Just Plain Stupid

Seriously, dude? You’re not some frat boy, you’re a congressional representative. You shouldn’t have to be told “no sextweets for you,” you should know it on your own. And if you didn’t know it, that other congressional representative — from your own state! — who made an ass of himself on Craigslist earlier this year should have been a warning. But, I don’t know. Maybe you thought this was the sort of thing that only happened to Republicans. Surprise! Married Democrats probably shouldn’t do certain things either, and mailing around pictures of your swaddled member is one of them.

Ugh. I’ve been waiting for this particular announcement since Weiner admitted that he couldn’t be sure the picture wasn’t of him. I’m going to say it again: One probably does know one’s own package, and at the very least one also knows if one makes a habit of sending ill-advised pictures of one’s self of the Tubes. As soon as Weiner employed that particular hedge, the clock was on the play and it was just a matter of time until he either he admitted it, or the evidence piled up at his door. Weiner picked the more honorable route in terms of dealing with it (that is, after having lied about it to begin with), but once more: Dude. What were you thinking. And the answer, quite obviously: He wasn’t thinking at all, or more aptly wasn’t thinking with his brain.

For the record, I have no real issue with people sexting or sextweeting or sex-whatever-ing their little brains out; if it gives you joy, go ahead. Everyone has their hobbies. That said, this particular hobby does come with repercussions and responsibilities. Toward the former, as suggested earlier, this is one of those hobbies contraindicated by high-profile public service, especially if one has no stomach toward owning up to it when caught (and one would be caught sooner than later). Toward the latter, the relatively newlywed Mr. Weiner should have disclosed to his wife his little hobby, which he apparently did not until this morning, which was no doubt the least comfortable conversation in the history of the Weiner-Abedin breakfast nook.

If she had been fine with it — and who knows? There have been stranger things — then, well. Still not smart for a congressman, but then it would fall under the “hey, their life” category. But, look: When you’re married or otherwise in a deeply serious relationship, all the cards are out on the table. No one likes surprises, and more to the point, your spouse (or the equivalent) deserves better than to get a surprise like this.

In sum: Stupid. Just plain stupid.

62 Comments on “Just Plain Stupid”

  1. In his statement, he did say something about his wife knowing about this “hobby” before they were married. It seems she just didn’t know the truth about this particular incident until this morning.

  2. Yep – majorly stupid on his part, for someone in public life to get into a hobby like this. Gues he was letting the little head do all of his thinking for him. He was supposed to be the one who was really good at social media, too. God only knows what the ones who are bad with social media are up to!

  3. You’re right. Very stupid. The least he could have done is put sunglasses and a trench coat on it so it would be harder to identify. Or maybe dress it up in a little pirate outfit.

  4. Except for his wife, it’s no one’s business and he should have just said that in the first place and said ‘F… you.’ to everyone else.

  5. What I don’t get; certain positions/jobs/careers benefit from a type of decorum that may preclude common everyday activities or at least some form of minimal discretion. And when you enter in to these areas, it’s generally with open eyes to these restrictions. So why go and flaunt things (no pun intended) so flagrantly? I just don’t understand. You’re in a position where you want people to trust you or at least listen to you and weigh your words carefully and then you just go and blow it? Totally WTF for me.

  6. @4, pez dispenser

    Exactly, his private life is his private life (unless his private life makes him a hypocrite, like gay-hating pols being found to be into male congressional aides or having a “wide stance” in bathrooms) and if this type of behavior isn’t out of pocket for his marriage then it shouldn’t matter a lick to the rest of us. But he lied and that’s what has me disappointed.

  7. It’s incredibly stupid for someone with the name Weiner.

    Forget any progressive stuff he’s done. This will be his legacy.

  8. I know I’m not the most socially astute person in town, but even I know better than to do this. When I goof up, my wife is the first person I tell. Usually she laughs, and tells me I’m worrying over nothing. If that’s not the case, she helps me figure it out, forgives me, and we go on with our lives. If I had done this … I can’t imagine that happening. Even before we were a steady couple I was much more discrete than this. At least he owned up to it and apologized to everyone who’d become entangled in it.

    Him and his wife, yes, until he lied about it. “Yes, I did a really dumb thing and deeply regret it. I apologize to everyone I harmed, and hope they’ll forgive me. Next question. … Asked and answered. Next?” And it would have been over in a day.

  9. @ #4, #6,

    unless, of course, the photo was unsolicited, unexpected, and unappreciated. In which case it does go far beyond simply “whatever floats his boat”

  10. I’m afraid I’m not having much luck getting very het up about this. If we still had 30-minute news instead of 24-hour news, we wouldn’t even have to know this. Wouldn’t that be lovely? I wouldn’t have to get daily updates on Sarah Palin vs. Paul Revere, either.

  11. @9, PJ the Barbarian

    True, I was speaking with the assumption that it was cool with the parties actually involved. If he’s doing what amounts to digital flashing that’s worse than the lying IMO.

  12. I’m under the impression that the recipient didn’t want the picture (since, after all, she went public with the image rather than deleting it or adding it to a private collection). So as far as I’m concerned, ‘sexually harrassing stalking porno-sending scumbag filth’ comes well above ‘filthy lying spewbag politician’, if an order needs to be designated. ‘Too stupid to breathe unassisted’ need not be ranked.

    If the recipient did want the photo, and he blew the privacy settings so that she had to throw up her hands and say whodunnit, then I’ll drop the ‘stalking’ designation but stand by the ‘scumbag’.

    If his wife’s cool with it, let him send the pix to her. Preferably as a private message.

    Now, about those other five or six women he mentioned — have they got collections of similar photographic gems? In Weiner’s place, I might worry about all those images.

  13. I am so confused…I’ve been chatting with random people online for twenty-five years, many of them female, and I have yet to send anyone private pictures of my anatomy. Am I doing it wrong?

    Seriously, though, Twitter? The least secure of all ways to send people something on the Internet? I hope he’s not on any technology committees.

    In regards to “harassment”, twitter lets you block users, which makes it hard, at least from a legal standpoint, to call any messages “unwanted” from that standpoint. The recipient certainly could have blocked all further messages from him.

  14. Louise: good point: I was assuming that this was a harmless mutual relationship. If this is unsolicited junk-photos to someone who didn’t express an interest in seeing his junk, then that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

  15. I’d also like to point out, as someone who’s been neurotically dishonest at various points in the past, that in my uneducated opinion he’s showing signs of a serious problem here.

    I mean, he’s able to say one thing that’s completely false (“I did not send that tweet”)
    but he’s not able to follow it up with another? (i.e. he never said “that’s not me in the picture”)

    To me, (and I’ll reiterate that I’m not an expert, just someone who’s had his own serious problems) that’s evidence of some screws loose.

    Why draw the line at two lies, but not one?

  16. @HarmlessEccentric: Yeah, that side of it didn’t really occur to me until I started to think through the “well, his life, his wife, his (or their) porn, buuuut . . . ” I seem to recall that the recipient (can’t remember her name) didn’t seem too happy with the wee giftie.

  17. Sextweeting from your business account, which you use to conduct professional business, is absolutely the business of your employers. Since his constituents pay Rep. Weiner’s salary, it is the business of every one of them.

    If he had been sextweeting from “Weinerdog3637” or whatever, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass.

  18. @12, Louise

    I’m under the impression that the recipient didn’t want the picture (since, after all, she went public with the image rather than deleting it or adding it to a private collection). So as far as I’m concerned, ‘sexually harrassing stalking porno-sending scumbag filth’ comes well above ‘filthy lying spewbag politician’, if an order needs to be designated. ‘Too stupid to breathe unassisted’ need not be ranked.

    She didn’t go public with it. According to a letter she put out (one in which she didn’t claim to even really know Weiner), she claimed that it was deleted before she even saw it. The photo was brought to the attention of Breitbart by a conservative blogger who has been on Weiner’s case for a very long time.

    Now, whether or not it was a solicited pic or not, I’d hope, at least, it was, that way he’s just a liar and not a scumbag liar.

  19. Incredibly stupid — especially in this day and age of Everything Being On The Damn Web. I know people who will not allow pictures of themselves to be taken, because everybody’s got digital cameras, and they’d really rather not have even innocent pix out there, let alone anything spicy.

    For what it’s worth, I already filked it. ;)

  20. When your politicians use online technology the same way as a horny teenager, you know your country is screwed.

  21. @John Scalzi,

    You mention “sex-whatever-ing.” I have not been able to find this particular utility on the site, could you give me further instructions on how to utilize this new utility?

  22. Benny, utility utilization is currently in closed beta. Barring unforeseen delays, it should be ready for wide-release by late Q3.

  23. Once again Breitbart is shown to have gotten the story correct even though everyone on the left was practically burning him in effigy.

  24. scorpius, he frigging rushed the mic to congratulate himself at the press conference.

    When a troll is correct, he’s still a troll.

  25. Considering all the slander the left has thrown at him I can’t blame him for “rushing the mic” to push the fact that he was correct. It’s called PR. He knows that if he doesn’t aggressively erase from the public’s mind that he “lied” they’ll just go on believing it regardless of it being false. He knows this from his own experience with the left-wing lie machine.

  26. Scorpius, et al:

    1. Breitbart indeed got this particular story right.

    2. This isn’t a thread about Breitbart, so let’s not make it about him, please.

  27. any one else find it particularly… fitting? that someone named Weiner is getting into a bit of trouble over his, well, wiener?
    I must admit, this whole story makes me giggle, if only about the sheer stupidity some people seem to be cursed with.

  28. It just cries out for a Weiner’s Eponymous joke, but I’m just not that clever. This whole story simply makes me tired. For all the reasons @5Gilmoure mentioned, and because it just keeps happening. It’s like a mass neurosis. Are they expecting the public reaction to change? Good luck with that. At what point in the future will mass broadcasting of unsolicited images of one’s private parts–via Twitter or however–cease to be dumb, even if it was accidentally dumb? I think that future would probably have to be classified as science fiction or alternate history.

    Maybe you can rule on that, John.

  29. So I’m thinking (always dangerous)…if this weren’t the government, but a corporation, whose executives kept getting caught in scandals like these, at some point, it would be justifiable to say “These people are so irresponsible, I refuse to do business with them anymore.” But it is the government, which I guess means we’re not allowed to throw up our hands and say “I don’t want anything to do with any of you anymore.” Which leaves…what? Is any citizen without a nasty personal scandal in their past obligated to run for public office? Because I don’t particularly want to join Congress, given the quality of the co-workers I’d have.

  30. Part of me thinks that if this was solicited then maybe it wouldn’t be as bad, but if you’ve been on the web at all you got to realize that, yes it’s just as bad if not worse, since if he didn’t know the person IRL it could be anyone on the other end of it, trying to gain some dope on the Rep. In which case, why are you so dumb as to send that pic?

    It’s amazing how many people who are like, damaged in some area of their brains get elected to higher office in this country. All because they have an “honest face” or something. Like The Doctor said, “you can’t be a successful crook with a dishonest face now can you?”

  31. It amazes me that these idiots continue to make the same mistake. And I’m not even talking about the idiocy of being in a public office and sending a dick pic. I talking about denying it.
    Had he just owned up to it, stating up front that it was a private matter, the entire thing would have lasted 48 hours.
    But since it was clear from the start that he was lying, the media hounded him, we all watched and it became a huge drama, Now, we all ignore real news while we watch the equivalent of a Geraldo show unfold on CNN.

  32. I’m still amazed that it keeps happening. Are they stupid or just arrogant?

  33. There must be some great headlines for this story out there, but I haven’t seen them.

  34. No one likes surprises, and more to the point, your spouse (or the equivalent) deserves better than to get a surprise like this.

    Well said. That, I think, is the worst part of this story or any story like it. When someone in a committed relationship makes a decision to engage in this behavior, they have to know that it will likely end up with their loved one in significant emotional pain. It’s just…mean.

  35. I just don’t get it. His wife is a pretty damn fine looking woman. How do you do juvenile stuff like this on the side when you have her to come home to?

    I know it’s about ego and power and all that kind of stuff, but for crying out loud!

  36. PeterM@39: Not mean, deluded. There are people who would never knowingly hurt their spouse, who genuinely love him or her, but who think they can get away with a little extracurricular activity because what the spouse doesn’t know won’t hurt him, or her.

    What’s even more deluded is a cheater who gets caught once, then does it again thinking “I’ll do it better this time.”

  37. JohnW @40 — Most of the studies (as well as the anecdotal evidence) I’ve seen about cheating suggests that attractiveness of the partner (or perceived attractiveness of the partner) just isn’t a factor.

  38. Lol, lying to the public about the stupid shit you do on the internet, is one thing. Not fully disclosing to your wife, until the day of, that you are still doing stupid shit on the internet, even after you are married, calls into questing his character. No wonder she wasn’t up there with him. My only question is do you think he should have resigned or is it only a matter of time until he does?

  39. Just want to add that before this happened this guy told Bloomberg’s very pro-bike whatever-her-title, Sadik Khan, that he “couldn’t wait” until he was mayor so he could preside over “ripping out all your f*cking bike lanes.” Anyone who ever suggests that somehow this country lost a valuable public servant over this, just remember that line about his intention to rip out all the bike lanes. I am so glad this ended his career, I could care less how.

  40. PeterM@39: Not mean, deluded. There are people who would never knowingly hurt their spouse, who genuinely love him or her, but who think they can get away with a little extracurricular activity because what the spouse doesn’t know won’t hurt him, or her.

    Good point. You’ve got to wonder whether the people that engage in this sort of behavior think of the endgame. All too often, they do not, and that just makes me sad for everyone involved.

  41. I understand what drives people to crave national attention and run for office. The power is intoxicating. Risking it all for something so incredibly trivial astounds me, but it shows just how out of touch and bulletproof they think they are.

    Think about how Congressmen exempt themselves from the laws they pass for the rest of us. I don’t care what you think about the new health-care law. If it’s the law, it should be the law for all of us, but it isn’t. Congress should never be able to exempt themselves from the laws that we have to abide by, but they do it all the time.

    Weiner isn’t a Representative, he’s a Ruler. He simply forgot that even the Ruling Class has rules.

  42. If Weiner were smart (OK, more “wise”) he’d “fall on his sword” and resign. He’d have no problem securing a lucrative position and, since his district is reportedly “Conservative”, he will be facing a tough re-election battle.

    Of course, if Weiner were smart he’d have left it at a simple denial or “no comment” and not gone so aggressively against his detractors.

    Now Weiner’s damaged and will not be able to go anywhere near as far as he wanted to in politics.

    Too bad, he did give a good absurd political performance when he was on the news shows.

  43. Thank you John for pointing out that the real shame here is the fact the Weiner lied to his wife. He really did nothing to hurt the American people. His personal life really doesn’t concern me and as long as he didn’t use government resources and time to conduct his little sexting indulgences, then I really don’t care. I suppose other representatives might masturbate for release, don’t know, don’t care. I don’t think this makes him a villain or unfit to hold office. He lied to buy some time and it was ill-advised to do so. Wish he’d talked to his buddy Jon Stewart about it first!

    I caught the tail end of BBC Radio last night and the news reader said “…an American Congressman has admitted to sending photos of himself in his underpants…” I have to say, the use of the word “underpants” as opposed to “underwear” makes the whole thing seem so much sillier and ridiculous. I think that’s what it all is: silly, ill-advised, adolescent behavior. And maybe an indication of some sex trouble, but that’s for others to speculate upon!

    Also saw Breitbart whining this morning about being blamed. Boo Hoo. You make your living digging up trash on people, so really, sometimes you’re going to get accused.

  44. Benny Brustad had the same thought, but I have to agree that sex-whatever-ing does sound like an invitation to use these forums… inappropriately.

  45. How does one start a conversation with your significant other about such a hobby?

    “Good morning dear.”

    “Morning sweetie.”

    “Would you like eggs for breakfast?”

    “Boy, would I ever. I like eggs almost as much as I like sending out pictures of my wang.”


    “Hey, look Bugs Bunny is on!”

  46. New congressional rules:

    1. Tweet not thy wang or other jiggly bits.
    2. Especially if your name is Weiner. With a name like weiner, wang-related news will remain news for quite some time.

  47. Christopher@50: How does one start a conversation with your significant other about such a hobby?

    Would you really want to start that conversation? Significant others can make some startling revelations too, “since you brought it up…”

    Oh, and can I ask a favor of the public at large? If you’re diagnosed with a potentially fatal condition, would you go ahead and clean out your email folders, or at least encrypt them? Your heirs will appreciate it.

  48. This is between him and his wife. I don’t care who he sends pics of his weenie to. That being said, it shows remarkably bad judgement, as does him lying about it. Seriously, the first step to not accidentally publishing a picture of your junk is to not take that picture in the first place.

  49. This is between him and his wife.

    Yes, but not only between them. Because there’s upwards of a half-dozen women who were on the receiving end of Weiner’s generosity. And I would hazard a guess that at least some of them didn’t ask to get a picture of Weiner’s dick in their email.

    Really, I don’t think there’s many women around for whom an unsolicited dick photo constitutes seduction, or playful flirtation. It’s harrassment.

  50. Too bad he just did not let the raw thing flail about, now that would have been even more entertaining.

  51. Stupid, yes. Harmless, no. Anyone who is this stupid has no business holding a public office. Worse, I don’t think women were asking for these pictures. That makes it harassment. A crime.

    And really – what is it with men in public office? Is there some gene that predisposes them to both powerful positions and idiocy? Is it the old and ridiculous idea that women are booty for powerful men?

  52. I recently finished reading YOUR HATE MAIL WILL BE GRADED. For sheer genius, I think Weiner ranks right up there with the Florida politician discussed in one of the essays, whose excuse for lewd behavior in a public bathroom was that he offered to go down on a total stranger in a public place because he was afraid of getting mugged.

    Hey, doesn’t EVERYONE offer sex to avoid a mugging in a public bathroom?

  53. Kari @54 – I care who he sends the picture to if that person did not solicit such a message. The young woman in question here tweeted something about her ‘boyfriend’ Weiner. She had never met the guy, she just liked his politics, thought he was cute. Last time I checked, that was not an invitation to send such pictures. Not publicly, not privately, not at all. In fact, I am pretty sure the only time it is acceptable to publicly send pictures of yourself to a total stranger is well… never. And that “never” translates to large, neon-lit letters if you are in public office. Because frankly, it is stupid, it is disgusting, and it says things about your character and your intelligence that pretty much don’t translate into “trusted and effective public servant.”

  54. To me, the desire for political office is a form of mental illness. So aberrant behavior is never a surprise.

  55. I honestly believe that at least 2/3rds of our national level politicians are sociopaths or psychopaths.

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