If a congressman hadn’t already confessed to posing for stud-muffin photos and using them to troll for chicks on CraigsList, I wouldn’t have given this Anthony Weiner story a second thought.
But now, when I see that a congressman stands accused of sending photos of his loincloth-draped hm-hm to a young, female Twitter follower — well, for politicians, there is no longer a presumption of innocence where matters of gross behavior are concerned.
As of this moment, if you are a public office holder, I think we all automatically assume that you are, as we speak, downloading topless drawings of Peppermint Patti.
And journalists have become part of the unsavory soup, right Wolf? Really, can you imagine David Brinkley asking Tip O’Neill, “Wouldn’t you know if those were your underpants?”
Even a stand-up guy like George Stephanopolous was falling into unintended straight lines like, “Anthony Weiner insists that he only wants to talk about the big issues.”
And it’s tough even on quasi-journalists such as myself, because, frankly, I have by now exhausted my stockpile of naughty politician jokes. Sorry Rep. Weiner, but if you had wanted to get in on my classic “member of Congress” joke, you should have been Tweeting six months ago.
And good luck figuring out the truth. The story was, one hates to say “exposed,” by that arch-conservative loon who was disgraced over his false Department of Agriculture expose.
So right off, you think, “there he goes again” — except that Weiner didn’t really deny anything. He said he complained to an attorney, but not the police.
Here’s how it usually works: If you are innocent, you call the cops; if you are guilty, you call a lawyer. And Weiner seems to have fallen into this trap of — we’ve all been there — forgetting what his own crotch looks like.
And speaking of looks, did you actually see his Twitter account? One question: What’s with the hair? It’s like if Bob Ross had been a member of the Bee Gees.
It’s also a little squirrely to me that a majority of his followers were college girls. Nothing wrong with that, I admit. It’s just that you’re more likely, if on the up-and-up, to be followed by people of your own age and social status. For example, my own Facebook page looks as if I’ve been friended by 200 Archie Bunkers.
And I think that gets to the heart of the matter. Political males don’t have a problem with sex — they have a problem with electronics. Any politician over 30 (and aren’t they all) just doesn’t seem to have a good, workable handle on technology.
Think of it, from email to Craig’s List, to Twitbook to online call-girl services, men have been brought down by their failure to understand that any communique you engage in over the public airwaves is liable to end up — over the public airwaves.
Except that with Rep. Weiner, we seem to have turned a corner. Doesn’t look as if he’s going to be brought down, and he doesn’t seem to even be terribly bothered. His defense has come alarmingly close to, “Yeah, so?”
We might be entering the territory where elected pigdom is the accepted norm. Like, remember the days when politicians used to be embarrassed to be caught on the take from big oil or financial corporations? Same idea.
And it’s to be expected. Electronics just provides a whole new arena in which politicians can demonstrate their stupidity.
Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tune in to the Rowland Rant at www.herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable’s WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.