Yeah, you know, I hadn’t thought of it that way. Until now, I’d regarded Weiner as a near-pathological liar willing to torch any straw man within arm’s reach in his frantic desperation to shift blame and hold onto power, sweet power.
But after reading Baldwin, I’m thinking of just two words: Mayor Weiner.
My thought on Weiner is that he is a very busy man. Like most, although not all, politicians, he probably spends a great deal of time going to meetings, raising campaign funds and seizing upon every opportunity to remind people of how great he is as a public servant and a human being. It’s exhausting. He exists under a constant pressure cooker of self-analysis and public appraisal. Like other politicians, he needs something to take the edge off. For some people, regardless of occupation, that could mean booze, drugs, gambling, food or shopping. For high functioning men like Weiner and other officials who have lived through such scandals, who are constantly on the go, that leaves one tried and true source of a reliable high. The affirmation that comes when someone lets you know they want to sleep with you. Or even cyber-sleep with you…
Weiner is the modern, high functioning man. The fact that he is married is just one, albeit a huge, factor. I know many people who divorce over such issues of online betrayal. Appointment sex with your spouse doesn’t always arrive when you need it most. A modern cell phone, loaded with contacts of willing fellow players, has a table with a red checkered table cloth ready for you at virtually any time.
Is that right? A guy who thought it’d be a good idea to take off his underwear, snap crotch-eye-view photos of his junk, and then e-mail them to strange women operates under intense “self-analysis”? Say what you will about The One (or George Bush), but his day’s pretty hectic too and yet somehow he’s managed to refrain from check-out-this-bulge overtures to 21-year-olds. Since we’re doing armchair psychoanalysis, though, here’s a smarter take from Ace:
I’m supposed to say, “in fairness,” that Baldwin says he wasn’t justifying Weiner’s behavior, just explaining it.
I don’t think much is needed on the explanation front, really. He’s a horny guy, and that special and dangerous combination of narcissistic/arrogant but deeply insecure/haunted by feelings of inadequacy. Those go together all the time, and it results in a literally jerky personality type, veering from indulgent crybaby to swaggering bully in an instant, and usually marks someone who’s headed for a big fall.
He relished that women thought an erstwhile dork was hot stuff, yet he saw himself as enough of a big shot that he figured they’d never, ever tell. (“Self-analysis”!) Low status and high status, simultaneously and erratically; high-functioning has nothing to do with it. In fact, if he were more “high-functioning,” working on legislation instead of doing schtick on MSNBC and daydreaming about being mayor, maybe he would have had less interest in extracurriculars. Since we’re just spitballing here.
Ah well. Weiner’s loss is Alec Baldwin’s gain. Via Nick Gillespie and Reason, here’s Weiner musing on another possible culprit for the Twitter “hacking” a few days before the truth finally came out. Gillespie thinks he’s serious, but I think this was just another of his lame jokes aimed at defusing the scandal by somehow playing it off as no big deal. Didn’t remotely work. Not so “high-functioning.”