Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Posts I Didn't Want To Write. On Weiner. Part I: The Background

As Lewis Carroll wrote:
“"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings”
So I am the walrus and the topic of the day is pictures of peckers and pecs and Representative Anthony Weiner who sent them.

The time has come to talk about that because the media has decided to do. Oh yes. The unemployment may still be 9.1%, the forced-birthers are introducing amendments everywhere to make a zygote more important than the aquarium it swims in, wars are happening. But it's time to talk about penises. As a nation.

I look at this deep wiener question from three angles: First, is there anything in this topic for a feminist goddess to chomp on? Second, what are the political implications of the Wienergate? Are all wieners deemed equal? And third, how is the media doing here? Was it a good idea to ask Andrew Breitbart to take over Wiener's Moment of Public Humiliation press conference and did they ask sane questions?

Here is a rough summary of the events so far:

A picture of a man's gray underpants with a possible bulge was sent from Rep. Weiner's Twitter account in late May:
The photo in question was a close-up shot of a man's underwear, which was tweeted from Weiner's account Friday night. The picture, addressed to a Seattle college student's Twitter handle @GennetteC, was visible to all of the congressman's followers.
Weiner's office over the weekend said the congressman's Twitter account was hacked, but on Tuesday, Weiner resisted answering questions about the incident.

Weiner denied knowing the young woman or sending the picture.

Then Andrew Breitbart, a wingnut cooperative, published more pics of Weiner's body, sent to young women:
Conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart published a series of alleged photographs of the congressman Monday that he said Weiner emailed to an unidentified young woman, including a shirtless photograph. In addition, tabloid website RadarOnline.com posted a sexually explicit Facebook exchange allegedly involving Weiner and an unidentified woman that the website claimed took place in March.
And one of those women came forward:
And Weiner's admission came as ABC News prepared to release an interview with 26-year-old Meagan Broussard, who provided the news outlet with "photos, emails, Facebook messages and cell phone call logs that she says chronicle a sexually-charged electronic relationship with Weiner that rapidly-evolved for more than a month, starting on April 20, 2011."
As the quote states, by that time Weiner had admitted sending the photos and so on. Though as a joke and something that mostly took place before his marriage:
Weiner, who appeared in a ballroom at a New York City hotel, said he sent the initial photograph as "part of a joke," and that he deleted it in a panic after he realized it had been sent to the public. He said his decision to lie to the public was a mistake.
"I was trying to protect my wife, I was trying to protect myself from shame, and I really regret it," he said. He said she knew about some of the online relationships before they were married.
Next came the press conference where Weiner confessed to having had various Internet relationships and apologized to his wife:
A teary Rep. Anthony Weiner apologized on Monday for having "inappropriate" telephone and email conversations with six women over three years, though he said he did not break any laws and would not step down.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi immediately called for an investigation of Weiner's actions.
The New York lawmaker admitted he posted a photograph of his bulging crotch on Twitter, saying he had lied when he previously characterized the photograph as a prank.
"The picture was of me, and I sent it," he said.
He also said he had several "inappropriate conversations" that he described as "explicit in nature" with half a dozen other women over three years - including after he married his wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He said he had not met any of the women.
Andrew Breitbart entered the room at the press conference. The journalists present asked him to step up to the podium so he did, before Weiner entered the room. Breitbart gave a speech and raved and ranted.

Then the Republicans asked for Weiner's head:
A top Republican called on Democratic U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner to resign on Tuesday, saying Congress cannot afford to be distracted by the sexually charged photos and tweets he sent to women.

House Republican Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia became the first top U.S. lawmaker to say that Weiner, an outspoken liberal who easily won a seventh two-year term in the House of Representatives last year, should step down.

"I think he should resign," Cantor told reporters during a trip to Virginia.
And the Democrats were angry:
The Democrats said his sexual indiscretions took the spotlight off an unpopular Republican plan to cut the Medicare healthcare program for the elderly.
"Just as we get a boost from the Republican's Medicare plan, Weiner effectively changed the topic" to his flirtatious tweets and photos of himself, another aide said.
Were the women receiving these communications willing participants? That is the crucial feminist question here. I am unable to find evidence of any who were not but such evidence may be forthcoming. It's actually the important part of the whole story for the feminist analysis which comes next.