Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Ick Factor

Oh my. How the mighty have fallen. I mean me. I don't generally write about salacious sexual issues... Honest, I don't-- even though I might read about them :) So this week-end when I first saw the articles on Anthony Weiner, I didn't remotely think I'd end up writing about it. I mean it's icky.

I can handle an affair, even a Gingrich level affair, better than this. The idea of men or women sending sexually explicit photos to strangers to evidently entice them, why it's just plain icky and not something I'd like to think any politician I respected would do. It's kind of a twisted ego thing that is beyond me.

Years ago I was exploring people profiles on Yahoo. Maybe you've done it. Maybe not. But anyway it said want it to include adult profiles? Now that didn't even occur to me what that would mean. I thought I am an adult; so I said yes, give me those too. Good Lord... ick and double ick. What on earth would make a man or woman want to put out such photos of just one part of their anatomy. I might add these were not clothed which the one supposedly of Weiner was-- barely.

Anyway I have always found the very idea of such to be as I said-- icky. It's not sexy. It's not free spirited. It's just plain weird to think people value one part of their anatomy more than the rest. Let me say that it's not just men who did that. (making my keyboard feel unclean to even write about it).

So why would I write about it? Well because it's beginning to look weirder and weirder. If you have avoided the story and don't want to know more about it, quit reading right here.

The gist of it is that supposedly he was sending this bulging underwear photo to one woman but goofed and sent it to all 40,000 of his followers on Twitter. Incompetent to say the least. It was quickly taken off the site but not before a Weiner critic had conveniently seen and saved it. What a convenient happening and of course, that guy, who was looking for just such a thing to happen, sent it right to Breitbart (who is also high on my ick factor) and who pretty much guarantees to the left that this is a set up.

Except, not so fast. Why is Weiner not going to the police with what he claims is a hacking? This is serious stuff and yet he hasn't done that. He says he doesn't want to talk about it and his denials are looking a tad strange about now. Why does he follow these young women which includes evidently a porn star?

And what the heck is wrong with men today? *Okay I am laughing*

Anyway the last word on this was Stewart which I didn't see last night but found this link online with a video of Stewart's take on it. Very funny but the photo is there if you really didn't want to see it.

Okay basically I don't vote in New York. If I did, well I have to admit that him doing this, if he did and lying about it, might impact my vote depending on who was running against him.

You know, it's not just the ick factor but the ego thing that would get me. How blindly egotistical would he have to be if, knowing how these things come out (even if it had only gone to the one woman it supposedly was intended for), he'd done such a thing? It doesn't really seem to me he's that kind of person from all I have seen... but then how much do we really know about any of these people?

If it's him in the photo (Stewart doesn't think it can be given he has a long term friendship that went back to being young adults and swimming together), I would guess a divorce might not be too far behind as one person knows for sure who it is...

And there's more-- now Weiner is saying he can't say the photo wasn't him... So he has such photos (who on earth would want to take or have such pictures), but just didn't send it this time to that woman?


Ingineer66 said...

He is clearly guilty. He keeps changing his story and has now hired a lawyer. If he really wanted to prove who did it, he should call in the FBI or Capitol Police to investigate. Their forensic computer cops could get the IP address from where the message came from in about 20 minutes.

Rain said...

I do not believe it's clear he's guilty yet. For one thing it's not a lawyer but a firm that does internet detective work and can determine how it happened. His argument is that he doesn't feel this is something the FBI should waste their time on. He thinks it's a joke based on his name. If it was hacked, then it's the Breitbart types who are doing a lot of crooked stuff to take down their 'enemies'.

Rachel Maddow had a very good show on it tonight with an interview with Weiner. It's worth seeing for anybody who didn't catch it live. I didn't find a link up to it yet but it's worth watching for how this kind of thing can be done. Makes you wonder about these social networks.

IF Weiner did it, it matters; but it's not by any means a given that he did with the way the right does things these days and we've seen plenty of it from Breitbart types. He swears he's innocent because he just puts up what they give him. Yeah right...

la peregrina said...

Rain, I agree taking photos of what we teach our children to call their "private parts" is icky.

When I first heard about this story I knew it was a set up. Weiner's wiener? Come on. Even so, I agree Weiner's is doing a poor job of refuting the story.

I went to the John Stewart link and think his point that so-called television news journalist are not doing their job but instead let anyone with an agenda come on to their programs and say whatever they want without first verifying the facts of the story which is one of the reasons why I find TV news so contemptible. We no longer have news stories instead we have sound bites.

As for the photo itself, since this story broke I have heard the phrase "lewd photo" used and imagined it was the same type of photo that Brett Favre had taken of himself. Imagine my surprise when I finally saw the photo on John Stewart's show and it turned out to be as lewd as a men's underwear ad.

Rain said...

Daily Kos did a good look at this with determining the photo was taken with a different camera than Weiner usually uses. Which doesn't mean it wasn't him. To me it looks like it was taken with a webcam, just guessing. I agree though that it's not exactly the most explicit photo but sending it at all would be the ick part. If he took it for his wife or a girlfriend, then nothing ick about it but to send it to strangers, that's where it goes into the kook zone for me.

And here is Maddow's interview. Really excellent for those who care about the issue-- interview with Anthony. Jon Stewart was good on it last night also with as usual a lot of humor.

For those who think it doesn't matter, I think it does when it's stranger to stranger but if it was a personal affair, then I'd say, no it doesn't to me.

We live in a culture with a lot of social media and the idea of hacking into it is disturbing to many of us. The idea that someone would send something out in my name to my facebook list or anything I was connected with, well I don't like it one bit. It's pretty obvious they can do it if they want as things stand and the only reason it doesn't happen to more of us is we don't matter.

In the case of Weiner, he sees it as an innocent pranking. To me it's not looking like that. It's looking like the swift boats, the birthers, and a political element in this country who have radio and TV stations, papers that call themselves newspapers but are really just interested in demeaning and tearing at others (yes, I do mean WorldNetDaily who provides a forum to those like Corsi). These people will do anything shady to get their way all the time talking about how superior they are to others. Breitbart is at the top of that list.

Frustratingly Americans have often been gullible and easily swayed. I think stories like this about Weiner do matter for if he did it, it matters and if he didn't, it matters as much or more because of who did.

One thing I don't believe-- that it was a prank. It was intended to take him down. He needs to take it very seriously whichever the case!

Kay Dennison said...

I elected not to blog about this.

Jon Stewart makes his money being tacky so I ignore that.

I don't think he did it -- he isn't that stupid.

A reader at Matt Yglesias' blog did an experiment and came up with this:

yFrog is obviously not a secure site.

And I'm not so naive as to believe everything I read online. But I also don't think that Anthony is that stupid.

Rain said...

Jon wasn't tacky about it. He was honestly dealing with the fact that it's a friend of his and he didn't like having to cover it and yet he does a comedy/news/journalism program and he really had to because it is funny. He also defended Weiner.

Last night Jon had on Bill Moyers for a fascinating discussion about doing interviews. Moyer compared Jon to Mark Twain for this era and I'd say that's pretty accurate from what I have seen. He is crude though and if people are offended by that, they should avoid him :)

This is a good article also on the Weiner issue-- Media behaving inexcusably on Weiner twitter photo.

I think it matters and the very idea that we are that vulnerable to someone sending out something (or maybe putting it onto our blog as from us) that doesn't make me happy. It's a media we need and use consistently and yet it is very vulnerable to misuse. I had not heard of the frog thing until this but do have an online place I put my photos which I am told I can keep private there... hoping that's so...

la peregrina said...

You are right, Rain, this is important. I had not thought about the implications of this story.

Rain said...

To me, it's beginning to look more like he did it by accident and didn't intend to send it to who he did. The girl whose name was on it thinks he might've meant to send it to the porn star whose name would be beside hers on the follower list. If so, his saying he didn't send it to the girl would be a fudging.

I don't have twitter, don't want it but have since read how easy it is (change one letter) to send it to a whole list by accident; so he's online, twittering about other things to everybody, takes (with laptop webcam) and maybe sends the photo in the midst of it, instantly sees it went out by mistake and deletes it. He hopes nobody sees it except he was being watched by the Breitbart type of guy who jumped on it as he figured Weiner was up to this kind of thing with the names he had on his list.

It is looking more and more to me like he did it and the fact that the photo might've existed on his hard drive as he has admitted makes it even more likely he did it. Idiot! Be interesting to see how it impacts his marriage.

I don't think it'll matter to Democratic voters IF he was sending it to a porn star who he'd been chatting back and forth with and who was into that kind of thing. Stupid but not as bad in an ick sense as to a complete stranger.

In the future, unless more pops up (pardon the joke but it lends itself to it) he is likely to win elections because of the kind of people that the right are nominating right now. What choice does a dem have? Vote for someone who wants to lower taxes on the rich, ignore environmental regs, and gut SS and Medicare? A politician who has an affair but still has the right views on the job, he won't be losing votes to someone who would do what all those Republican governors have been doing like ending Planned Parenthood on a phony justification that it saves money... yeah right...

Robert the Skeptic said...

This type of controversy seems so trivial to me; Europeans wouldn't give the story the time of day about their politicians.

But then again we are fixated on whether gay people should marry, whether we pray in school, arguing if evolution is contradictory to religion and a host of other inconsequential stuff. Meanwhile "we fiddle while Rome burns". Sad.

Rain said...

No reason we can't pay attention to both. What this story is is human interest. It's the kind of moral dilemma that any of us could face and more a real problem in our lives for our choices than what to do about drilling off shore.

We vote for politicians because we trust them and they claim they espouse beliefs we share. Then they let us down when they vote in other ways. How many times are the little moral choices they are making impacting the big ones?

This one gets me though because if he didn't do it (which I find increasingly unlikely), then it shows the vulnerability we all have to have things done supposedly in our name.

I also think it matters because he's been a politician who has stood up for liberal values and losing him would hurt. So to me it's that he did it but I'd likely still vote for him for that reason. (Unless he'd tried to send it to a young, innocent girl who he didn't know and then all bets would be off for my vote).