Much to the chagrin of the local tabloid headline writer, at this point it's probably safe to say that Anthony Weiner will not be the next mayor of New York City. But something odd has happened as this golden age of dick punmaking in the name of journalism draw to a close— suddenly, we're talking more about the behavior of women associated with Weiner than about Weiner himself.
In case you missed it, here's what happened to the Weiner campaign yesterday: the New York Daily News ran a cover story written by a former Weiner campaign intern named Olivia Nuzzi, who had less-than-flattering things to say about her former employer. Among them: that Weiner called her "Monica" (get it? Because she is an intern and Monica Lewinsky was also an intern and blow jobs and also it's 1998 and you're Jay Leno.) and that most people working for the campaign were doing it so they could become BFF's with Huma Abedin, who would then hire them to work for an as-yet-unannounced Hillary 2016 campaign. When TPM
asked spoke to the campaign's communications director Barbara Morgan yesterday (on the heels of a move that was kinda sleazy and opportunistic on Nuzzi's part), they received an obscenity laden anti-Nuzzi rant so filthy it made Pulp Fiction sound like Reading Rainbow. Morgan called Nuzzi a "fucking slutbag," a "twat," and a "cunt" who would NEVER WORK IN THIS TOWN AGAIN. Morgan later released a statement claiming she thought the conversation was off the record and that she called that slutty twatcunt Nuzzi to apologize. Wonder how that conversation went.
All this on the same day that Weiner's e-mistress Sydney Leathers had a meeting at a porn studio and appeared on Howard Stern's radio show, where she trashed her former virtual paramour, calling him a "needy little bitch."
Meanwhile, at the New York Times, more hand-wringing about the way the sexting culture is reducing women to sad totems of loneliness as they pursue men's approval and affection by photographing their body parts and sending them to strangers. Susan Jacoby is Very Concerned that the women who sext are contradicting the very tenets of feminism, because no woman could possibly get gratification from virtual arousal. She writes,
But the “sex” that women engage in with often anonymous men on the Web has nothing to do with pride in one’s body or mind. Whatever women or men are getting out of sex via Twitter or YouTube, it is not recognition of their specialness as individuals. I could call myself Susanna Reckless and post pictures of my much younger self online tomorrow, but the resulting encounters would have nothing to do with the real me.
This just in: feminism means that sex must always be a celebration of one's specialness as an individual. Jacoby goes on say that as a feminist, she finds it "infinitely sad to imagine a vibrant young woman sitting alone at her computer" and objectifying herself. From one woman sitting alone at a computer to another: it's fine. I love it here. I don't have to wear pants or brush my hair or rub the mascara smears out from under my eyes. Sitting along at a computer is great and if I can get off while doing it — extra great. Really. And assuming outdated things about men and women and sex and lust and porn doesn't seem very, uh, feminist.
So what's the score so far? Twat, cunt, slutbag, needy little bitch? The debased compliant woman only pretending to like porn so the boys will like her? Heavens, those are a lot of female-specific insults being thrown around in a scandal that's ultimately about how one male politician's narcissism is channeled through his penis.
Here's an important reminder: none of this — not the puzzling fidelity of Huma Abedin, the human cloudburst of oblivious awfulness that is Sydney Leathers, the devourable tell-all from former campaign intern Olivia Nuzzi, the Slutbag Heard Round the World from Barbara Morgan — would have happened if Anthony Weiner hadn't shown terrible judgment in letting his dick govern his moral compass. The campaign's implosion has been fascinating to witness, and everyone involved who isn't Anthony Weiner's wife and son (although that baby might be a dick; who knows?) is a unique flavor of terrible, but the buck stops at the guy to whom the dick is attached. His decisions led to all of this. There are some who might even characterize his actions as pretty darn slutbag.
Oh, and here's his new campaign video. Dick not included.
Illustration by Sam Woolley.