GET OFF MY WIENER (not political)

That was fun right? Everybody is making lots of jokes about Rep. Anthony Wiener (D-NY,) his eponymous body part and other photos. Comedians, joke-tellers, pundits, pontificators and others are having a great time with this situation and making good money out of it.

Now, I said that this is non-political and it is but, of course, politics gets involved because he’s a politician. So, besides all the jokes and wise-cracks, there’s also plenty of call for his resignation from both sides of the aisle. His colleagues are suddenly stepping away from him as if he fell into the muck-tank and managed to climb out and is now sitting on their collective porch. Even President Obama couldn’t resist making a comment, stating that he would be personally embarrassed. Somehow he couldn’t say that Wiener has been given a leave of absensce by the House, has entered treatment, and let it go at that. Or just said that he’s got nothing to say on the matter. Everybody acts as if Anthony Wiener, one of the House gadflies, suddenly stinks like a large, dead, beached whale.

Why is this? What’s wrong here? The man has said he’s got a problem, admitted to God, himself and (several/many) other human being the exact nature of his wrongs. He’s said he’s going to get treatment and has done that. Why is he a pariah? What horrible thing did he do?

I don’t know. What I know is that the man sent some revealing photos of himself to people to whom he was not married. As far as I know the photos weren’t viewed by the recipients as “harassment” or unwelcome.  The people to whom he sent the photographs weren’t underaged, as far as I know. What I’m saying is that these were acts between, or among, consenting adults.

So what did he do? Why should he resign? Beats me. He said he has a problem and has begun treatment for that problem. I thought that was the American way. I can think of any number of people in public life who’ve had problems, have sought help for those problems, and we’ve embraced them for having the courage to face their demons. Betty Ford & Robert Downey, Jr. come to mind pretty easily. Shrub (OK – not so embraced by all.) How many times did Lawrence Taylor get busted for using drugs & get sent to rehab without his team mates and members of opposing teams screaming for his ouster? What about the Mick? Mickey Mantel (or Mick Jagger, for that matter.) Loads of men and women in the Arts go to rehab & then capitalize on the story (see my earlier blog entry “Anonymity A Quaint Idea? Not Really” for how I see that bit of stuff.)

Yeah, yeah. I get it. All those worthies went into treatment for drug & alcohol abuse, not a sex scandal. Well, get over it. It’s all poor impulse control kiddies. It’s not even about “poor judgement” and, if it was really about being some kind of “role model” then Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth would have been dragged through the mud instead of being The Mick and The Sultan of Swat.

It’s all about learning to face those demons, however they choose to attack. It’s no less moral to send a picture (to someone who is willing to receive it) than it is to go driving drunk on the freeway on a regular basis and is certainly less dangerous to life and limb. We’ll celebrate the singer who goes to rehab umpty-nunkle times for booze & blow, but not the politico who sent someone a photo of his (oh, really. Don’t make me say it, Okay?)  Let’s get over it. The man has a problem. He’s taking care of it. Done.

Any questions? Comments? Rebuttals? Post a reply to this (or any other of my posts) on this site. I promise I won’t bite and I’ll even try to mount an intelligent response. No promises about the intelligence or intelligibility of the response, but I’ll try. I’ll even make a special effort to be civil. Let me know what you think.

Thanks – Jay

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5 Responses to “GET OFF MY WIENER (not political)”

  1. Nancy Cap LCSW says:

    I could not agree with you more. Leave the guy alone. He did not break the law. Stop making him feel guilty. The Republicans are such hypocrits!!! You are absolutely right, its all about impulse control or lack thereof. He says he has a problem and he is going to do something about it. Thanks for your refreshing comments.

  2. admin says:

    Nancy,
    I was purposely staying out of the political realm with this post because I think that everyone, and I do mean everyone, has behaved badly, with the possible exception of Charlie Rangel, who has his own set of problems.

    It’s not just the Republicans. Democrats behaved badly by distancing themselves from Wiener like he was contagious. Wiener lied in the beginning. I don’t blame the Republicans any more or less than I do the Democrats because the point of my post wasn’t about blaming someone for making political hay with this. My point was very much about respecting someone who needs and asks for help, supporting someone who needs support.

    I work with substance users & there’s a saying in that world: “The only time you should look down on someone is when you’re giving him a hand up.” The only one who seemed to be able to “get” this and live by it was Rangel, which makes him a better man than a whole lot of Wiener’s colleagues.

    And, yes – he did not break any laws of which I’m aware. Yes, he feels guilty, but that’s a good thing. If he didn’t then we’d be dealing with another animal entirely, wouldn’t we?

  3. Helen Barron says:

    I have also been thinking about why what he did seems to be worse than what others in high places have done. I think people might consider him to be on a lower level, what he did seems dirtier and perverted….being alone and taking photos of his genitals….than say, people who have affairs.
    After Clinton’s affair, his popularity increased…is that seen as more manly? what people expect?

  4. admin says:

    I can’t really say why what Weiner did seems more repulsive than people who have affairs. I suspect that President Clinton’s popularity increased because of his “beating the rap” (the impeachment proceedings) as opposed to him having had the affair.
    I don’t know that a guy taking pictures of his genitals is necessarily a strange thing (I haven’t seen the studies) but, to paraphrase and repeat what one of the correspondents on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart pointed out, guys are more impressed with their genitals than women are with men’s genitals. Again, I haven’t seen the studies. What I do know is that people seem more creeped out by this than by some more direct form of infidelity. Why that’s so is a great question – perhaps someone has a definitive answer….

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