Reading George Fox

Good Sense

Dan Savage’s continuing enthusiasm for Anthony Weiner is well intentioned, but ultimately mistaken and potentially counter-productive[1]. Dan is absolutely correct that we must fight for a world in which our sexual interests and mistakes do not disqualify us from employment or public service. How we behave[2] in the bedroom has little impact on how we work outside of it. Moreover, we have always been a kinky species; the Internet has just made our kinks public knowledge. In the long run, this is a wonderful news—it’s much harder to be judgmental about others’ quirks when your own are well known[3].

Weiner is just the wrong standard bearer for this fight. Dan often makes a distinction between having a kink[4] and how you communicate it. We look for good judgment in potential partners, and introducing yourself as a Furry, Coprophiliac, and Masochist on the first date usually[5] indicates that you aren’t the sharpest knife in the draw. Ol’ Anthony has taken a plethora of opportunities this summer to showcase his horrendous judgment. If you are premising your campaign as a redemptive journey, don’t engage in the behavior that fucked you in the first place. Especially when your wife will have to stand embarrassed by you again. Even if Huma is completely on boar with his sexting[6], those press conferences are not a fun experience to foist upon upon your wife. Moreover, it is indicative of how he will act as mayor—do we really want him embarrassing us by mocking a British reporter’s accent? Come on, most of us outgrew that impulse in junior high.

Furthermore, Weiner could have avoided this mess completely. He could have been a true standard bearer by embracing his kink—flatly stating that sexting is an accepted and private part of his marriage. This is New York City:

Mermaid Parade 2009 by heartonastick
Mermaid Parade 2009 by heartonastick

We cheered on Giuliani’s drag performances, we can tolerate a few dick pics. Or, if he didn’t want to be a positive role model, Weiner could have simply brushed off the past scandal and hired a professional sex worker. Purely visual and verbal sexual interaction is perfectly legal. Finding an escort who had a strong incentive to keep things private[7] would have been far smarter than finding another 22 year-old who has very few reasons not to seek out her fifteen minutes of fame[8].

Holding up an asshole with bad judgment as an exemplar of a tolerant future is just poor strategy. We’re not going to convince people to ignore past indiscretions if our examples continue to make fools of themselves. And it’s not as if Dan had to go far to find another candidate to support: why not fold in advocacy for sex worker rights with celebrating Elliot Spitzer?

  1. I’m going to focus on Dan’s interest in normalization of embarrassing behavior and leave Weiner’s anti-bicycle and other anti-urban to the side.  ↩

  2. As long as it’s ethical and consensual. Someone who is an asshole to sexual partners is likely to be an asshole to you.  ↩

  3. Of course, it’s certainly not impossible, but to quote Paul Krugman, “…hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue and all that; every time a vile prejudice becomes socially unacceptable, our society gets a bit better.”  ↩

  4. Or profession, disability, etc  ↩

  5. This doesn’t necessarily apply to Fetlife, kink conventions, etc.  ↩

  6. And if she’s not, Weiner is a major asshole.  ↩

  7. Escorts who talks to the press about their clients soon have no clients.  ↩

  8. Anyone else surprised by the Sydney Leathers’ upcoming porno Weinergatea.
    a Link is Safe for Work.  ↩