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Thursday, June 16, 2011

The dick has twittered

No jizm trail on a blue velvet dress, just a grey bulge:  it's like reading a Rorschach blot
Maybe, someday, better, more informed heads may prevail and the real significance of the Anthony Weiner business will be examined in terms of what actually happened and in context.

The Weiner affair is about sex and no one had sex. Or came close to it.  That we know of.  

The new media has intruded upon human communication in ways that merge real life and virtual life.  It has also made a generational shift in terms of who sets the customs and standards of society.  That shift, however, has been in motion for some time.

Adolescent culture has become dominant.  It became so when businesses realized that young people comprise a huge market force.  It began when the music business focused on adolescents in the kind of music it sold, and that expanded to entertainment, particularly the movie business.  Every summer we experience a weekly release of films that aspire to be blockbusters, films that are so popular to weekend movie-goers that they return millions and millions of dollars above their production costs.   Adolescents, and people of that mental age, comprise the largest part of those weekend audiences.  So the movies are created to appeal to their tastes.  As is the music, now issued through iTunes and other MP3 media sources.  And the clothing industry focuses on teen-devised fashion as a major component of its design and production. 

Mobile phones and the other computerized communications devices have also been designed to meet the interests of adolescents.  It is hard to imagine  teenagers without  mobile devices held to their ears.  Teens dominate the social media.  They were the first to appear in pubescent nudity on web cams.  They invented what we call "sexting" and the use of mobile phones and their applications for implementing their social divisions and exclusions, which includes the electronic forms of bullying.  Teen society reverts to the social instincts of the dog pack, the chicken flock, the cow herd.  It is primitive.  It is brutal.  It is motivated by the quest for status and power.  It is not moderated by those concepts of equality and justice that are the province of the better angels in human nature.  Those are the concepts of examined experience and maturity and education.  

 Anthony Weiner got caught up in the social media by conforming to the customs and behavioral practices common among our children.  He flirted as adults in real life do at cocktail parties, and then dismiss the suggestive talk as the work of their libations.   He apparently enjoyed the titillation of corresponding with women in ways that verged into sexual innuendo.   The factor in flirting through the social media that is seldom present at cocktail parties is that it leaves a textual-sexual and image record.  That record, when found, can be used as ammunition in the malevolent warfare we now accept as political discourse.  Weiner's indiscretions became the dominant focus of political propaganda writers and the media.

An often cited charge among Weiner's exchanges with women is with a 17-year-old girl from Delaware.The texts show no sexually suggestive messages, but rather an adult politician cultivating a potential supporter by using what he apparently regarded as a teen-hip level of communicating.  Still, his messages to the young Twitter follower are presented as suspect because of the nature of the messages he made with five other women.  

The significance of that focus on the young Delaware woman is how easily the media and the public can be led into a salacious frenzy through imposing their obsessive preoccupations onto banal exchanges.  Weiner's plight says as much, if not more, about the state of our culture as it does about Weiner's foolery.  

Weiner's serious offense was that he lied so flagrantly to the nation and to his leadership. That calls into question any trust placed in him.  

Now Weiner has announced his resignation and the media, Congress, and the public can get back to the serious business of hunting down another wienie to satisfy the quest for titillation and indignation.  

When Isaiah  said a child shall lead them, he probably did not mean that we would adopt childish, Lord-of-the-Flies society as the model for adults.  But it has come to pass. 

Paul had a different take in his letter to the Corinthians:  "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned as child;  when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways."  But that is not the American way. 

1 comment:

Douglas said...

Democrats again fail to frame the issue with any force.

Deal should have been that Weiner retires within 5 minutes of the two or 3 Republicans who have done far worse and apparently escaped the ire of their hypocritical cohorts retire.

Every time the press hammered Weiner, he should have responded with an attack on the GOP pandering to rich contributors.

They probably would have forgotten about him in one press cycle.

In any case, Weiner is an irresponsible jerk.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States