Monday, July 4, 2011

Wiener shouldn't have been so sorry

 Anthony Wiener has resigned from Congress because of the "scandal" about him flashing his male member in a tweet. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this scandal went something like this:

Respected member of Congress used his cell phone to take pictures of himself, including at least one of his possibly erect penis, then sent the pictures through some sort of cell phone-based technology to more than one woman, none of whom were his wife. It's a juvenile thing to do, something more than one junior high kid has done (I have a nephew who, when he was twelve, faked a gigantic erection in his boxers and posted the photos on Facebook. I thought it was hilarious. I was alone in that thinking; his poor mother clutched her pearls so tightly she nearly strangled herself.)

As usual, of course, the resignation isn't over the original act but over the lying that came afterward. When confronted by somebody with less work to do than their salary justifies (I think it was a member of the media, most of whom should be boxing groceries in supermarkets in Michigan, to be honest with you) Wiener did what every kid does. He denied it. "Nope, that wasn't me. Must'a been some other guy."

Even at that point, he's still not on very thin ice. I mean, who among us, caught with our pants around our ankles, hasn't assumed the mask of innocence and denied the offense? It is the nature of the human animal: "Oops, you think that's wrong ... why no, I didn't do that. Or, at least, I wish I hadn't done it." But, of course, as grownups we quickly realize that a child's response is the fastest way to lose credibility, friends, spouses, summer homes, and everything else that makes life worth living, so in a trice we sheepishly admit, "Yeah, I did that, I'm sorry, it won't happen again, or if it does I'll make damn sure I don't get caught."

And that's exactly what Anthony Wiener should have done. Instead of making up some wild-ass story about hackers and how he was the victim, yadda, yadda, yadda, he should have just said, "Dick? What dick? Oh, that dick! Well, yeah, it was a private joke that got away from me, I'm sorry, it won't happen again. Say, how 'bout those Republicans running for president, huh? Will the craziness ever end?"

At that point, it doesn't matter how much he gets hammered by the press, all he has to do is glare at the offending reporter and ask belligerently, "Do you really want to talk about my dick? Do you?" Man or woman, I guarandamntee you, nobody really wants to talk about the congressman's dick. A man with Wiener's build and physique is going to be able to shame very guy in the room. And women just don't want to talk about that, end of discussion. It's bad enough that he waved it around in the digital world, but nobody wants him to whip it out during a press conference, and that is surely the image that would go through everyone's mind if he challenged the media on the point.

But Wiener didn't do that. Instead of taking the Alpha Male route, which even in the 21st century will back down everybody but Chuck Norris and Rachel Maddow, he made up some cock-and-bull (snerk! I said "cock") story about somebody else hacking his account and pretending to be him. Yeah, he was probably embarrassed about it, and he should have been, but there is no reason for him to be so ashamed of his boyish streak that he denies it altogether. Nobody should be that ashamed over a harmless twitterprank.

In fact, all of this shame over being human really needs to stop. Let the little old ladies in society (of both sexes) cackle and tut-tut all they want about "inappropriate" actions; they are in a very small but vocal minority and don't matter to anyone but the media, who also don't matter any more. I'd like to suggest that members of Congress adopt a WWLBJD (What would LBJ do?) default when confronted by an indignant public. Suppose cell phone technology and Twitter and all that other social networking crapola existed in 1968, what would LBJ have done if he'd been caught sending tweets of the presidential pecker to Washington women? What, you don't think Johnson would have snapped a photo and sent it to, say, Eunice Shriver? ("I don't know about Massafuckinchusetts, but this is how big we grow 'em in Texas!") Would LBJ have apologized abjectly for his "indiscretion" and walked away from office? Aw, hell no! Johnson never even apologized for Vietnam, the mistake that actually did drive him out of office. And he didn't quit because he thought he was wrong, he quit because he thought he couldn't be re-elected.

No, LBJ was a man to pull up his shirt and show his gall bladder surgery scar to photographers. He was a man who freely discussed his genitals with his tailor on an Oval Office telephone that was being recorded. Lyndon Johnson was a man with power and he didn't give a good goddamn what people thought, as long as they voted the way he wanted when the roll was called. So, at the risk of sounding apologetic, let me just say, "I'm sorry." No, not about that. I'm sorry Anthony Wiener resigned. He should have manned up at the first hint of scandal and dared anyone to talk about it. The only thing he should have been sorry about was that he didn't include Barbara Walters in the tweet.