Should We Be Whacking the Weiner? (Update Added)
As far as my low-tech mind can grasp this hi-tech story, Congressman Anthony Weiner is being accused of sending a picture of his underwear-covered (in contrast to Christopher Lee) member-item to a young lady on the West Coast in an effort to provide a stimulus package for her Twitter.
In response, he accuses some political hacker of attempting to sit on his Facebook.
I first encountered Anthony Weiner in his 1991 campaign for City Council, and immediately renamed him “Tony the Hot Dog.”
His name meant hot dog; at around 6’ 2 and ninety pounds, he sure looked like a hot dog, and there was no doubt he thought he was a hot dog.
An ambitious young man with a name like Weiner has a number of choices. One is to embrace it with relish (perhaps not the best choice of words).
Weiner proudly stood tall and erect, fully engorged and ready to thrust deeply into public life.
This was a hot dog with real onions.
The truth is Anthony’s name problem has never been his surname, but rather what we generally refer to as a “Christian name,” because in Anthony’s case, it really was.
In Weiner’s first race for office, his opponents (except for Gerald Bisogno) spread the rumor that Weiner was half -Italian.This may have been the first (but perhaps not the last) time that Weiner was tempted to show the world he had no foreskin (he is clearly not a “San Francisco Democrat”). As I recall, he attributed his first name to his Russian Jewish ancestors Uncle Anton and Tanta Tanya.
These days, the rumors are different.Instead of being called an Italian, thanks to his marriage, Weiner is being called a Muslim, and once again being called upon to produce his Brith (not a typo) Certificate (perhaps someone should tell them that Muslims also prefer their meat to be Halal) .
I hope Anthony has a sense of Huma about this stuff.
For other politicians, a name can be an inconvenience.
Several decades ago, young Andrew Finkelstein, son of a publishing magnate. decided he was going to be the POTUS, and changed his last name it to the shorter, but still Semitic, Stein.
Admittedly, his options were limited. “Fink,” even if it were less Jewish (and it was not), presented some additional issues, especially among social club Italians, while if he used “El,” he might have been mistaken for Puerto Rican or Arab.
Perhaps he could have called himself Andy Ste.
At any rate, the young man set upon his father’s fortune and bought himself an Assembly seat, as well as a Senior Citizen’s Center, which he named for himself, the name change facilitating the need for a somewhat less expensive facade.
After that, his career skyrocketed, and Young Finkelstein served as Manhattan Beep and City Council President before his future ambitions foundered upon his reputation for slow wittedness and bad toupees.
Finkelstein retired from public life and was little heard from, except for an occasional Page Six note of his appalling taste in women (Anne Coulter!!!).Finkelstein’s last notable inamorata was former Mod Squad Star Peggy Lipton, a scandal magnet who managed, even long in the tooth, to get two of her flames (Finkelstein and Jack Chartier) badly burned in the Hevesi Scandal (even ex-husband Quincy Jones’ daughter was not safe).
Then there was Warren William Wilhelm, who perhaps not enamored of the association his real name created with the late former Vice President (recently turned 100) who Jimmy Carter once referred to as Hubert Horatio Hornblower, decided it would be better to forsake a surname which might be accurately thought of as Germanic by New York’s German-hating Jews, and instead adopted one (once belonging to his mom) which might advantage him among New York’s Italian-loving Italians, and ended up as Bill De Blasio (if he were in Queens, he might have ended up as Wor Eng de la Blas).
And yet, the lesson sometimes get lost.Last year, a candidate for what was once Wilhelm’s Council seat who was blessed with an Irish name, engaged in a grossly offensive effort to let Carroll Gardens Italians know he was one of them (even though most of those who actually cared already knew him personally) when the task could have been better accomplished using the Wilhelm method.
In white southern Brooklyn, they take a different tack.
Jewish candidates with not necessarily Jewish names often use a more ethnically suitable middle name like Michael “Jules” Garson (who once ran against Weiner for his Council seat), Herbert “Saul” Lupka (who once held the seat for about 15 minutes), and, at the beginning of his political career, Michael “Chaim” Nelson (who holds that seat now).
Eventually, Nelson solved his problem with a mailer in which it was explained that his ancestors were named Katznelson, and had obviously never thought of running for office in Sheepshead Bay.
The flyer featured an old European picture of an Ultra-Orthodox family of the sort found in most every Jewish household (except, apparently, the Katznelsons [Michael and his wife, the late Sheila “Feigie“ Nelson], who are said to have borrowed their photo from Bernie Catcher).
For years, the expert at ethnic pandering was then Councilwoman Carolyn Maloney (whose current Congressional district incorporates the original turf of the Young Finkelstein). Every campaign featured the mailing of a targeted piece which created the (false) impression that she was Jewish (it always included her maiden name, so she appeared as the subliminally suggestive “Carolyn Bosher Maloney”. Insiders referred to it as “the Carolyn Kosher Baloney piece”).
In that spirit, the Presbyterian Maloney would also (scandalously) take communion in Catholic churches, go all prep-school Episcopal WASPY on the Upper East Side, and sound like she was raised on a turnip farm when she spoke at a Harlem Baptist church.
Truth be told, I always found this name stuff overrated; Mayor Robert Wagner (a political rival of Finkelstein Sr. whose son's electoral career was ended by a loss to Finkelstein Jr.) was posessed of a name second only to Hitler in its evocation of Germanic anti-Semitism, yet he still managed in 1961 to cream both the fantastically popular Arthur Levitt (in the primary) and the fantastically popular Louis Lefkowitz (in the general) among their fellow Semites. True, in 1956, Wagner hemorrhaged normally Democratic Jewish votes to Jake Javits in a race for the US Senate, but that was in part because of Jewish fears that a Wagner victory would lead to Council President Abe "Hit Sign, Win Suit" Stark becoming the city's first Jewish Mayor (if one doesn't count, as Hitler would, LaGuardia).
But let my thoughts stray back, as they invariably do, to the topic of Weiner, so I can flex my tongue some more until my thoughts reach their climax, and not a moment prematurely.My first thought is that, given the just recently exacerbated hostility to the Democrats among the Orthodox (and some other Jews) already demonstrated in last year’s election results, especially in Weiner’s district, not to mention the nasty opposition to a proposed Mosque in Sheepshead Bay, one wonders whether it would it really do Weiner any harm for his constituents to learn that Weiner might desire to occupy someone else’s West Bank.
“Oy, not only is the wife a Muslim, she works for Hillary Clinton yet; better he should get a pilegesh; is she Jewish, at least?”
Of course, there is a possibly of this being much ado about something very little (perhaps not the best choice of words).
Weiner says someone hacked his Facebook account, and from there got into his Twitter.
Been there, done that.
When my Facebook account was hacked, they also into my Hotmail. Between the two, everyone I knew got messages asking for money.
Domestic Partner immediately reached out to all her contacts: “If you received an email from Gatemouth asking for money to get back from England, please don't send him anything! We’d like to keep him there for as long as possible. Thanks!”
While I was able to fix my Facebook account pretty quickly, I was locked out of my Hotmail, and it took days to convince them of my identity and let me back in.
A more tech savvy friend was more skeptical:
“ah, but that's a relatively simple explanation for a simple story. Weiner's story requires substantially more complexity.
When you upload a photo taken from your blackberry to Twitter, the photo gets automatically uploaded to this program called YFrog.
Whoever hacked Weiner's account must have used the same Facebook password for his YFrog and Twitter, uploaded a photo, sent that out via Twitter, and then have arrangements for the 20something girl to delete her normally active Twitter account after she publicly gets the dick pic message
apparently the girl is in Seattle and Weiner was in Seattle at the time, so the layers of maliciousness for this criminal hack must have been very elaborate in their planning for details
I mean, I just think if someone was going to concoct such an elaborate & illegal social media scheme/hack to embarrass a sitting Congressman, couldn't you find something more sensationalist than a clothed crotch? :) Or at least throw in a "here you go baby" line next to it or something to make it pack an extra punch!
It's just straight bizarre. A more normal explanation for Weiner's events would be something like a staff member mistakenly logging into the official account for a private message that was accidentally broadcast or something.”
Nonetheless, I find it hard to swallow (perhaps not the best choice of words).
If Weiner was going to send an enticing picture of himself, it goes without saying he would have used a more impressive angle. Perhaps he would have sent a picture of something much larger.
Like his ego.
And Weiner is certainly not without his enemies.
I don’t even suspect the Republicans, though they HATE HATE HATE him.
To me. a more likely perp is a potential mayoral rival like Warren Wilhelm.
Or perhaps the current Manhattan Borough President is worried that female voters might prefer the an impressive Weiner to a far less substantial Stringer.
All my instincts tell me that Weiner is the victim of a malicious prank.
Then I remember a story from Weiner’s career on the Council.
Weiner had just piloted a hearing on abuses in the high fashion modeling industry, allowing Weiner ample opportunity to indulge in ingesting some eye candy.
Weiner had gotten nothing but bad publicity in the papers, and was asked at a local clubhouse why he had done something so monumentally silly.
He answered “For the same reason a dog licks his balls. Because I can.”
UPDATE: Having now seen pictures of the young lady allegedly in question (which I've chosen not to link) I am now even more dubious that something was going on between them.
Of course, I would have said the same thing about Arnold.
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