I can laugh about almost anything. I do laugh about almost everything. There’s very little that happens in my life that I can’t laugh about.
The Anthony Weiner scandal is not one of those things.
It should be easy to laugh about Anthony Weiner, right? The subject is ripe for comedy. Yet another politician thinks that he can get away with being a cheating sleazebag, and better yet, this politician happens to have a very funny last name that can be used to make all sorts of jokes that are just begging for a “That’s what she said!”
I love “That’s what she said.” I almost called this blog “That’s What She Said,” because I’m a woman, and I talk a lot.
But this issue is a lot bigger than a simple act of a politician cheating on his wife and being exposed. This issue affects many more people than just Weiner himself. Why can’t I find this funny, or simply brush this off as another asshole politician with his pants caught down?
1) Remember this? It’s Anthony Weiner’s glorious, sarcastic defense of NPR and his ripping into the GOP for trying to cut their budget. Anthony Weiner has a history of making a lot of wonderful, sarcastic speeches against the hypocritical policies of the GOP. Until today, I saw Anthony Weiner as a snarky defender of progressive rights and a caller of bullshit on the GOP. But from now on, Anthony Weiner will be seen as that guy who Tweeted pictures to a bunch of women and got caught with his pants down. Anything Anthony Weiner says in defense of progressive rights will be tainted because the media will instead choose to focus on the sex scandal, taking precious time away from covering actual important issues. Yes, that’s just as much the fault of the media as it is Anthony Weiner’s, but that doesn’t make it any better.
2) I can’t imagine how hard it must be for a woman to not only come to the realization that her husband cheated on her, but to have that information shared with the entire country because people are somehow entitled to know everyone’s private business. I have little sympathy for Weiner and he frankly deserves what he gets from this, but his wife does not, and she’s wrapped into it anyway.
3) I say I have little sympathy for Weiner because there’s a smidgen of pity left. Melissa McEwan makes an excellent point that Andrew Breitbart threatened to expose graphic sexual pictures of Weiner, and this amounts to sexual coercion or blackmail. Anthony Weiner deserves to be criticized, but he does not deserve to be threatened with having pictures of his body exposed to the world. No one deserves that.
4) Here’s an interview with one of the women Weiner had a relationship with, Melissa Broussard. I’m counting down the minutes before left-wing “progressive” men slut-shame her for being a dirty ho who took down one of their favorite boys, and before the right-wing offers her a book deal. Sure, it’s possible that Broussard saw this opportunity as a chance for some fifteen minutes of fame, but I found this quote of hers very telling and sad:
“I have my own life, my own things where I’m from and I just wanted to go ahead with them. I thought I could just be private about it, but there’s no reason for me to hide,” she said. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t know him. I’m just putting my story out there before anyone else tries to.”
I find it very distressing that this woman felt the need to share an aspect of her private life with the rest of the world, simply because she knew it was a matter of time before someone else grabbed her story and used it. And even now, I’m sure left-wing progressive traitors will try to discredit her story because she’s a white-trash slut. You can TELL she’s a white-trash slut because she has a Texas accent and chews gum, after all.
(Side note: Why do I feel sympathy for her, and very little sympathy for Weiner? Why am I going easier on her? Because Melissa Broussard is not an elected official who’s supposed to put policies and the needs of her constituents over her personal life.)
5) There have been no official accusations of sexual harassment yet, but I’m not ruling it out as a possibility. Why? Because he’s a male politician and there’s a huge disparity of power between himself and the women with whom he engaged in these relationships. I’m not accusing him of sexual harassment when I don’t have any proof of it. I’m only saying that I would not be surprised if it turned out that these women weren’t consenting. Especially because, in Broussard’s case, she admits to feeling uncomfortable about certain aspects of the relationship.
Also, two words: Bill Clinton.
This is a mess, and it’s the fault of Weiner himself, Andrew Breitbart, and the media in general for obsessing over this issue and getting wrapped up in sex scandals as though they were live gossip magazines rather than NEWS OUTLETS. It’s a deep blow to women who believed that we finally, finally had a vocal, articulate, passionate progressive ally for women’s rights in Congress, only to find out that he’s yet another political sleazebag who values his own sexual kinks over loyalty to his constituents and furthering of progressive issues.
But by all means, let’s blow this off with more “adultery, schmadultery” talk and a lot of penis jokes. By all means.