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Weiner Gave Us the Shaft

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To say the least, Rep. Anthony Weiner has angered me. I have been extremely impressed with him over the past couple of years since I first became aware of him. He is intelligent, dynamic and articulate. He has proven to be a firebrand in the House, and I felt that he had great potential. I honestly didn’t think he would ever be president I joked before that the U.S. is not quite ready for President Weiner. But, I did believe that he could rise (no pun intended, but what the hell, go with it) to be a strong force in Democratic politics, ultimately becoming a strong party leader and more importantly, a truly involved and sincere representative of the American people, at least as much as any politician is capable of sincerity.

That all went away yesterday. What was, until this mess hit the media last week, a very promising political career, went into the dumps with Weiner’s disclosure yesterday. I’ve had a queasy feeling in my stomach ever since he refused to deny that the original photo was his member, as it were. Yesterday, the Fruit of the Looms hit the floor.

It may sound naive, but I simply don’t understand what it is with Weiner and the multitude of others on both sides of the aisle who have been outed one way or another with some kind of sexual misconduct. Is the power so intoxicating, the adoration focused upon them so disarming that they just can’t fathom being brought to ground?

There are those who will say that we Americans are too prudish, that our Puritan proclivities are showing. That may be, but these guys, and it has pretty much all been guys, presumably know the rules of the game when they enter the fray. It comes down to public trust. Once lost, trust is difficult, if not impossible, to regain.

Weiner has said he will not resign. He should reconsider. The game is much bigger than either he or his career. If the Democrats are to have any hope of regaining control of the House in 2012, Weiner and anyone else with such material floating around out there in cyberspace must step aside. The stakes are too high.

If nothing else, all of these disclosures by Congressmen, governors and other political, financial and business leaders might lead us to believe that men, the male of the species, are just not fit to be in control. It is disturbingly clear as time goes on that men are fast becoming relics of a disappearing age. On balance women may be proving to be far better leaders in both government and business. They certainly seem better able to keep their libidos in check. Perhaps men should just be left to stroke their — uh, their egos.

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About Baritone

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Not sure where all this sanctimoniousness over the sexual misadventures of our political leaders comes from. A quick trawl across any random period of history will bring up plenty of instances of kings and ministers with extramarital pots on the boil. Such dalliances were tacitly accepted and generally assumed to be entirely separate from the business of ruling. They were nonetheless, in most cases, common knowledge.

    Hell, up until about 150 years ago it was practically expected.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    The sanctimoniousness about the Honorable Member’s sexual proclivities is, I think, largely misplaced. The big deal is that he consistently — OK, inconsistently — lied — to his wife, to the other Honorable Members, to the media and to the public. We seem to have a political class, of both parties, that views itself as above such petty stuff as being truthful. He has become the poster boy du jour for lack of candor, largely because he didn’t get away with it.

    Some learned (as many more should have done) from former presidents Nixon and Clinton that a “modified limited hangout,” also known as a coverup, is the real killer. Had Mr. Weiner (despite his unfortunate surname) remained silent for awhile instead of lying, and then ‘fessed up, he might even have a political future. I don’t want one for him, but that’s irrelevant. It’s what he should have done.

    Should he resign now? I don’t want him to because having him around to serve as a punching bag may serve a useful purpose for the Republicans. Other than that, he should but has said he won’t. Despite that, he probably will.

    Dan(Miller)

  • zingzing

    “I simply don’t understand what it is with Weiner and the multitude of others on both sides of the aisle who have been outed one way or another with some kind of sexual misconduct.”

    they’re human. we just think they’re not. it’s we the people that have to change. we’ve become scandal hounds and judgmental pricks, fighting against the natural desire for illicit, exciting sex.

    if he had broken a law, or wasted loads of taxpayer money, or was a hypocrite who would legislate against his own guilty conscience, then there would be some reason for his resignation. right now, it’s just the public being puritan buttholes.

    it’s pathetic.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Doc, it’s not a question of whether or not pols, royals and the like have affairs and odd relations with others that is at the crux of Weiner’s problem – at least at the political level. It is, as Dan (Miller) noted, the problem of his lies. Again, as I stated, it’s a question of public trust. Trust in Weiner’s truthfulness and trust in his judgment. As I write more details are coming out and the details just get worse. What he admitted to yesterday may be just the tip of the iceberg.

    Simply from a political perspective, he should resign. Otherwise, he will provide an ongoing side show that will continue to distract from anything else for weeks to come. As I stated, these guys know what their constituents expect of them. Like it or not, we live in a country that has strong puritanical roots. One is not supposed to enjoy one’s self too much. Unless and until the impossible web of social and ethical mores and morals is at least to some degree untangled, these things will continue to unravel political careers. Considering how vitriolic and desparate politics has become, anything and everything will be used against one for gain an advantage for another. Some have weathered the storm, but whether or not any particular pol survives can be measured on Rachael Maddow’s Creepy/Prosecutorial scale. The creepier and/or the more prosecutorial a particular scandal is, the less likely the perpetrator will survive – politically at any rate. Weiner’s carryings on do not as yet rate particularly high the prosecutorial side, but are, in my view, pretty damn high on the creepy side.

    Anyhow, shouldn’t we expect more of pols today than we did 150 years ago. Kennedy was probably the last American president to get a pass with his infidelities. In an age when eyes and ears are on most of us pretty much all the time – and that’s certainly true of politicians, entertainers and many corporate bigwigs – very little will get by those who have devoted their lives to snooping.

  • zingzing

    to put it in perspective, the italian pm has to fuck underage prostitutes in a rented jacuzzi at his “bunga bunga” parties before he gets into trouble. amazing. we’re a bunch of prudes.

  • zingzing

    “very little will get by those who have devoted their lives to snooping.”

    always comforting to know that your private morality is decided not by what you do, but by what your enemies want to show to the frankly retarded masses.

    if any one of us were scrutinized or held to these ridiculous standards, all of us would be publicly shamed and unemployed. i’m sure weiner’s done far worse, and i’m sure you (all of you) have as well.

    and weiner represents my state and i want him to stay. so there. he’s funny.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    I know what you’re saying zing, but again, people who seek political office should know what they’re getting into. It may be sanctimonious bullshit to many, but these things nevertheless, have serious political consequences. Politicians are scrutinized 24/7/365 for everything they say and everything they do. And there is always somebody who will take the opportunity to run with this crap and make hay out of it – which will ultimately become more crap.

    In this case Weiner is a man who lied to his wife, lied to the media, and most importantly from our perspective, he lied to his constituents. And again, as I see it, his particular “thing” lands fairly high on the “creepy” scale.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I love how Americans always act shocked when their politicians lie to them. In the realm of politics, deception is a requirement. Politicians lie to their constituents every single day of the week and twice when they’re banging interns. It’s a fact.

    The sooner the American people cease putting their politicians on moral pedestals the better. These unrealistic, naive visions of politicians as altruistic goodie-goodies with nary a blemish or fetish are idiotic and embarrassing.

    The standards are ridiculous and the 24/7 scrutiny is moronic. It only proves that there are many, many Americans who need to find better hobbies.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I side with Doc’s comment #1 – haven’t we all seen enough of such actions from every side that we should get a clue from Europe that we shouldn’t be so…Victorian in our expectations of our politicians’ sexual proclivities? This isn’t a left or right thing, because the Right certainly has no room to talk on this matter.

    And when it comes to Wiener lying about it, oh, come on! Does anyone here really expect a man who’s been cheating on the wife to tell the truth about it to ANYONE this side of Heaven if he’s accused of cheating? Tell me, people – if you thought that there was not sufficient evidence against you and a Grand Jury or Congressional Committee or the pope or whoever is asking you if you cheated on your wife, would you really tell the truth? Would you?

    The VAST majority of men would absolutely not! Almost any man is going to lie through his teeth, tap-dance his way around every bit of evidence, and bend every bit of his will towards figuring out how to save his hind end from the Wrath of the Scorned – not to mention the public ridicule that will go with it.

    So…no. When I was younger I thought this was an issue, but not now. I’d much rather be concerned about matters that help all Americans. I could care less about the sexual dalliances of the Wieners, the Vitters, the Craigs, and whomever…except for the ones who use their power to force such desires on other people.

  • S.T..M

    Lol. Nice one Jordan. Yeah, that’s how it is here … although our convict gene makes us a tad more forgiving.

    Yanks are still suffering from their Puritan gene. Although while they don’t like pollies playing up, a lot of Americans, like a lot of people everywhere, seem to feel OK about doing it themselves … and lying about it :)

  • Jordan Richardson

    Our Tory PM was on television during the hockey game the other day and announced proudly that he schedules major meetings around hockey games. In the States, the opposition party would have had a fit over such “irresponsibility.”

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Oh well. Mr. Weiner should probably withdraw from the Washington scene at least briefly; few would consider it premature.

    Maybe he could arrange some free, or at least cheap, vacation travel for an hiatus by surfing the internet. After the hard times he has been experiencing, he probably needs to relax a bit and in doing so could help to stimulate the economy.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Well, I’ve been thoroughly scorned. But I still think most of you miss the point. It may be very uncool to harp on such things, but, nevertheless, that’s how the game is rigged in the good ole usofa.

    I was thoroughly pissed at Bill Clinton because he flaunted his disdain for the “rules.” The result was that what could have been an exceptional presidency was reduced to a smirk.

    Rules is rules. In world basketball competition, slapping the ball off of the rim is allowed. Not here in the U.S. “Goal Tending” Some think it’s a lousy rule, but a rule it is, and you have to observe it or pay the consequences.

    Now the “rules” I refer to in American politics are pretty much unwritten, but that only makes them less well defined and, consequently, more difficult to observe. I think Weiner is toast. It is, IMO, a great loss. But his overcoming this mess will be problematic at best. Even among those on the left side of the aisle and the voters who support them are many who would also be counted among the purtian Neanderthals that you all revile. Ya gotta play to your audience.

  • zingzing

    baritone, you’re right in that it is the way the game is played. it shouldn’t be, but it is. of course, what weiner is guilty of is some ultimately harmless flirtation (although hurtful to his wife/family), nothing more. if i could lose my job for flirting with a woman on the other side of the nation, that would seem like a gross injustice. he very well could lose his wife, which is plenty enough punishment. the american people don’t need to make a public judgment on a man’s private life. but of course, that’s what we’re doing. it’s disgusting, and we should all be ashamed, but we’re acting as if this is normal and justified. time to step back. the witch hunts never cease in america.

  • STM

    B-tone … I’m not scorning you. I understand that the sense of felling dudded by this bloke comes from the moralising and the hypocrisy. That’s actually a good thing to be pissed off about.

    Nothing worse than a hypocrite, or a dishonourable “member”. Tee hee

  • STM

    Dan, some of the best use of puns and double entendres I’ve seen.

    Keep it up …

  • STM

    You too B-tone … you’ve grabbed this issue with both hands, this bloke deserves a good spray (keep it clean, now … spray = Aussie for a bollocking).

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Well, in my case both hands might be a bit of an overkill.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Rachel Maddow had a funny but fiery segment tonight called “IOKIYAR” [it’s ok if you’re a Republican]. She showed Eric Cantor and Reince Priebus calling Weiner a ‘creep’ and demanding his resignation, and insisting that Democrats who received contributions from him should immediately return the ‘tainted’ money.

    Then she asked, rhetorically: Is David Vitter a creep? [he still has his senate seat] How about John Ensign, former head of the GOP senate campaign committee? A creep? [He only resigned when it became obvious the usually wimpy senate ethics committee was likely to recommend his expulsion, two years after his own sex scandal, which involves financial improprieties, came to light.]

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion about Weiner’s Wienergate, but the odor of hypocrisy is pretty rank.

  • zingzing

    let he who is without sin, etc, etc. i’d love to see the republicans try and tackle this one. it will only highlight their own transgressions.

    now john edwards, on the other hand… oi. (allegedly) using campaign funds to hide a lover and child, with a wife dying of cancer on the side… that’s a bit over the edge. being from nc as i am, edwards was a lousy rep, always campaigning and never legislating. he should burn.

    weiner, however, is a well-hung, fit (american, not british sense there), clever, passionate, flirtatious cheat, but he’s not evil, and he’s a good rep. if i had it in me to move to south brooklyn or queens, i’d do so just to vote for him.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I love how Americans always act shocked when their politicians lie to them. In the realm of politics, deception is a requirement. Politicians lie to their constituents every single day of the week and twice when they’re banging interns. It’s a fact.

    Best comment.

    Also, who really cares what Mr. Weiner does with his weiner? The REAL issue is–How stupid can he be to use his own name and photo? Geeeeeeeeeeeeez…this is a guy who is “intelligent” and should be representing others?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I am, of course, referring to his facial photo. Presumably no one would easily identify him by his other photo.

  • Cannonshop

    Uhm…I don’t get it, how is this going to destroy his credibility as a DEMOCRAT?

  • zingzing

    oh, cannonshop. as a dem, i want to lick your butt til you’re clean, but so do you. kitty.

  • Cannonshop

    No, seriously-I could see it destroying the credibility of some god-bothering Protestant-wants-to-be-a-minister Southern Republican, but I don’t see how tweeting his junk at a woman should have ANY impact on his credibility in the field as a democratic candidate.

    It’s not like he was caught on tape shooting an animal or something with a gun, after all, he just tweeted/flashed his junk.

    and it wasn’t even EXPOSED junk, just his boxers.

    I guess I’m just kind of an anvil here, but I don’t get what the problem is.

    And…Zing? no, you really don’t. among many other things, I’m both gassy, and hairy down there, especially since my intestinal flora’s not rebuilt from a week on sulfa for an infection.

    Totally gross, man. really. Now, there’s this ex-congresscritter who probably does manscaping and is likely in much better health you might try looking up instead, he’s even a REAL Republican (the destroyed political career proves it) who might be more your speed, (but get your shots updated first-guy’s known to cruise bathrooms for stranger-sex, which is the very definition of not-smart in the high-risk sense.)

  • STM

    Weiner just comes across as a knob.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    I see that cannon buys into the myth that only Reps have any moral standards – that Weiner’s actions shouldn’t bother the amoral, godless Dems.

    Yet, in shear numbers, Republicans out-distance Dems in sexual deviance. And the god-fearing, virtuous Reps repeatedly have come to the defense of their fallen wang-waggling compatriots while they now self-righteously demand that Weiner resign.

    While I still believe Weiner should resign, the Republican response makes me waffle a bit. In some ways, it would do my heart good to see him stay on and thumb his massive nose at the hypocrites on the other side of the aisle.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    I find it interesting that no one has thus far found the last paragraph of my article worthy of comment. Either you guys think I’m totally out in left field on that one, or perhaps, you’re just afraid to touch it.

    One day, women will rule the world and men will be little more than sperm donors and hod carriers.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Cindy (hi!), I don’t know if this is a condition that has wormed its way into the X and Y chromosomes, or if is a condition that is a cultural overlay. It seems to be so often the case, that, regardless of race, creed, or ideological persuasion, a woman’s reasoning powers are influenced by her emotions–this may not be a defect–and a man’s reasoning powers are influenced by…yeah.

    (I don’t want to over-generalize, because there are some Heartless she-devils out there, and Princes who treat everyone, including women, with respect and compassion.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    (That was to Baritone, too.)

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Irene – I agree with you. And I too, don’t want my comments to be taken as a blanket statement. Some men contend that all women are bitches and some women claim that all men are pigs. I don’t believe either statement is close to being true.

    Yet, there is something about men and power. Women don’t seem to get caught up in it in the same way as men do. For men, power is almost always somehow related to their, uh, equipment. And it’s amazing how utterly juvenile men can be about it. It’s often like they failed to mature emotionally beyond jr high.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baritone –

    Yes, I agree – Wiener can still get beyond this. It will take some time in political exile, but he can still make it happen.

    But I wouldn’t want to be him right now…especially since he’s Jewish, his wife’s Muslim and by no means a wilting flower, and a close associate of Hillary. I have a feeling that if we could harness the current chill in their household, we might be able to solve global warming….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baritone (and Irene)

    And it’s amazing how utterly juvenile men can be about it. It’s often like they failed to mature emotionally beyond jr high.

    Truer words are rarely said…but maybe Hemingway said it best: “That is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise, they grow careful.”

    Maybe that’s why I’ve never really felt older than seventeen. My body says otherwise, but in my mind I still feel like a teenager…and my girlfriend is coming home next week – yay! I’ll be her boyfriend until she gets mad at me – because when she’s mad at me, then I’m her husband. As long as I keep her happy, I’m her boyfriend. First rule for a happy marriage: Never stop courting her!

    Yeah, women generally are more emotionally mature than men – but not nearly enough men realize it. All too often we’re still stuck playing “king of the hill” while they’re trying to keep the household and the family on an even keel. We men are really very, very lucky that women still think they need us…because if women ever figure out that they don’t need us anymore, the nights are going to get a whole lot colder….

  • Baronius

    Salon has an article about Weiner’s first run for office, in which he exploited anti-black bigotry following the Crown Heights riot. His campaign anonymously sent out leaflets linking one of his City Council opponents to David Dinkins and Jesse Jackson. This guy is bad news. He’s the worst sort of political bully, and you should be glad that he won’t be moving up in the Democratic Party.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Salon.com You’ve shared an important angle to this story, Baronius. Hell hath no fury like a liberal woman scorned.

    Unless it’s Hillary Clinton who was dancing, as Senator turned Secretary of State, with Bill at their daughter’s wedding years after his indiscretions. There are alternatives to fury that are a more politically expedient response to scorn. I would suspect the Clintons and Weiners may be going out on double-dates soon.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    It is, as Dan (Miller) noted, the problem of his lies.

    I guarantee, B-tone, that as a public figure he has lied about things other than where on the web he waved his willy.

    The fact that he would feel the need to lie about it in public is just another symptom of the strange modern mores I was talking about.

  • Baronius

    Dread – Way back on comment #1 you said that this kind of behavior didn’t used to be frowned upon. That doesn’t seem accurate to me. First of all, there’s a difference between royalty (or even nobility) and the everyday man, in terms of expectations. One didn’t expect a king to be a good person. His job was to rule and have sons. And it was hard to vote him out of office. America has a much stronger tradition of growing our own “nobles”, and permitting them to stay in power only as long as they meet our standards.

    Secondly, I suspect that people look randier in the history books because all the rumors and concealed facts are printed there. A future American will read about Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Clinton and think how society’s become more puritanical in his day.

    Lastly, I think that people have always been more tolerant of discreet affairs. It’s easier to pretend they don’t exist. It demonstrated a sense of propriety. (Remember that hypocrisy has come to be viewed as the gravest sin only in recent times.) If Jefferson accidentally sent a lithograph of his penis to half of Virginia, his political life would have been over. Sobel’s right that the modern era has accelerated the means by which a misdeed can be made public.

  • Baronius

    How ’bout that, Dread – you just revived the issue while I was posting.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Well Doc, when we are talking politics and morality, we are getting into really murky water. While we want to believe our pols are being truthful, anyone with a brain knows that at some level we are being lied to. The “lies” are usually half truths, lies by omission, lies by demigogery, and so on.

    The problem in Weiner’s case is that he stood before the nation on program after program for over a week and denied his guilt. As I noted, and I’m sure we all remember, he did stop short of claiming that the original photo was not his schlamonger. But he purposely lied directly in claiming his Twitter acount had been hacked and on and on.

    Interestingly, a poll just released earlier today indicates that his constituents favor his staying the course. Fifty-one percent of those polled do not want him to resign. Only about 35% say he should. I guess if his people want him to stay in office, perhaps that’s what he should do.

    As to Baronius’ claims of Weiner’s earlier misdeeds, I don’t think that’s a Pandora’s box we should be opening. True or not, it’s likely that a large % of pols have any number of skeletons in their respective closets. Bar loves to dig the dirt and shovel it out here for all of us to ponder. My wife heard it said that Weiner is a bully to his own staff. Could be.

    Dirty tricks abound in politics. Just look at how the Koch Brothers are currently waging a campaign to blame Obama for higher gas prices when they make most of their money from oil. Talk about low life pieces of doo doo… Of course, I suppose that’s all right because they’re righteous conservatives and god is on their side. So anything goes.

  • zingzing

    that salon article doesn’t sound like the weiner i’ve come… that name! you can do anything with it… anyway, it sounds like a dirty campaigning trick that a hungry young politician might employ without thinking too much about it. it just doesn’t seem to fit with weiner’s way of thinking. of course, he’s a politician, so i’m sure a lot of his thinking would surprise me mightly in its machiavellian depths. but it sounds more like the work of a campaign manager and a naive politician. he had to be in his mid-20s at that point. not sure what business he had running in an election in the first place.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    GLENN (B4 the thread gets all partisan again) your wife has wisely gone on a trip WITHOUT leaving you a big honey-do list, apparently ;)Tip: She’ll be coming home with a boat-load of dirty laundry. Make sure she can’t find a dirty sock or towel of YOURS anywhere. A pristine laundry room graced with flowers–and perhaps a small box of chocolates concealed between the soap and the fabric softener–would be a novel and welcome surprise.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    What I got left with was taking care of our medically-fragile Foster kids. I can assure you it’s no fun because every second day they need suppositories in order to have bowel movements…and while a nurse is usually (but not always) here to give the suppository to one kid, the other kid gets no nursing hours at all. All the care of the other medically-fragile kid is on me.

    But I really like your tip on the laundry – I’ll take that to heart, and I’ll let you know how it turns out. Ironically, her name’s Irene…but I haven’t called her that in many years – we always call each other ‘Darling’ (unless she’s mad at me, of course).

    Another tip for the husbands out there – grow flowers in the yard – lots of flowers (esp. roses)! That way you can bring her flowers whenever you want to (“just because” is always the best reason)…and they’re free and make HER house – remember, it IS her house – look much more presentable.

    For those who wonder why it’s always HER house…remember – guys usually don’t care much about dollhouses. A girl loves a dollhouse – and that’s how she practices for when she’s got her own house. Not your house – HER house. Unless it’s a house that she doesn’t like, of course, in which case you need to find a good Realtor.

  • Cannonshop

    #27 um…no. If you didn’t smell mockery of the GOP in my last post, Baritone, you’re not as subtle as I thought you were.

    The reason the god-botherers get hammered in these scandals, is the sheer hypocrisy of their behaviour. The only reason the Weiner’s Weiner story still has any traction, is that his name, a name that can be read straight across as a synonym for…well…his junk.

    But after the 1990’s, the Democratic Party should be pretty much immune to sex-scandal-stupidity. I mean, did you NOT learn anything from Bill Clinton?

    Weiner should NOT resign, but he maybe ought to disarm the critics and stop trying to be defensive-unless…y’know, he can turn it into a sympathy play.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Its not Weiner’s Weiner, story, Cannonshop.
    It’s Weiner’s Wiener story.
    E after I,
    like
    Wieners and pieces of pie, on the fourth of July
    EXCEPT after c
    AND EXCEPT when sounding like “A” as in neigbor and weigh
    AND EXCEPT when sounding like Rhine
    as in Weiner and schwein.

    (Dedicated to Handyguy.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Baronius: I think that people have always been more tolerant of discreet affairs. It’s easier to pretend they don’t exist. It demonstrated a sense of propriety.

    Quite true. For an example of how this works in a modern society, look at France. After his death, it came out that the late President Mitterrand had had numerous extramarital affairs while he was in office, including a long-time mistress with whom he had an adult daughter. The French press had known about it for years but hadn’t publicized it – partly because Mitterrand threatened them with consequences if they did but mainly because they didn’t think it was all that newsworthy.

    The reaction of the French public to the news? They shrugged and got on with doing, presumably, much the same sort of thing themselves.

    Just imagine the furore here if it came out that Dubya or Bill had that sort of secret. Oh, wait…

  • Baronius

    Dread, the two examples I always hear are Mitterand and Berlusconi. But since they’re both recent, don’t they argue *against* a neo-puritanism? Or is this just a comparison between Europe and the US?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, I think neo-puritanism is mainly an Anglosphere phenomenon, and even then it’s just the two largest centres of that sphere. The Aussies don’t seem all that bothered: former Labor PM Bob Hawke, for one, was a bit notorious, and once, the story goes, even made a pass at Germaine Greer. Brave man.

  • Arch Conservative

    “Yes, I agree – Wiener can still get beyond this. It will take some time in political exile, but he can still make it happen.”

    BZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!! WRONG!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s all over for Weiner. It’s just a matter of time before he resigns. He has absolutely zero political allies left. He’s done.

    It’s not the fact that Weiner snapped some risque pics or had cyber/phone sex with these woman that’s so eggerious, it’s the fact that he thought he was smarted than everyone else, that he thought he could get away with lying to the citizenry about it. That’s where the animosity from the people comes from. The politician who thinks he’s better and smarter than we peons. I know that gets my spite up like nothing else. Being that I can’t literally push Weiner down a flight of stairs I guess the next best thing to appease that spite would be to see him publicly suffer. To see his resignation offered up and his life unravel before my eyes.

    Oh I know what’s coming. He’s a fellow human being…how can I be so callous. Well fuck him and every other politician. Both parties are robbing us blind and ruining this country so that they can live the good life themselves. I have no more regard for the life of any politician or wall street bankster than I do the turd I left in the bowl this morning before leaving home.

    In fact if I was walking down the street and I saw some scumbag politician or banker on the other side and he was on fire I wouldn’t even take the time to walk across the street to piss on him to put the fire out.

    They should and I hope do all burn in hell for eternity.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    There goes Arch equivocating again. Say what you think, man!

  • zingzing

    it must be burdensome carrying around so much anger.

  • Irene Athena

    …Singin’ polly-wolly doodle all the day…

    What in the ?

  • Irene Athena

    Arch, you have expressed my sentiments exactly (except for maybe the very last line about burning in hell.) That’s the sort of sentiment we should all be BANDING TOGETHER to express to politicians on both sides of the aisle who have been—forget about the sexual dalliances–lying to us about why we’re raining down predator missiles on countries for humanitarian purposes and why big corporations got huge chunks of OUR money to bail them out while the money frugal families had saved up over the years evaporated.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Arch –

    Riiiight. Just like it was over for David Vitter after he was caught with a prostitute…and he was wearing diapers IIRC.

    John Ensign’s just quit…but how long did it take, and how long have we all known what he did? Is Weiner’s indiscretion somehow the equal of John Ensign’s?

    And then there’s Newt Gingrich who’s running for president again. He doesn’t have as much support as he once did…but the lack of support from the Republican side apparently has nothing to do with the fact that he cheated on his dying wife, and that he divorced a woman because she wasn’t ‘pretty enough’ to be a politician’s wife.

    You know the difference when it comes to Republicans and Democrats and their sexual dalliances? (1) Republicans stand on their soapbox saying how ‘morally superior’ they are, and (2) are usually backed up by their fellow Republicans who – instead of tossing them under the bus – tend to circle the wagons in a show of intraparty loyalty. The Dems, OTOH, tend to drop the offender like a hot rock. Again, not always, but usually.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    “it’s the fact that he thought he was smarted(sic) than everyone else”

    wonder where he got that idea?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    But Glenn, Arch is no longer about the Republicans vs. the Democrats:

    Both parties are robbing us blind and ruining this country so that they can live the good life themselves. I have no more regard for the life of any politician or wall street bankster than I do the…
    &etc.

    Your observation in paragraph 4 was astute, but it contradicts the “Riiiight” in paragraph 1.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    The comment was a bit WHOLESALE but I found myself getting caught up in the spirit of the thing.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    I don’t think they contradict. I really don’t think we should worry about the dalliances of politicians in their private lives as long as it’s nothing illegal…but I think it should also be pointed out that among those who are worrying about it, one side tends to be a lot more hypocritical about it than the other side. Just sayin’….

  • Cannonshop

    #48 but Arch, that’s what Politicians DO-they Lie, it’s part of the pre-requisites for the job, just as assuming (and they’re more right more often than wrong) that the people who elected them aren’t as smart as they are.

    The real story might actually be why he bothered to lie about THIS indiscretion-sex scandals are a great example of Carnymancy-the generation of a carnival of noxious noise to cover something else going on that people maybe might need ought to be paying attention to.

    And it IS noxious noise. Public funds were not involved, nor official secrets, nor classified information nor critical economic data. The guy tweeted a shot of his wedding-tackle to a chick he was flirting on-line with. Big Frikking Deal.

    No laws were broken, so what is the REAL reason this is even worthy of public attention?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Irene (hiya :-),B, and Glenn,

    Here is what I make of it.

    Girls are culturally indoctrinated to treat all people all the time like human beings. (General statement, meaning it is generally true, yet not absolutely.) When we are young, we often get those teen magazines which have pictures of boys and we adore them, wonder what they eat for breakfast, walk outside under the stars hoping they are doing the same, etc.

    Meantime, in the next bedroom, brother Billy is hanging up a picture of large breasts and some female’s butt revealed through skimpy shorts (at the mildest level of objectification). Males are being indoctrinated to see body parts they want to use for their own sexual conquest and satisfaction. (Another general statement. Not always true. But true mostly and true enough.)

    This theme is typical and considered so natural that it is played out in numerous media, TV, books, etc.

    I do think there is something wrong with masculine indoctrination, Irene, B, Glenn. It is what is ultimately responsible for most of the destruction in the world and toward people.

    Can women be indoctrinated the same way? Sure they can. But they haven’t generally been, so these are the exceptions. Men, have basically held the power role in determining what is permitted in the social reality, they have developed conquest and domination and power as themes of masculinity and as events which play out in the social reality.

    In my reading, cultures associated with matriarchal values are not dominated by women, as B would imagine. That is a masculinized portrait, it seems to me. Matriarchies are associated with egalitarian decision-making,and nurturing relationships (rather than competitive or destructive relationships–conquest, war, which is what masculine societies have been built on).

    I believe anyone can change and it doesn’t matter what sex they are. If I raised female infants in an Amazon Army Unit, I could produce murderous, dominating women. If I raised males in a cooperative community where relationships and non-violence was prized, I could raise some really great guys.

    People realize that if you put an infant in a tribal community s/he would not likely act like an American and vice versa–yet, they continue to replicate this culture with every destructive flaw as if they have nothing to say about it and as if it is a part of their genetic destiny.

    Every child born is an opportunity to change the world. So, the question is, why do they grow up into adults who follow the same rules, do the same things, and look at the world the same way as the people around them?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Cindy – I don’t disagree with you. Your comment is well considered.

    I would say, though, that there are damn few matriarchal societies on this planet. None come to mind among any countries I can conjure up. I think some primarily western European countries are trending in that direction – part of what seems to disgust most red blooded American men. (Those relics I spoke of.) The only matriarchal societies that come to mind have been small tribal units found around the world over the past couple of centuries.

    Actually, what I see happening in this country is the “masculinization” of women. So many programs on the tube, in films and even in many popular books the measure of most heroines is how much ass they can kick. It raises the notion that for women to be considered equal to men, they must emulate them. This is part of a male fantasy, and a lot of women are buying into it. There is, IMO, a beauty and symmetry to the divergent nature of the sexes. That divergence is in some ways disappearing. Is that good or bad? Don’t know.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Girls are culturally indoctrinated to treat all people all the time like human beings. (General statement, meaning it is generally true, yet not absolutely.)

    I agree wholeheartedly! And I think that’s why women generally tend to be more liberal, and men generally tend to be more conservative.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Glenn – And why a lot of men tend to be assholes. Just as they think it’s their mandate to determine what a woman should or should not do with her body. Male dominance is often plagued with tunnel vision, pomposity and stupidity.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baritone –

    Actually, what I see happening in this country is the “masculinization” of women. So many programs on the tube, in films and even in many popular books the measure of most heroines is how much ass they can kick. It raises the notion that for women to be considered equal to men, they must emulate them. This is part of a male fantasy, and a lot of women are buying into it.

    I’ve thought the same thing for some time – witness the ‘girl-fights’ that high-school kids record on their cell phones and put on Youtube. And it’s sad.

    What I think this stems from is a growing perception among women that they have to compete for the men. They always have, of course…but not like this. Maybe I’m just being naive, but women shouldn’t have to publicly fight over men…which is why I’m so disgusted at the very premise of shows like The Bachelor. I refuse to watch it for that reason.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baritone!

    Male dominance is often plagued with tunnel vision, pomposity and stupidity.

    You saw my picture in the dictionary again, didn’t you?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Glenn – Hey now!

    It’s not just competing “for” men, but competing “with” men – physically. While it’s great that both men and women are hitting the gym, the notion that women should be able to compete toe to toe with men physically is a step backward. Is it a desirable goal for women to become men?

    The superiority of women, IMO, comes with their generally inherent ability to think with their minds AND their hearts and far less so with their genetalia.

    As with both Irene and Cindy, I don’t make this a blanket statement. There are probably as many dumb, insensitive women as there are dumb insensitive men. There are women who use their sexual prowess to intimidate for personal gain. There are men who don’t lead with their schwanstuckers. But stereotypes emerge and grow through repetetive reinforcement.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Cindy: This theme is typical and considered so natural that it is played out in numerous media, TV, books, etc.

    Well, in a sense it is natural. Male humans are pre-programmed to seek out a mate who can provide them with healthy offspring: large breasts and prominent buttocks are markers for that.

    Females are looking for the same thing, but they also need a mate who can provide for and protect those offspring – which, in our primeval home with lots of hungry lions and leopards wandering around, meant someone attentive and resourceful and who could think on his feet.

    Like you, I’m generalizing, but it does make biological sense for this to be broadly true.

    That said, I guarantee you that in 9 out of 10 cases in which a woman is asked for her preference between an average-looking, weedy guy with a doctorate and a handsome, muscular one with a B.A., she’ll go for the latter.

    How much of that is nature and how much nurture, I’m not sure.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    the notion that women should be able to compete toe to toe with men physically is a step backward. Is it a desirable goal for women to become men?

    Most “Western” cultures are still strongly patriarchal, so emulating men is the only way women can hope for equal treatment. Our society is set up in such a way that many of its privileges traditionally hinge on the beneficiary’s being in possession of a twig and berries – or failing that, acting as if they are.

  • Jeannie

    We should all be screaming for Vitter’s blood…

    he broke a law

  • Jeannie

    Good to see Doc, Glenn, B & Cindy.

    :)

  • Dan

    Although pressure is building on Weiner to withdrawl, I hope he stands tall and surges ahead with renewed vigor to retain his orifice. He’s a certain archetype of pure progressive creepiness that fits the grimacing face of the Democrat party.

    Breitbarts off the street commandeering of the weiner platform just before weiner confessed was magnificent. Better than a hollywood script.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dan sure got it right. All of us lefties are grimacing creeps, and we’re goddamn proud of it! So hurrah for all you smiling, hypocritical wingnuts. Let’s hear it for David Vitter! Huzzah!

    Ya know, what Weiner did is creepy, but what Vitter did is illegal. So the “law and order” party decides to give Vitter a pass. Just another load of Republican crap.

  • Dan

    Hurrah for Breitbart for exposing Democrat creeps!

    Speaking of Democrat creeps, What about Billy Clinton? Perjury, obstruction of justice? Isn’t that stuff illegal? Surely he resigned right?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    there are damn few matriarchal societies on this planet

    Unfortunately, anything of interest resembling weakness has been dominated…no one much cares about a few Eskimos, Inuit, Bushpeople, Kung.

    Actually, what I see happening in this country is the “masculinization” of women.

    That is what I see too, B. I probably have reiterated this too many times in discussions but here goes again: I am not interested in succeeding as a top guard in a prison built by someone else. That is, I would rather change the warp and the weft rather than become the favorite golden thread. Where women succeed in the current social structure, they are not, imo, successful at becoming equal. Success for me is to change the structure and its boundaries, not be elevated within its boundaries.

    What kind of freedom or equality are women settling for? It’s like women are becoming “house negroes” (Malcolm X) and thinking that it’s liberation.

    I would like to say that my position seems to give women a free pass. I don’t actually do that, in the full scope of my thinking. Because of the historical lack of power and therefore lack of equality, women have often been trained to seek out men who can support them. That is also an objectification. Now they can become ‘masculinized’ and be taken seriously in the workplace (by men), I guess.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Hiya Jeannie. Just was thinking about you two days ago. :-)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baritone –

    What is a word called that, when you hear it, even if it’s a made-up word, the sound of it is so…definitive that you automatically know what it means?

    “schwanstuckers”

    I’m still chuckling….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Hi Cindy – welcome back!

    I would like to say that my position seems to give women a free pass. I don’t actually do that, in the full scope of my thinking.

    Actually, in my experience women are often much tougher on women then men are. As for myself, it was always very difficult to supervise women – I always had the almost-irresistible impulse to give them the work that was less physically demanding…and if I did that, then no matter how chivalrous my intentions, I’d have been guilty of sex discrimination. Fortunately, in my experience the women seemed to have a stronger drive to prove themselves in a man’s world – I very, very rarely had to counsel a female subordinate on her work performance.

    Of course there are men who are tough on women, too – we call them insecure misogynistic jerks.

    I think I’ve told you before that I honestly think that women are generally smarter than men…and that we men are just lucky that women haven’t yet discovered that they don’t need us anymore.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Hurrah for Breitbart for exposing Democrat creeps!

    Yeah! And hurrah for Breitbart carrying around a picture of Weiner’s kibbles and bits on his cell phone. Too bad he couldn’t resist the lure of Opie and Anthony long enough to keep the pic on lockdown.

    That, too, is better than a Hollywood script.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    onomatopoeia
    Guys, Irv of ‘Irv & Al’ was in the hospital.

  • STM

    Russia is a matriarchal society, believe it or not. Of course, as history will show, it doesn’t always wortk that way in practice, but it is nevertheless.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene – thanks. I thought that’s what it was, but I was too lazy to look it up…but the word was priceless.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Irene (78), thanks for the notice. I hope he’ll be OK. Whatever one may think of his behaviour here, I wouldn’t wish hospitalization on anyone.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    OK Glenn and Dr. D. Russia a matriarchal society? That’s interesting. Well, goodnight.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I have insufficient data to argue either for or against, Irene.

    Although I will note that Russia did produce, in Catherine the Great, one of the most formidable female monarchs in world history.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I don’t get how Stan considers Russia to be matriarchal, in any sense of the word, and especially in the sense that I mean. Men have dominated in Russia just as they have elsewhere.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    (Hiya Glenn :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Stan is right, Cindy. Read up on Wolff’s five-part series on capitalism. In the twenties, there was a nationwide movement to liberate women from the chores associated with household. Look up Wolff’s personal website. I believe part III deals specifically with the situation in post-revolutionary Russia.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Roger (HI!) A movement to free women from household chores sounds, not like evidence of a matriarchal society, but more like feminism, the kind you’d find here in the paternalistic US of A in the 1950’s

    Well…maybe not. Some mid-twentieth c. Household Appliance Salesmen advised, “Get more wife, less housewife.”

    What you’re describing sounds more like the “Husbands, Why Don’t You Unload the Dang Washing Machine Once in Awhile, Now that I’m Working a Full-Time Job Outside the Home, Too” movement of the 1970’s, and that truly WAS feminist, but again, within the context of a paternalistic society.

    I’d be interested in hearing more about what Stan was talking about. He was qualifying his answer right off the bat, so it sounds like he’s thought the matter through a bit.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Not that you haven’t, Roger, but he dropped that intriguing bit of information and then we heard nothing else!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Wasn’t quite like that, Irene. Women were very much a part of the revolutionary vanguard. The brief phase I’m referring to had less to do with feminism but with a recognition, yes, by the males, that women were being exploited in the course of performing their household chores. And it accorded with Marx’s theory of labor as surplus value.

    Anyway, I’m keeping my fingers cross concerning an upcoming article. Will let you know as soon it’s a done deal.

    Good hearing from you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger and Cindy –

    I’m not sure that we can call Russia matriarchal, but just last night I was watching a PBS documentary called “The Desert of Forbidden Art”, and there was a part of it that addressed how the Soviets brought freedom to the women of Uzbekistan. It was the Soviet version of ‘freedom’ to be sure, but it was a heck of a lot better than four wives per husband, veils at all times (except for in front of the husband), and education for all.

    For those BC cons who would consider it reactionary and even treasonous to give the Soviets credit for anything, that particular segment was the only nice thing the documentary had to say about the USSR. Of course, since this was PBS, maybe saying lots of bad things about the USSR was their way of trying to keep away from the GOP’s budget ax since it’s been declared that Sesame Street has a gay liberal agenda….

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    I wish these interesting comments were not attached to the Weiner thread. It was good for a few semantic giggles at first, but I think the matter is now one for New Yorkers, and Mr. & Mrs. (who is pregnant) Weiner to work out. But the author Baritone did bring up the question of male/female differences here, so I guess this is where it will be continuing. I have to go now though.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Glenn, didn’t see your ? to me about race until just before I had to leave this a.m. but an answer is there, now. See you later…again.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    I think calling a society “matriarchal” may vary depending on the perspective. I wouldn’t say what the Soviets did for women would render their society matriarchal. Again, it sounds more like a liberation, although the result was likely that it freed up more women to work in the factory or the fields rather than tending to house and home. Not sure just how “liberating” that was.

    One of my collegial forays was into the world of anthropology. Studies of social structures was at the crux of much of the course content. Labeling a society “matriacrhal” had a lot to do with inheritance. In most patriarchal societies, inheritance has traditionally followed the male family line. The female family line is usually followed in a matriarchal society. Also family relationships are, in a matriarchal society determined through – well, the matriarch.

    I think what is being considered here has more to do with who traditionally “wears the pants” in the typical family structure.

    It DOES follow that in some true matriarchal societies that women are more often at the top of the hierarchy and are more often considered the leader of the family unit and are awarded posts of leadership in the community more often than men. The men are sent out to bring back dinner while the women consider the agenda for the next Rotary Club meeting. :)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    The Soviet women of the period wanted to work in factories, etc. in order to advance the cause of socialism. USSR was under severe economic pressure from the Western powers which were intent on proving the Soviet system to have been an experiment that was destined to fail. The Soviet workers, men and women, were acting out their patriotic impulses, not unlike the German workers in the period preceding World War II.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    That may be Roger, but it still doesn’t make it a matriarchal society. Just one which bamboozled everyone – women included – into believeing that it was their patriotic duty to serve the Union by slaving in a factory instead of in the home.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    How much more bamboozled can you get than believing that slaving in the factory or wherever is going to secure for you the American dream? USSR was in dire straits under constant economic pressure from the West. Economic development was not a luxury but a matter of the nation’s very survival. Most of the Russian people accepted these realities and their participation was not imposed from without but voluntary; they considered it their duty. But I’m talking of the early stages, not going beyond the 1930 anyhow.

  • Baronius

    Russian culture has traditionally had a just-under-the-surface contempt for everything masculine. The men have their work and government and armies and other stuff to keep them busy during the day, but the women run the household and that’s what matters. So STM is right.

  • Leroy

    Most human societies are matriarchal.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Stan and Dave would be best equipped to expand on this matriarchal Russia idea, since they’ve both lived there. But it strikes me that Russian women are fairly invisible in public life unless they need to be exploited for something. A good illustration is the role of women in the country’s space program.

    Only two Russian women ever flew in space during the Soviet era, and both were selected primarily for propaganda purposes. The first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, was selected because the USSR was at that time engaged in a “let’s see what we can do that the Americans can’t” one-sided tit-for-tat war.

    The second, Svetlana Savitskaya, first flew in 1982, shortly before Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She flew again two years later, shortly before Ride’s scheduled second flight (which would have made her the first woman to go into space twice). On that second mission, Savitskaya also became the first woman to do a spacewalk – beating astronaut Kathryn Sullivan, who had been scheduled to achieve that historical first on the same flight as Ride.

    Savitskaya was later named as the commander of an all-female mission to the Mir space station, but the flight was cancelled, ostensibly for logistical reasons.

    To date, even though post-Soviet Russia still has the most reliable, efficient and cost-effective manned space program, only one other Russian woman has ever gone into space. Although the Russian space agency has trained more female cosmonauts, there seems to be a strong cultural resistance to actually letting them fly.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    How so Leroy?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Bar – maybe so. But again, it depends upon what sphere you are talking about. It’s certainly true that Russian women appear to have very little impact in public life. Typcially, when they are seen, it has been historically a means to manipulate international perception.

    I don’t pretend to know all that much about Russian society, or any foreign society for that matter. Obviously, women in every society have power and influence at some level – even presumably in radical muslim societies. But, from an anthropoligical point of view, there are very few truly matriachal societies and none that I know of amongst any countries of the world.