Watching Anthony Weiner (AW) continuing to be sucked down (no pun intended) the blackhole of double entendre drenched comedy got me thinking. Why is this such a big deal? I'll tell you.
If you're ever a player in the public arena, you must play by our American social rules.
Image Is Everything
You're probably wondering how my assertion above has anything to do with a politician showing his frankfurter on the Internet and getting caught twice. I believe that we as Americans LOVE to build an image up for people in the public eye and want to retain ownership over that image ad infinitum. We make them out to be good people, bad parents, cheaters, humanitarians, drug addicts, or entrepreneurs. We spend a lot of time on this image and it's a collective art and skill. As long as they keep playing along with whatever society tells them to do, act, say, or think, everyone's happy.
After being caught the first time, homeboy decided to take a leave of absence from Congress (then eventually resigned) and attend counseling for his problem. He accepted the image of "Something is wrong with you. We're telling you to go away for a while and work on this problem. Once you've 'repented' enough (or we've forgetten about you), come back and we'll see what we can do." At that point, he became a broken man with immoral thoughts and mild psychological problems to us and he was banished to Neverland only to return once he grew up.
Deviancy Both Online and Off-Line
When AW decided to run for New York's mayor roughly only 2 years after his fall from grace, he caught the public off-guard. Did he come back too early? Did he truly change in the time he went away? Was he a "better man"? Would he fit the unspoken, undefined, arbitrary metric we'd set for him? We were poised to find out.
He had raised a lot of money to run for mayor and had actually ran once in 2005 (but dropped out) so he had some legitimacy in showing NYC he wanted the job even before his scandal broke. Poll after poll showed that many people felt he shouldn't even run considering what had happened to him in Congress. Apparently two years wasn't enough time for us to forget. However, he was able to become a real contender by acknowledging his faults in a very direct manner and sharing some real ideas for changing things in NYC [Editor's note: I don't live in NYC so I don't know if his ideas are good or bad. I just know he's coming up with actual plans and describing their implementations versus giving us a lot of rhetoric and nebulous ideas regarding change.]. American's love a comeback story. He was giving it to us by defying the odds and winning people, and by doing so, playing to our social rules.
Then he decided to change the cot damn story - without consulting with us!
Weinergate Teil Zwei
AW recently admitted to continuing his sexting ways publicly after more Weiner pictures surfaced for up to a year after he left Congress. He gave the comedy world a second "gift that kept on giving" by adding the new dimension of his online alter ego of "Carlos Danger". He stepped up his efforts to be smacked down mightily by the general public and succeeded. The adage of "Fool me once, shame you. Fool me twice, shame on me" comes into play ESPECIALLY after he was doing so well to win us back. Everyone's asking him to again step down from his ambitions and go away. There's no way he's going to survive this damage to his reputation and campaign.
Or will he...?
AW has refused to drop out of the mayoral race with a defiance that is magical.
Get Your Game Up!
For all intents and purposes, AW knows how he messed up twice and that there's a good chance this campaign was an overall personal and political disaster; however, he presses on in the mere hopes that people will realize sexting ability doesn't directly equate to legislating ability inversely (but if in contrast it equated proportionally, COT DAMN that would be awesome!). He's not taking his eyes off his prize of a position of power no matter who or what tries to thwart him even if it's himself.
What I think people find most offensive about this situation is that AW basically has shown twice that he has no real "game" to speak of. By "game", I'm saying that AW should've never been caught in the first place let alone twice. What subconsciously offends us is that he got caught twice and so easily. It was relatively known that John F. Kennedy was a womanizer but yet he's still considered one of the best Presidents ever. Why? Because he had game both personally and with the press to keep his extra-marital activities on the hush. In today's media landscape, it's almost impossible to have the relationship with the press in order to keep things quiet. When AW outed himself so easily the first time, we lost respect for him. He was just starting to get it back with us until *bam* he showed that he STILL had no game!
The pressing debate is not whether or not sexually-motivated activity would make him unfit to legislate but rather does his inability to keep his behavior under wraps enough to not shatter the images we make for him moving forward? Does he have enough game to live up to a "clean" image while satisfying his needs? If so, Americans can respect that, thus, would be willing to suspend their disbelief and go along with the determining if he's good enough to be mayor. But if he can't, there's no reason for him to continue.
I'd like to see AW win this and defy everything. If he wins, I'll send him a picture of myself: