In October of last year, my wife was watching several episodes of the television series, Scandal. She was a latecomer to the political drama, and was catching up on the earlier seasons in her spare time — often as background viewing.
I was putting in a lot of writing-hours on my upcoming book at the time, but when I’d occasionally emerge from my study to eat, or for a breath of fresh air, I’d end up absorbing some of the show’s melodramatic scenes and corny dialogue. I would then, naturally, tease my wife over them, because she had become a fan.
Over a week or so, I gathered that one of the ongoing story-lines of Scandal was that the President of the United States (played by actor Tony Goldwyn) was unable to focus on essentially any of his job duties (even direly important ones) because of his sweat-riddled, romantic obsession with the show’s lead female role (with whom he had once had an affair).
Goldwyn’s character struck me as unintentionally comical, having been effectively derailed, in the country’s highest position of power, by what could best be described as irrepressible horniness.
One time, after joking with my wife about the character’s latest display of sensual ineptitude, I returned to my study and posted this offhanded remark on Twitter:
“From what little I’ve seen of the show Scandal, I’m pretty sure the president was modeled after Anthony Weiner in every possible way.”
Beyond the comparable idiosyncrasies, Goldwyn kind of even looked like the former congressman and New York mayoral candidate. Well, at least they both have curly hair. Anyway…
To my surprise, within no more than two minutes, I had received an email notifying me that Anthony Weiner had become my newest Twitter follower.
“What the?” I remember saying aloud.
At first, I figured it was a parody account, or some Internet troll pretending to be Weiner. But it wasn’t. It was a verified account. It was Weiner himself.
Upon this realization, a few things entered my mind — the first being: Why on earth is this man still on Twitter?
It struck me as inconceivable that he and his wife (Hillary Clinton aid, Huma Abedin) hadn’t deemed a return to social media to be an automatic deal-breaker for the continuation of their marriage. After all, Weiner’s sexual depravities over Twitter are what had cost him his congressional seat, and later an almost certain mayoral win in New York City.
The incidents had also caused him and his family deep, personal humiliation in the public eye…not to mention a lot of domestic strife.
Yet, there Weiner was, still active on the medium that had done him in…multiple times. It didn’t make sense.
Secondly, Weiner wasn’t just hanging out on Twitter. He was scouring the social media platform, looking for any mentions of his name. It’s not as if I had included his account-handle in my tweet, which would have notified him of my reference. No, he had to have been engaged in an active, real-time search for whatever it was that people were saying about him. I imagine he was probably hitting the refresh button on his browser or device every minute or so until he noticed my tweet at the top of his feed.
Keep in mind that this was at a time when he hadn’t been part of a news-cycle for quite a while. He was just eager to follow the online conversations, between strangers, that he was a part of.
Amusingly, Weiner had interpreted my tweet as a compliment (rather than a joke), believed I was a fan of his, and that’s why he had followed me. He even felt compelled to favorite some of my tweets, even replying to one of them with song lyrics (no, I’m not joking).
I knew right then that Weiner was back to his old tricks. His legendary narcissism (well-chronicled in the film documentary bearing his name), coupled with a continual, addictive need to connect online with his admirers, meant only one thing: that it would be just a matter of time before Weiner (and his wiener) would be back in the headlines again, drawing disgrace upon himself and those close to him.
Sure enough, as the New York Post reported last night, bulging-underwear habits die hard. We have ourselves another scandal, and I’m not referring to the television show.
I don’t know what it was that made Anthony Weiner how he is, but I suppose we should just be thankful that he’s no longer in government. Someone addicted to a perception of self-importance, and a constant need for self-gratification, poses an inherent risk to those they represent.
Sure, it’s easy for conservatives like me to mock Weiner (and I certainly have). He has an unfortunate name, he has trashed the Right for many years, and he has a long history of behaving like an obnoxious ass.
But the truth is that the man needs help. Serious help. And despite how nasty of a person I believe he is, I truly hope he finds it…for his sake and for the sake of his family.