All over the Internet, men are photographing their own bodies and sending the shots to women who are maybe not their wives and girlfriends. It's a risk for most any non-professional, but it's one that predictably costs male politicians like Anthony Weiner — and the men before him — so much more. So why do they do it?
"Hottttt." That's the Facebook comment on a video of Weiner speech that launched Meagan Broussard's Internet flirtation with the Congressman, complete with cockshots clothed and maybe less so. "You're so hot," was Rielle Hunter's opening line to John Edwards; eventually, he thought it was a good idea to make a sex tape with her.
"Sorry. Its all I had," wrote married Republican congressman Chris Lee. All he had was a shirtless photo, which he sent to a woman with a Craigslist personal ad. There went the career of a "family values" politician.
In the Venn diagram of narcissism, the overlap of men in political office and men whose sexual narcissism verges on self destruction is increasingly visible. If you want to blame the Internet for anything, blame it for manifesting — and giving an outlet to — what surely must have always been present: Men (and they are still overwhelmingly men) who not only want your votes but for you to adore their waxed pecs. And they think they can get away with it.
"Somewhere James Carville is thankful that Bill Clinton didnt have a cellphone with a camera back in the 90s," tweeted a Republican state representative from Minnesota. Indeed.
These guys have already taken the human urge to be adored and made it their career, alongside whatever notions of public service. With so much at risk, taking their flirtations and affairs to the internet is their biggest mistake. Marital fuckups are far from uncommon, and from the outside, what do we know about a marriage? For these men, all we know is that they knew what they stood to lose, fairly or unfairly, by putting their peccadillos in an endlessly replicable format. And then they clicked send anyway.
A sociological study recently claimed that women with low self-esteem are more likely to post photos of themselves on Facebook. But who is more pathologically needy than the male politician?