Until next time, Carlos Danger
It’s a shame that Anthony Weiner became a caricature of himself during this year’s New York mayoral campaign. In a field bereft of bold ideas - not to mention the sort of cult of personality New Yorkers crave - Weiner had the clearest policy proposals. He also may have been the smartest person in the race.
But a 23-year-old with a readymade nom de porn pushed Carlos Danger into sociopolitical quicksand. And the harder Weiner fought, the deeper he sunk (POLITICO already has a list of his 10 best moments). It was sad to see a bright young politician crash and burn - that is, until you remembered that Weiner’s compulsive lying and cybersex fetish spoke for itself.
Needless to say, every time he took the floor, I tuned in to see the car crash in slow motion. Case in point: Acting as if he had already conceded the race, Weiner played the withdrawn, analytical cynic during the last Democratic debate, educating the candidates how to - and how not to - attack frontrunner Bill de Blasio. A few days later, he forecast the weather on New York’s WNYW station. Weiner even yelled at a voter in a 2Pac-esque fit of rage, “Who are you to judge me?” - apparently forgetting that he is a professional politician. (Though the fact that the man had lobbed a racially charged bomb onto Weiner’s wife almost made you feel - dare I say sympathetic? - to Senor Danger.)
Call me voyeuristic. And pessimistic. But I doubt any rhetoric will change in the general election, even now that Weiner and tabloid-busting sidekick Eliot Spitzer have been knocked out. Weiner did so poorly that even John Liu beat him. I’d want to flip off the camera after my concession speech too.
Maybe there’s a future in cable news for him. That line of business has a history of psychotic personalities. I’d watch.
“In the next Place, I would recommend this Paper to the daily Perusal of those Gentlemen whom I cannot but consider as my good Brothers and Allies, I mean the Fraternity of Spectators who live in the World without having any thing to do in it; and either by the Affluence of their Fortunes, or Laziness of their Dispositions, have no other Business with the rest of Mankind but to look upon them. Under this Class of Men are comprehended all contemplative Tradesmen, titular Physicians, Fellows of the Royal Society, Templers that are not given to be contentious, and Statesmen that are out of business. In short, every one that considers the World as a Theatre, and desires to form a right Judgment of those who are the Actors on it.”
— The Spectator, No. 10, 1711
“Keeping the truth to yourself is not really lying. This is the way American industries, including the industry of mass entertainment known as the National Football League, work these days. There is nothing you can do to make them change the way they do business unless you hit them so hard that they bleed from the teeth for six months and their leading executives face the imminent probability of an extended survey of institutional dining within the federal penal system. And since that almost never happens, there is no crime against the public safety that ever really gets solved.”
— Charles Pierce in “The Crisis” on Grantland.