Alec Baldwin has penned what some are calling a defense of Anthony Weiner for The Huffington Post. I didn’t read his piece, titled Anthony Weiner is a Modern Human Being, as a defense, but as simply an explanation for why the congressman could find himself in a Twitter scandal. As Baldwin sees it, Weiner is a very busy man who needs to take the edge off. “For some people, regardless of occupation, that could mean booze, drugs, gambling, food or shopping,” Baldwin writes. “For high functioning men like Weiner and other officials who have lived through such scandals, who are constantly on the go, that leaves one tried and true source of a reliable high. The affirmation that comes when someone lets you know they want to sleep with you. Or even cyber-sleep with you.”
Baldwin theorizes on the appeal of the latter: “One can push a button and get something beyond porn. Porn is essentially two dimensional. One sees and hears. Internet sexting can be perceived as three dimensional by adding the component of ‘feel,’ regardless of how cheap and unearned those feelings are. That person on the screen is doing whatever they’re doing… just for you.” And that person is always quasi-available, unlike your spouse: “Appointment sex with your spouse doesn’t always arrive when you need it most. A modern cell phone, loaded with contacts of willing fellow players, has a table with a red checkered table cloth ready for you at virtually any time.”
In closing, Baldwin says, “We tell ourselves that these devices help us communicate more effectively. What they actually do is allow us to bypass the person lying right next to us, across the room from us or at an airport heading home to us, in order to meet our immediate, even inconvenient, needs. To bypass their moods, their current view of us and their own desires, or lack thereof.” Weiner, he argues, is just a modern human being who “ensnared himself in things that modern humans do.” Baldwin admits he made jokes when he first heard about the scandal, but now, “I’m sad for him, his family, his district and his colleagues,” he says. “Let he who is without sin…..”
Do you agree with Baldwin’s explanation? I think he makes valid points. It is sad that the pace of today’s world and convenience and deniability associated with social networking (it’s not like I actually slept with her or him) leads us into temptation. But I also think people — even really busy ones — need to take responsibility for their actions. If your spouse has a cell phone, send him or her the lewd picture. Of course, that’s not the same kind of affirmation (or thrill) as a stranger telling you they want you, but if you’re in a committed relationship, that’s your option. Sorry.