Strange days for Mr. Weiner


It is possible that the New York Times’ exhaustive coverage of Anthony Weiner’s renewed sex scandal is due to his candidacy for mayor. It’s also possible that they like constructing headlines around the phrase “Mr. Weiner.”  For those who do not know, a 22 year-old woman has told quasi-news site The Dirty that she and Mr. Weiner exchanged sexually explicit communications in the summer of 2012, not long after he resigned from Congress for doing same. According to the Times, their exchange began when the woman “reached out to express her disappointment in him.” Say what you will about Anthony Weiner; he is really good at convincing women to exchange sexually explicit messages. Also he used the pseudonym “Carlos Danger.” Also he is destroying his life.

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Are we glad we caught David Petraeus?

Fox News’s handy flowchart explaining the David Petraeus affair.

Last Saturday, as you know, CIA director and four-star general David Petraeus resigned after an FBI investigation tangentially revealed that he had an affair—a real clusterfudge, it turns out, hereafter to be known as the Petraeus Affair Affair. The inciting incident in his exposure was a complaint from Jill Kelly, who told the FBI that she had received harassing emails from an anonymous source. That source turned out to be Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’s awesome and/or crazy biographer, who resented Kelly’s closeness to Petraeus because she, Broadwell, was doing sex on him. My fellow Americans: you must not do sex on your biographer. It’s like buying stock in your accountant. If Johnson could go 30 years without humping Boswell, you can do it, too.

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Friday links! Dubious pleasures edition

So much of what makes us feel good makes us feel bad on further consideration. It’s as if we had two selves: one who experiences pleasure in the short term, on a timeline of about three seconds, and one who wants only to live abstemiously in retrospect. It so happens that self #1 is located entirely in the past, and self #2 keep scolding us for associating with him. Today is Friday, and the internet has spent all week delivering us stuff we probably should not like so much. The past is a garden of dubious pleasures.Won’t you wish you hadn’t frolicked in it with me?

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Friday links! Spectrum of intentional hilarity edition

"Everybody put your keys in the bowl."

It is generally better to do things on purpose, but there is something about the unintentional that can redeem almost any act. Boethius argued that the essential crappiness of life—here we note that he was a 5th-century Ostrogoth, so he should know—could be mitigated by philosophy, that the creation of new meanings could repair awful events. Fifteen centuries later, Camus would take a similar position in his formulation of the absurd. Humans are the animal that observes and interprets. By observing, we recreate other people’s actions free from their intentions, and by interpreting we create a conjunctive world less stupid than the one we’ve got. Or at least it’s funnier. This week’s link roundup runs a spectrum of weird hilarity from the deliberate to the sublimely accidental. Of course we’re starting from the not-entirely-on-purpose end. Newt Gingrich’s terrifying psychosexual ambition after the jump.

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Close Readings: Herman Cain’s preemptive denial

Not pictured: lower half of Herman Cain

LL Cool H, you guys: Ladies Love Cool Herman. More specifically, they love coolly accusing him of sexual misconduct. Last night, Cain told Wolf Blitzer that soon, someone somewhere would “accuse me of an affair for an extended period of time.” He meant the affair lasted for an extended period of time, but it will probably work the way he said it, too. As you can see, claiming that Cain grabbed your boob or dated you for 15 years or whatever in order to derail his otherwise perfect presidential campaign has become a real fad. You know what else is a fad? Lying. It’s so popular that people don’t even realize they’re doing it anymore, the way you had to tell your friend that he was saying smokin’!  too much in 1994. In last night’s preemptive denial of whatever thing he absolutely did not do with the lady he knew was about to accuse him of something, Cain forgot that not everyone has just watched The Mask. Quote after the jump.

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