in the here and now.
The media today only cares about the bottom line. They no longer care or even attempt to discuss the lack of justice or fairness that many stories like this one imply. In fact, the only story I came accross that even minimally brought up the injustice of Congressman Weiner’s “trial by fire” or “weinie roast,” was the column in The Nation, “Weiner in a Box,” by JoAnn Wypijewski. She even brings up examples of congressmen who actually mixed political acts with sexual perversion but received little or no attention from the press.
Whatever personal malady Congressman Weiner may have, it should be left up to him and his psychaitrist to sort out. This is a family and personal matter and not a public inquest. Perhaps Mister Weiner had a childhood or adolescent hazing because of his name (his picture used in his tweets would allude to that)?
The press and the public, I submit, should be discussing how the Internet may be the real breeding ground for such narcissistic problems. As a teacher of argument in college, I discover that my students must put personal opinion above any other expression. That is when they say, “In my personal opinion,” it is as if just the mere mention that it is “their” opinion makes what they say even more important. I have to make an entire lesson on how one tells the difference between and the subsequent importance of separating fact from opinion. If most of the press had learned that lesson, perhaps we would be listening to some intelligent discourse about the problems of “sexting” and “narcissism” in this media culture and saving our real arguments for factual issues that can affect millions of people, like the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and the legality of the Obama Health Care Plan. These were issues that were very important to Congressman Weiner.
In fact, one of the most passionate tongue lashings I have ever heard came from this congressman, and he should be remembered for that. What was he so passionate about? He was angry over the fact that the GOP was holding back a bill that would give medical care to victims of 9/11 first-responders (policemen, firemen, and others) which was being procedurally blocked by GOP members who refused to vote. I would assume there are some real patriots out there who could care less that Weiner tweeted pictures of his junk to people on the airwaves. He was, after all, standing up for them when it really counted.