The People vs. Anthony Weiner: Final Ruling
It’s a good thing I didn’t publish our final ruling yesterday. With news of Weiner’s exit from Congress, several members of the court suggested an emergency ex-parte session to settle the issue of whether or not Weiner is now more of an asshole because, as Justice Sirota put, it, "after all the efforts to lie and cover everything up, he resigned anyway. He coulda saved us all the distraction had he just done that originally.”
There was definitely a contingent in the court that felt that the controversy over Weiner’s schlong-shots was overblown and that by resigning, Weiner would only be legitimizing America’s preposterous political double-standard, in which 99.9999% of all adult citizens engage in icky perversions in private but insist for some reason that their politicians restrict themselves to humping with spouses, in the missionary position, for purposes of procreation. Having already done humanity a disservice by enhancing the legitimacy of human plantar wart Andrew Breitbart, Weiner definitely lost some members of the court by caving in to the media witch-hunt.
In any case, as a result of this emergency session, the vote on Weiner was altered:
Question #1: Is Anthony Weiner an asshole?
By a vote of 8-1 – Justice Schmid the minority nay vote – the court voted yes. His aggregate asshole score was 3,116, which places him below Amy Chua and above Elton John on the Assholeometer. It should be noted that prior to his resignation, Weiner’s score was closer to 1,900. Three judges – Sirota, Whitmer, and Rees – added to Weiner’s score upon hearing news of his resignation.
In dissent, Justice Schmid wrote the following: “It's a shame he lied and denied and all that stuff, but that's the trajectory these things take (deny, deny, deny, lie, lie, deny, tearfully admit, tearfully apologize, check into rehab, write memoir),” she said. “I think it's sleazy and absolutely cowardly, but not something that makes me sit up and scream ‘asshole’… People lie about their proclivities and personal lives all the time. It's not just politicians. And they/we are partly at least forced into it by our culture's messed-up view of sexuality and relationships. So I can't feel the rage ‘asshole’ would require unless harassment, illegality, or hypocrisy was involved. “
Justice Kourkounis wasn’t buying Schmid’s argument that Weiner’s behavior was merely a “shame.”
“It's more than a shame when Weiner's half of this equation is equally responsible for the drawn out rumpus we're going to have to endure,” she wrote, “and takes away from what he should be doing which is working to represent his constituents.” Kourkounis gave Weiner 3,000 points.
Many Justices, however, noted that Weiner rated fairly low on the “Edwards Scale” of political sexual assholedom. Justice Boylan added her own twist to the question. “For me, [Weiner] can't get full marks unless he is also on record publicly as being Oh So Moral. Being an anti-gay, right wing fulminator while having gay sex your own bad self is the best,” she wrote. “So Senator Larry Craig is the gold standard according to the Boylan scale… Weiner is of course an asshole, but to me he's down in the 4000 point range… Anyone who wants to crack the Larry Craig gold standard needs to be very, very ambitious.”
Justice Kreider, who spent most of the debate either a) being mysteriously absent on “vacation” or b) reappearing intermittently to brag about how much television he doesn’t watch and how unfamiliar he is with the various lowbrow pop-culture celebrities we sometimes discuss in chambers (we took bets on whether or not he’d even heard of Weiner – he had), didn’t chime in until late in the debate. He ended up with a Solomonesque opinion, siding with both Schmid and the rest of the Justices.
“As American citizen judging a public servant, I'm giving Weiner a slap on the wrist--450 points--mostly just for succumbing to the same pitiful/contemptible scoffing-imperious-denial/abject-craven-contrition pattern that all politicians caught in scandals invariably do,” he wrote. “I long, with Justice Schmid, for the golden day when some politician will be accused of some sexual impropriety and just own up to it for once and say, ‘Yes: I fucked them; I fucked them all, and it was awesome.’” (see below)
But “as just a guy evaluating a fellow guy's behavior,” Kreider wrote, “I'm whomping him with 650 points for being such a pathetic goober, and not realizing that women are not interested in seeing your willie on the internet.” He added “a cool 1000 for being so sloppy and public about his timid sleazery while he's married--and by the way note that he's been married for less than a year, which doesn't bode well for his 7-year-itch. He also seems like he might be primarily attracted to himself, for which I'm adding another 170 points…”
The Chief Justice ended up having to use a calculator to figure out Justice Kreider’s score, which, needless to say, doesn’t earn him points with the Chief Justice.
I gave Weiner 2800 points. As I noted yesterday, the main reason Weiner to me is an asshole is his sneering, browbeating, “God, I’m so tired of having to deal with idiots like you,” public persona, which admittedly would probably bear a striking resemblance to my own, if I was out in public and surrounded by predatory media as much as Weiner. Because those factors gave me pause, I originally was only going to give him 1100 points. But then letters from some friends and acquaintances got me thinking. “I was actually pretty solidly in the ‘he doesn’t hold anti-dick pic positions publicly, so he’s not a Larry Craig a hypocrite and I don’t care’ camp until [college student] Gennette Cordova said she didn’t ask him to send [the photo],” said Rolling Stone's own Meredith Clark. “If a person hasn’t made it crystal clear s/he wants to screw you and/or mess around online, sending a penis photo is no better than whipping it out on the subway. Those guys are million point assholes, so he is too.”
I kind of feel the same way – I always thought sending unsolicited photos of your pee-pee to strangers was a sex crime. At least, that’s what’s always been holding me back.
Beyond that, I may be old-fashioned, but as a married person, I’ve been a little amazed at how little flak Weiner has been getting for dragging his wife through all of this mess. There are many levels of betrayal in relationships .... For instance, I’m pretty sure you’re a dick if you go to a bar and blab secrets about your wife/girlfriend to your buddies behind her back. And you’re really a dick if you actually leer at other women and stare at them with the old “Wile E. Coyote eyeing a T-bone steak” pose in front of her friends. If you start thinking about it in those terms, I’m not even sure where tweeting photos of your genitalia to strangers all over the country and sexting in semi-public forums (as a nationally-famous politician with a whole army of media watching your every move) rates on the betrayal scale, but I’m sure it’s up there. Recognizing that this is none of my goddamned business, of course, and it’s not my job to enforce fidelity in Anthony Weiner’s marriage, I didn’t give him any extra points for that, but still... ick.
Question #2: Are you automatically an asshole if you claim you can't recognize photos of your own crotch?
Justices generally agreed that you are, indeed, an asshole if you claim you can’t recognize your own crotch. Kreider noted that there might be exceptions. It “depends on the context, I suppose,” he said, “like would I recognize a surveillance photo of my own penis taken with a telephoto lens?” But if it’s a photo you took yourself: “Please Rep. Weiner, sir. You embarrass us both.”
Question #3: Are you automatically an asshole if you publicly tweet pictures of your junk?
Justice Adam Whitmer, in response to this question, sent us all an unsolicited photo of his briefs-encased junk. It is an ugly photo and recalls the horrifying “stripper who turns out to have a dick” scene in Dude, Where’s My Car? He has not yet offered to resign. (NEW NEWS ON THIS: SEE UPDATE BELOW).
Aside from Whitmer, the members condemned junk-tweeting, especially for men. Justice Kourkounis summed things up succinctly. “I would have to say the average woman doesn't get off on photos of a dude's junk,” she said. “I'm sure there are exceptions but I think it's commonly understood that a dick just hanging around isn't a turn on ... it’s just awkward and kind of sad.”
Question #4: Are you automatically an asshole if you're leering and snorting at reporters' questions in one week, then breaking down crying and begging forgiveness when you get caught?
The Justices were divided on this question and did not render a verdict. Schmid recused herself, objecting that the question was leading. I kind of get the feeling everyone thought I was overreacting to the infamous “jackass” presser. So, moving on:
Question #5: Are you an asshole if you legitimize Andrew Breitbart?
The court basically voted no on this question. “I don't know about this,” said Kourkounis. “If you are Andrew Breitbart, I think you're an asshole though.” Kreider, seizing on a chance to tell us all about how much he’d never heard of someone, wrote, “Pass. However, Breibart's score based on one glance at the Google image search: 800.” To be fair, I had never heard of Andrew Breitbart before this thing either, and I do watch a lot of television. A lot of television.
Finally, the question that perhaps was the main issue in the Weiner scandal:
Question #6: Are you an asshole if you condemn one congressman, but excuse another for the same behavior because he happens to be a member of your party?
An awful lot of this went on in the Weiner case. The usual liberal sites/publications rushed to his defense – often, the same people who pointed fingers over similar scandals on the Republican side and had gloated about this or that example of “Republican family values.” Meanwhile, the Republicans who had been quiet about eerily similar cases in their own party, like the Chris Lee business, were often up in arms. “This behavior is so ubiquitous it threatens to send all humanity over the precipice into Assholedom,” noted Kreider.
“This is one of the most insidious forms of political asholishness around,” commented Sirota sagely. “I would argue it's a mass psychology that is making not just Washington, but all of America, into an Assholedom.”
UPDATE!!!: It now turns out that, as stock analyst Dick Bove said of Goldman, Sachs last week, that a "terrible wrong may have been done" to Justice Whitmer. And in both the Bove case and this one, it is I, Matt Taibbi, who apparently did this terrible wrong. It seems that the pic Whitmer sent was not of his genital junk -- it was actual junk. What happened was that Whitmer, an active-duty member of the armed services, shoved a piece of his army gear down his briefs, then took a picture of it and sent it to all of us. "That was a large metal canteen that if it were to have the same dimensions as my junk, would be quite uncomfortable.," he protested later. The discussion now in chambers is over whether I should step down for not being able to recognize the difference between a human penis and an oblong metal container.
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