It's now all but official: the campaign of Anthony Weiner for New York City mayor is the living, writhing, retching embodiment of every single thing that's wrong with American culture as of the year 2013. It's a near-flawless microcosm of our entire corrupt Reality TV Nation, this singular moment in our short but celebrated history when it really does feel like we've reached a kind of chaotic critical mass signaling la fin de l'empire. The Weiner camp's venality doesn't even need to be rewarded -- and believe me, it won't be, as Weiner's stubborn and narcissistic push forward is going to end in nothing but disastrous humiliation -- for it to act as such a grotesque totem of the state of our declining civilization. Just that it exists is enough to prove how toxic our cultural climate is these days and how utterly fucked we all are.
From the very beginning there was the fact that Weiner was choosing to run at all -- a guy who'd been laughed out of Congress in disgrace just two years previously when it was revealed that he'd spent a good portion of his spare time tweet-wrangling barely legal fangirls and sending them pictures of his cock. While it's a sad reality of absolute media saturation that our attention spans have dropped to the time it takes to read 140 characters, creating a disconcerting "constant now" in which anything from so much as a couple of days ago barely registers as having happened, the apparent two-year statute of limitations on scandal that Weiner decreed for himself seemed lenient even by today's standards. Sure, Americans are a forgiving bunch but there are limits. Still, Weiner found a New York City that seemed to be willing to overlook personal deficiencies in the name of practical political considerations.
That only goes so far, though. It's not the kind of thing you should push your luck on, which is what made the revelation that Weiner had lied about cleaning up his act and continued to send horny texts to co-eds -- how many, he admits he can't keep count -- so confounding. It wasn't really a surprise that he couldn't resist feeding his ego an ongoing steady diet of 22-year-olds, more that he was stupid and arrogant enough to believe that none of it would ever come out were he to return to the spotlight and consequently paint a giant target on his back. The added comic treat that he had called himself "Carlos Danger" during his online dirty talk just brought one more element of tabloid perfection to the whole thing; it was as if God were Harvey Levin.
A lesser man, that is one crippled by a sense of shame or clouded by notions of morality and conscience, would've dropped out of the race immediately and apologized to not just the city of New York but the entire country for being such a presumptuous asshole, but not Anthony Weiner. Not only has he vowed to fight on despite plummeting poll numbers and a rapidly unraveling campaign, he just released a commercial in which he actually utters the line -- with a straight face, mind you, and employing the kind of lingo that surely made him so successful with the millennials he Face-banged -- "Quit isn't the way we roll in New York City. We fight through tough things. We're a tough city." The leviathan amount of chutzpah it takes to portray yourself as a victim and to subtly invoke the memory of 9/11 as well as all the other very real daily hardships New Yorkers endure -- comparing them to the entirely self-created personal and professional disaster Anthony Weiner is currently suffering through -- should win you some kind of award for bullshit.
Then there's Weiner's breathtakingly ungrateful public dissing of the Clintons, a family that's not only Democratic royalty but which has been his and his soon-to-be-ex-wife's good friends and most valiant defenders through a substantial portion of this mess. When asked whether he'd drop out of the race if pressured by Bill and Hillary, who live in Westchester, Weiner responded that he was “not terribly interested in what people who are not voters in the city of New York have to say.” And there's Weiner's unwillingness to admit whether he's still speaking to the dippy kids it's been revealed he was in contact with long after claiming to have ended all inappropriate behavior. And there's the potential FEC investigation into whether he illegally spent $45,000 to private investigators back in 2011 to get to the bottom of the hacking of his Twitter account that we now know -- and he knew at the time -- never actually happened.
At this point Anthony Weiner makes Rod Blagojevich look like Abraham Lincoln.
But now, on top of all of this and bringing the entire despicable campaign of Anthony Weiner to its inevitable dénouement, comes an almost unimaginably ugly rant by one of Weiner's top aides, Barbara Morgan. After learning that a former intern had written a highly unflattering piece about the campaign for The Daily News, Morgan unleashed a verbal assault that's genuinely one for the history books. Cutting it down would only take the pure magic out of it, so here you go:
Fucking slutbag. Nice fucking glamour shot on the cover of the Daily News. Man, see if you ever get a job in this town again... It’s all bullshit. I mean, it’s such bullshit. She could fucking — fucking twat... She sucked. She like wasn’t good at setting up events. She was clearly there because she wanted to be seen. Like it was, like, terrible and I had to like - she would like, she would just not show up for work. For the four weeks she worked there — she didn’t work weekends, so twenty days total. Of those twenty days, she missed probably five because she would just like not show up and not tell me she wasn’t going to be there. So, yeah, so there’s that... And then like she had the fucking balls to like trash me in the paper. And be like, ‘His communications director was last the press secretary of the Department of Education in New Jersey. You know what? Fuck you, you little cunt. I’m not joking, I am going to sue her.
It would be naive to assume that this sort of thing hasn't been said on more than one occasion in American politics, but the unfocused fury over a campaign unraveling at the seams and the absolute depravity and incompetence of the whole endeavor from the very beginning that would lead to it being said to a fucking reporter is something new.
But this is where we are. This is what the Anthony Weiner campaign has shown us about the disintegration of civility and respectability and the triumph of narcissism and opportunism in what's supposed to be public service.
Yeah, there are still good people in Gotham, but if the very existence of a reptilian creature like Anthony Weiner in our politics and our culture doesn't prove that we're in need of a good sacking, I'm not sure anything can or will.
Sydney Leathers, Weiner's latest online paramour, is apparently now in talks with Vivid about doing porn. A friend of mine who simply knew about Leathers's conversations with Weiner and how profitable she believed they could be is in talks with the tabloid press about selling his story, adding meta-layer upon meta-layer to this giant cake of shit.
Anthony Weiner is now both the hero and villain we deserve.