After weeks of “will he or won’t he,” Congressman Anthony Weiner has decided to withdraw from Congress. Pull out from Congress? Vacate the legislative body? I can’t conceive of a non-smutty term, but what else is new concerning the whole Weiner debacle?
To be perfectly frank, Weiner brought scorn to himself due to his “sexting” AND his lying. He’s become the poster boy for narcissism, ruling-class privilege, and what happens when a guy has learned to type and has too much time on his hands.
Sporting an ego that is larger than the New York district that he has represented, Weiner is anything but a role model, and yet he has been turned into a quick-selling doll by Connecticut-based company Hero Builders http://www.herobuilders.com/. The doll was unveiled on Monday, June 13, and swiftly gained attention from news agencies, talk radio, TV commentators, and late-night comics. The über exhibitionist Weiner must have been proud: his antics had garnered him even more fame, if not fortune.
Now, just three days after his “action figure” burst onto the scene, the Democrat is bidding his constituents adieu. What will that do to his doll’s sales? Does it put the brakes on whatever action his effigy was receiving?
That’s the risky thing about caricatures of famous people: Hero Builders, which bills itself as the “last American toy company,” rolls the dice with every one of its “ripped from today’s headlines” dolls. If you stroll through their Web site, it’s akin to trolling across a rogues’ gallery of the infamous and the embarrassing. Yet, these dolls do hold an appeal and are purchased as gag gifts and as office-cubicle décor.
Along with Weiner, there are also new releases, like President Barack Obama fashioned as a steroid-enraged Sylvester Stallone. In the wake of his military action to capture and kill Bin Laden, the Obama doll is called “Rambama.” With its obvious nod to Rambo, the doll is anything but subtle.
What I find as I look at the Hero Builder configurations of the “Balloon Boy” father, the gatecrasher Michaele Salahi in her royal red sari, and the late Michael Jackson dangling his son “Blanket” from a European balcony is that human behavior will never disappoint if you’re looking to be amused and bemused. Many people—no matter the economic circumstances, political stripes, geographical locales, or professional backgrounds—will conduct themselves in the most unseemly manners if there is a shot at even fifteen minutes of fame. After the National Enquirer has moved on to its next target, or Leno has located another loon to lambast, these Hero Builder action figures remain as testaments to foolhardy and inexcusable behavior. They are more Anithero Builders than heroes.
None of the dolls are created in a beautiful portrait style. No, it’s just the opposite. Some of them are downright grotesque-looking. I don’t think that’s a metaphor for how the company sees its creations: they are molding the exteriors to match the interiors. No, I think this is a company that specializes in expediency. So, they have to make their dolls fast, and they have to make them in a “likeness,” not in an exact way.
I find it sad that the company never seems to run out of folks to manufacture. And I think that’s the key word in this whole crazy news cycle that we live through these days: “manufacture.” Our TV stars are manufactured in reality show setups. So-called normal everyday people are plucked out of obscurity and are handpicked by producers to become the next big reality star. The breakout “characters” are the ones who are the loudest, the wackiest, and the most outrageous.
The same, too, with our politicians. The ones who get the press are the ones who manufacture the snazziest sound bites, the most creative comebacks, the most quotable quips.
Anthony Weiner was a favorite among the TV political discussion shows because he was always willing to be caustic, nasty, funny, and intense on camera. He came across as fierce and fanatical: a very scary combination. Not charming and not gentlemanly, he was a verbal attack dog who enjoyed yanking on his leash. And, apparently, that is what gained him his Twitter followers, and fed his already large, ahem, self-image.
The fact that his political career has been temporarily sidelined (who knows Weiner might rise again—sorry!) is a testament to how stupidity will catch up to anyone when it is coupled with lying and an unapologetic disregard for the public. It’s not the lewd photos or the dirty talk that ultimately had Weiner heading out the door: it’s that he kept up the charade of not being involved, and blaming someone else for the leaks, for way too long.
What we should all take away from “Weinergate” is that our politicians are indeed representatives. Unfortunately, most of them seem to represent the avarice, the self-aggrandizement, and the base selfishness that reside in all of us, but that we have learned to suppress and defeat. We would never tolerate from our family members, friends, and associates that we allow to have perpetrated against us by our politicians in Washington and in our state capitals.
Congressman Weiner will be leaving his seat, but he’ll still be retiring with his full pension, health and retirement benefits in tact. That means, when he becomes an old former politico who needs help in the bedroom, we, the taxpayers, will be buying his Viagra. When it’s seen in that light, I think we’ve all been made into the real weiners.