The Nose: Weiner's Digital Infidelity & Why We Love To Boycott

Our panel rounds up the week in pop culture and politics.

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The Nose: Weiner's Digital Infidelity & Why We Love To Boycott
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The Nose: Weiner's Digital Infidelity & Why We Love To Boycott

I find it difficult to think about the mess currently embroiling Anthony Weiner without also thinking about Virginia Johnson, who died this week at 88. She was one half of Masters and Johnson, the research and writing duo who opened up sex as a discussable topic.

If you're too young to remember 1966 when their landmark book came out, it may be hard to imagine how little open talk of sex there was in America. The shift is not simply that we live in a sex-saturated world, but that nobody so much as looks over his shoulder before beginning a pretty graphic conversation about sex. The other shift is toward the normalization of what Masters and Johnson would have called a fetish.

Anthony Weiner is a strange guy, but is he that unusual? The number of people using various functions on their phones and iPads to "have sex" with people they never actually touch is a sexual voting bloc not imaginable in 1966.  

You can join the conversation. Email or Tweet us @wnprcolin.



Email from Kim

If Weiner wrote erotic fiction, would people freak out? In the 21st century, some people write fiction interactively and include images. Public reaction to this case seems to say more about fear of creativity than about the substance of Weiner’s consensual adult encounters. If I were Huma, I would find Weiner’s behavior way, way more ethical than if he went out and brought home cancer-causing HPV. (And yes, HPV causes head, neck, and throat cancers in men as well as cervical cancers in women.) I would much prefer him to someone like Jonathan Edwards.

In 1997, I took an informal survey, which just means, I asked a lot of people in conversation. My question: “Your significant other is having cybersex on a regular basis. How do you react?” At the time, the question stunned people. They just had no basis for answering. Most were puzzled and got really reflective about a felt sense of internal conflict. More than fifteen years later, the question seems passé to me. It seems like it really shouldn’t be that shocking or weird for people to consider Weiner’s activities within the sphere of common human behavior. As a people, we have much less concern with systematic rape and other sexual behaviors that cause lifelong emotional trauma, create unwanted babies, and spread HIV and other diseases. We have much less concern about sex as a commodity: human trafficking, forced prostitution, and girls who are brought up to believe that they have nothing to offer the world other than sex and therefore must use sex to capture economic support from a man. Why are our concerns so upside down?

Email from Tim re: Boycotts

We changed our vacation plans from Aruba after the murder and cover- up that followed.

Email from Brian

Maybe it's a good thing that a politician is bad at hiding his secrets, and honestly, if this is the worst that Anthony Weiner has in his closet, I'll vote him into the Presidency.
As a wise man once said "Freaky-deakies need love too"
(quote from Tracey Morgan on 30 Rock)

Email from Matt

It goes to a man's character. ALL decisions and inclinations a person makes or has, is ultimately sourced from a man's character.

When that no longer matters (which it appears is now), we no longer have leaders but people that TALK about being leaders.

When people say that "personal life" can be separated from "public life" it makes me sad for the future of civilization.

Email from James

I wonder the following about Mr & Mrs Weiner: is it possible that these two people have a sort of alt-sex relationship within their marriage and that Huma is not really embarrassed by Tony’s behavior but just the fact of it’s becoming public?