Listen boy I’m getting tired of you

28 07 2013

Anthony Weiner is an idiot.

Yes, for the obvious reason of thinking he could get away with sending crotch shots (solicited and not) to and sexting with women not-his-wife, but also for thinking this latest revelation was No Big Deal.

He did intimate, in that long groundwork-for-a-comeback piece in the New York Times Magazine that there were  more sexts out there and they might surface, but as others have pointed out, he also implied that these, uh, indiscretions were looooong behind him.

Hence the more-damning-politically idiocy: He didn’t come clean when he had the chance. Had he said, in the long ground-work-for-a-comeback piece, that it took him awhile to get himself under control, that the sexting continued through the summer of 2012, he would have opened himself to  tough questions about his habits and appetites, questions he managed to duck when he resigned his Congressional seat and retreated to private life.

But in taking that opening, he would have inoculated himself from the derision which attends the latest revelation, forestalled the contempt attendant on the lies about the extent of his crotch-shotting, and thus might still have had a shot at becoming mayor.

I guess he still does, but this past week that shot became a whole lot longer.





The matches and the Buds and the clean and dirty cars

23 07 2013

More inanities:

1. Trickster loves ice cubes. If she sees me grab one out of the freezer she jumps over to wherever I am to bogart the cube.

It works.

She doesn’t get the popsicles, however.

2. Anthony Weiner stated months ago that there likely were more pics of him floating around in cyberspace, so. . . there you go.

I take it I’m supposed to be upset that these pics apparently date from the same time in which he was trying to get his life back together, that they were from a year rather than two years ago, but POLITICIAN LIES ABOUT SEX is not exactly news.

Anyway, I can’t be arsed to care much since I don’t support him in the mayor’s race. If he wins I’ll be upset because I think he’s too conservative and I’m not at all convinced that he would actually be a good mayor, not because he turns into a thirteen-year-old boy in the presence of a smart phone.

I thought he showed terrible judgment when this first came out, but I also thought it wasn’t worth resigning his seat over. If his constituents decided to vote against him because he flashed his dick, so be it, but as what he did was just kinda-creepy, but not illegal, it didn’t debar him from the House.

And I was sad to see him go, not because he was a great legislator—he was a terrible legislator—but because he played a particular role in the House and for the Democrats that I think is crucial: as the self-appointed pain the ass, the rat-terrier barking at and occasionally biting his and his party’s opponents.

It would be terrible if everyone in the House behaved in this manner, but in a chamber with 435 members each party needs its pains-in-the-ass. The GOP has rather too many of these at this point, and the Dems, too few. Weiner’s resignation was a loss for the Dems.

And if he wins the mayoral primary, that, too, will be a loss for the Dems.

3. Yes, I bought a new fan. Not as quiet as the old one, but still, pretty good.

Doubt it will last almost 30 years, however.

4. I’ve been following this story, mainly at The Slog, about the hunger strike among California prisoners, and am glad to see this bit by Rob Fischer at the New Yorker.

Am not at all glad to see that prison officials are considering force-feeding the protesters.

Jesus fucking christ. I am not a progressive but this is the twenty-first century: can we not figure out a better way to deal with criminals than this?

I get that some people really cannot live in society, that by their deeds they should be keep apart, but is this really the best solution we can come up with?

5. I’m listening to Q with Jian Ghomeshi and the guest host is talking about flip-flops with Dana Stevens.

Dana Stevens is against them anywhere outside of the shower or the beach. I am with Dana Stevens on this crusade.

On the other hand, that people insist upon wearing them oot-and-aboot gives me a chance to be smug: Whenever I see a rat on a subway platform, I get to say “and this is why you shouldn’t wear flip-flops in the city.”

6. I am also, for the record, against people clipping their nails on the train.

Gotta have some standards, doncha know.





I didn’t want to do it

7 06 2011

I do not fucking want to write about Anthony Weiner—but here I am, writing about Anthony fucking Weiner.

He’s an idiot, and by this I mean: he’s an idiot.

Not a criminal, not a pedophile, not a man so vile he must be hounded out of Congress.

No, he’s a horny guy with poor horny-impulse control who as a high-profile warrior in our current political wars had to have known that taking him out (temporarily or permanently) would be a sweet, sweet success to combatants on the other side.

I do feel bad for his wife, but as I am not his wife, how his wife responds to him is really up to her. Not to me, not to anyone else.

I am not one of the recipients of his tweet-pics, and in no way have had any sort of relationship with him; how those women or the people who do have some sort of relationship with him is up to those women and others.

I am not (currently) one of his constituents, but if I were, I wouldn’t be demanding his resignation and, come the next election, if I thought he were the strongest candidate, I would vote for him.

And I think, really, his political future is up to him and his constituents, and whether they think his legal-but-idiotic actions indicate something political significant about his character or not may be one of the factors they consider in deciding whether or not to vote for him. That’s how it should be.

I may have mentioned once or twice or thirty times before that I care about policy. Policy policy policy. Shitty husband? Don’t care. Shitty mother? Don’t care. Asshole to your staff, kinda care, but I’ll take the asshole with the right (which is to say, left) legislative agenda over the sweetie with an authoritarian agenda. I might prefer that sweetie as a friend or neighbor, but as representative? No.

Nor would I in any way be shocked by a right-wing counterpart who cut her voting cards in a way exactly as I do. I’m irritated by do-as-I-legislate-not-as-I-do politicians, but I completely understand why a conservative voter might hold her nose and vote for the cheater/closet-case/hypocrite to prevent a non-conservative from winning.

I don’t have a whole lot of patience for those who excuse their side for engaging in the same behavior that they criticize in the other side, but even there, I get the rationale: My team is always right. (It’s a principle, I guess, albeit one rather absent of, er, principle, but tribalism has its role in both politics and sports.)

I’ve not-written an essay beginning with the phrase “Morality is ruining politics” for over a decade, but I actually do have a highly moral approach to politics: it is a morality based in the purpose of politics itself, which is to say, one rooted in the notion of the public good.

No, I won’t try to write that essay, here; instead, I’ll simply note that I take a compartmentalized as opposed to holistic approach to political character, that is, that I assign different moralities to different spheres of life. Yeah, this can lead to behavior at, say, work, which might appall one’s friends—compartmentalization my increase complication—and one line that could connect these different spheres is to strive, pace Aristotle, for excellence in each field, with the recognition that such excellence varies across those fields.

Virtue ethics folk tend toward holism: if you’re a wretch at home there’s likely spillover in other areas of life, perhaps to the point where moral failing in one sphere might disqualify you from participation in other spheres.

The problem with this approach is twofold: one, the evidence doesn’t support this (i.e., there’s plenty of evidence that bad people can do good things) and two, this assertion of one’s goodness can lead one to justify one’s actions on the basis of that goodness (or, good people can do bad things and excuse the badness of the act on the basis of the goodness of the person—a variation of the Euthyphro dilemma).

The virtue approach is particularly dangerous when comingled with power, to the point that one may rationalize truly horrific actions (see the history of abusive medical experimentation in the US, for example): Because we’re good what we do couldn’t possible be bad.

The compartmentalization approach isn’t perfect, either, and can lead to Gingrinchian rationalizations along the lines of I cheated on my wife because I loved America so much—although, on reflection, he’s actually engaging in a kind of reverse political-virtue ethics, to wit, I’m so good in politics you must forgive me for my private life.

Anyway, you can cover for political misdeeds using compartmentalized political language (my political convictions made me do it), but I also believe, in a way that I can’t quite articulate here, that the risks of unchecked abuse are lower with a narrow political morality than a wider all-encompassing morality.

In any case, I also think that the compartmentalized political morality approach works far better in a pluralistic society than in a more unitary one. We, the American people, do not share one comprehensive view of morality: we disagree not only on approach (comprehensive vs. compartmentalized—or, as I put in a long-ago post, the Legos-vs-coins approach) but on substance.  In short, the more points on which we demand agreement before we can work with one another, the less likely we’ll actually be able to work together.

And I think politics is a sphere for getting work done.

So if I ever move to Anthony Weiner’s district, my question to him will be: Are you getting work done?

If he is, and if I like the work, then what he does after work is really not my concern.