The Weiner Scandal
I spent 25 years as a campaign drone for various Democrats, including three working for Gary Hart, so, nostalgically, I sit in the woods pondering various questions such as "why didn’t Hillary Clinton leave Bill during the Lewinsky affair?" (hint: she got her own intern, whose name you know) and "why didn’t Barack Obama have any girlfriends before he married Michelle?"
Political scandal is a bodyguard of lies (Churchill’s term), with each revelation designed to safeguard a deeper secret, what Nixon counselor John Ehrlichman called, during Watergate, "a modified limited hangout." Thus, the flaying of Anthony Weiner for doing something more American these days than apple pie exposes the fears that deeper things among the political classes might surface. Why, just yesterday, the New York Daily News published an article about a certain Rabbi Pinto, "Rabbi to the Stars" -- described by TDN as "never meeting with women" and "putting death curses on his enemies"-- who is currently advising Representative Weiner and is a close adviser to NBA choke star LeBron James and GOP House Ken Doll Eric Cantor. It’s as if elite life in the USA is a game of MadLibs, in which reality is filled in at random with celebrity names!
Here are some remarkable things about Anthony Weiner’s device-driven exposure: none of his correspondents objected (one, a Ms. Broussard, took $15,000 for an ABC interview); the feminists are already spinning it as a positive in Hanna Rosin’s Slate post this morning "Sex Addiction is a Feminist Victory"; and no one has mentioned Robert Mapplethorpe’s famous pic of the giant cock emerging from a pair of suitpants.
Twenty years ago, all of Washington, D.C., was shutting down a Mapplethorpe exhibition for obscenity, with Senator Jesse Helms leading the charge. Now right-wing pols are texting their parts all around (Rep. Chris Lee) or consulting weird rabbis (the aforementioned Eric Cantor). How come no one has tried to interview one of presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s 23 foster kids?
We are all Mapplethorpe’s subjects now and it seems a tad unfair that Anthony Weiner should be destroyed for channeling his inner Wagstaff (that’s Sam, Mapplethorpe’s lover), just because his fellow pols don’t wanna be exposed for also joining the party. Besides, Weiner knows where all the cocks and cunts are buried. Best leave him alone before he spills to Rabbi Pinto.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).