I recently blogged about Milwaukie Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, and his 65-game suspension from professional baseball. I was unimpressed by Braun’s flimsy written statement, which fell well short of contrition.
The most disingenuous and manipulative part of the statement was the first line: “As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect.” Braun had not, in fact, ever made such a public acknowledgement, but what galled me more was the implication that if fans, teammates or the media were disillusioned by his behavior, they had no one to blame but themselves. After all, he’d warned them that he was flawed, hadn’t he?
I was reminded of this self-serving position last week, when Anthony Weiner grudgingly acknowledged his most recent sexting scandal. “As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife, and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress.”
Such a careful parsing of words! What was it that extended beyond his resignation – the marital troubles, or “things” like posting lewd photos online? Regardless, the inference was similar to Braun’s. We can’t blame him since he warned us back in 2011 that more embarrassing facts could emerge. (Did he? Am I the only one drawing a blank here?)
Well, now that that’s cleared up… we can all move on. Right? Please?
Anthony Weiner is like a child who makes up his own rules, just as he’s about to be tagged “it” on the playground. “No WAY! No fair, I’m SAFE! I CALLED TIME OUT!”
Since the Weiner scandal broke, the former congressman has been quizzed about how many more digital paramours could come forward. I’d argue that the tally ceased to matter once it was clear that he continued sexting AFTER his resignation from Congress, AFTER he claims to have entered therapy and WITHIN ONE WEEK of posing for People magazine with his wife and son, hinting about a mayoral run. The guy is pathologically dishonest.
To me, the big story is… Weiner can’t even provide an ESTIMATE. HE SAYS HE’S NOT SURE. How is it possible not to know how many people you’ve been sexting with? He’s either completely out of control, or so predisposed to lying that he still can’t bring himself to come completely clean. Maybe he’s so deluded about his intellect and so ambitious to be mayor, he still thinks there is something to be gained by hedging.
I have been wondering how many men, when caught dead to rights in an indiscretion, get creative about the duration? Once, a married male friend confided in me – out of the blue – that he’d been unfaithful to his wife years before. He claimed the affair lasted just three weeks. Three weeks, I wondered? How many men have affairs that last less than one month?
I later learned from mutual friends that the affair had in fact lasted months longer; he’d looked straight into my eyes, and lied about it. I still scratch my head about this. Why did he bother confessing — since I had never suspected and it was none of my business anyway – only to lowball how long his affair had lasted? If his goal had been to get it off his chest, how much guilt can a half-truth alleviate?
Watching Weiner, I am reminded of John Edwards, and the public revelations of his affair with Rielle Hunter. Edwards also clung to his lies well past their expiration date. In her book Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities, his terminally ill wife Elizabeth wrote about the day he revised his account of his relationship with Hunter. I paraphrase as follows:
“Honey, remember when I said it was just a one night stand, and that the baby isn’t mine? Well, I wasn’t entirely honest.”
“OK, what part is true?”
“Um… none of it?”
The Weiner debacle has become so sad and tawdry, as a former New Yorker I have to avert my eyes. Polls show him in fourth place among the mayoral candidates, and most voters say they wish he’d drop from the race. He’s making videos, eluding to the City’s 9/11 fortitude as the reason he won’t bow out, and flexing his hipster vernacular as he describes how New Yorkers “roll”. He’s even suggested that his still-burning shame will make him a better mayor. (Don’t ask me, I don’t understand it either.)
“It’s not about me,” Weiner says. “It’s about the citizens of New York.”
Listen, there is an entire Wikipedia page devoted to Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal, and that fact alone should preclude his candidacy for higher office, don’t you think?
No one really cares how many more of his BFFs are out there – even if he finally told the truth, we’re way past the point of believing. If he is truly devoted to New Yorkers, the greatest gift he can give them is to unplug the Wi-Fi, step away from Instagram and maybe take an extended vacation to Pennsylvania Amish country.
I’ll even pitch in for bus fare.