Monday, June 6, 2011

Hot doggin' in Congress

I guess it could have been scripted better had his name been Senator Pole, Representative Longfellow or Secretary Johnson. Suffice it to say that as names go, though, Congressman Weiner is pretty funny considering what he finally fessed up to. A respected member of the august body of the United States House of Representatives elected to take a picture of his own august body and send it anonymously through his Twitter account to a woman he didn't even know. This smacks of either complete stupidity or, more to the point, is overwhelming evidence that this congressman apparently had way too much time on his hands. At first Anthony Weiner categorically denied he had ever done such a thing. After all, he was recently married to a staffer from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's office. It should be patently obvious from all of the interest surrounding her husband's own philandering that anyone connected to Hillary would be sensitive to avoid anything smacking of sexual indiscretion. I would expect his embarrassed wife may have her husband in the proverbial doghouse for some time to come. Yet, unless she learns of something other than this peccadillo, she should probably be lenient. After all, to his small credit Congressman Weiner did not do anything physical to anyone. There was no cigar involved and no one was tapping on a bathroom stall. The only thing he touched was the send button. In today's cyber world of social networking the opportunity to reach out and touch someone has never seemed so real nor have the lines blurred as to what is appropriate or intelligent when using hand-held devices. Ever since man devised a way to capture the human form - whether that be on the walls of caves, atop a sheet of canvas or through a photographic lens - the idea of displaying body parts has not lurked far behind. We are reminded of Greek and Roman statues, not the least of which we may recall the Venus di Milo. Leonardo da Vinci was famous for his renderings of the human body, many of which were drawn from corpses he arranged to view for added realism. The explosion of nudes in art may have begun in the Renaissance, but found its way into other periods of art including the cubist period championed by the bawdy Mr. Picasso himself. The sexual side of man's nature has always been a challenge as to what society deems is appropriate. The still photography of yesteryear has evolved into film and videos with high definition and 3-D effects. With today's new technology the envelope is constantly being pushed. A 14-year-old girl with a crush on a high school junior sends him a picture she snapped in the mirror of her breasts. Although it may seem innocent to some or as a misguided and ill-advised way to get his attention, the law has a way of viewing it. Child pornography. If the recipient passes it along to someone else over a cellphone or from his computer (and what teenager boy would ever do such a thing?), he is probably guilty of violating federal law by trafficking in child pornography. One image is all the law requires. A conviction could follow and he could be considered a sexual offender for the rest of his life. This is very scary stuff. This is also not Las Vegas: "What goes up on the Internet stays on the Internet." That includes Facebook and My Space postings and unlike our frail bodies that will eventually give way to dust, cyber images will never fade as long as there's a chipset lying around. So, Congressman Weiner has taught us another valuable lesson and provided for us a cautionary tale. Despite a call from House Minority Leader Pelosi for an investigation from the Ethics Committee, he refuses to resign and is hoping to move on. I hope he is successful and learns above everything else that lying to the press is not the best course. Despite the glee from comic writers across the globe, the Honorable Mr. Weiner has admitted the truth after what essentially was a relentless hounding by members of the press. Unless he is an idiot (an accusation of which many politicians have been accused along the Beltway), he should never again be accused of tweeting images of his Vienna sausage or kosher salami. There will be none of that for this weiner and being in this pickle has hardly been a picnic.

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