Sexting, Digital Erotica or Digital Indecent Exposure?

I tweeted  this morning … “Does anyone under 30 think that Anthony Weiner’s sexting disqualifies him from running for public office?”  Perhaps I should have asked “…holding pubic office?”

When thinking about writing this blog I had trouble remembering Weiner’s first name.  Perhaps it is the unfortunate colloquial use of his last name, but I also had the same problem remembering Eliot Spitzer’s first name.  It is also that in the media lust for reducing all issues to the lowest common denominator in that the two men have become linked in having similar moral failings and having had, in the past, the trust of the public as they performed their elective duties?

I distinguish the two in that Spitzer broke the law, used public funds to procure sex across state lines (you prosecutors out there can correct me on this.)  As far as I know Weiner did not.  But what has he done (or is he doing?)

He was “sexting” or sending explicit images of his genitalia and other body parts, as well as, I assume explicit language to willing, of-age, recipients. Understand, I have not received any of his messages, but I have gotten them from others.  I have been lead to believe that teenies and others consider sending such images as an acceptable expression of … well I’m not sure, but it is not considered lewd or immoral, though most would not want their mothers to see the posts.

Though folks over 40, an arbitrary age decidedly, might find sexting disgusting, lascivious, ridiculous, icky, or laughable, those under 30 might find it a matter of freedom of speech, freedom of personal brand management, or simply just a routine option to satisfy the mood of the moment.

We can argue whether sexting conveys poor judgment, moral lapse, a mental disorder or just stupidity.  It may be normal for constituents  deciding for whom to  vote  might ask about that candidate’s maturity level.  Whatever his age one would have thought he was past the “I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours” kind of encounters.

The digital world is changing our language, our reading habits, our standards of acceptable discourse. Is “sexting” one of those inevitable changes?

I’m thinking this through.

Oh, and no apologies for the pun in the title.

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2 thoughts on “Sexting, Digital Erotica or Digital Indecent Exposure?

  1. I’m over 40 but I don’t have a problem with him sexting – but he should have been doing it with his wife!

    What I have a problem with is the lying. He’s been lying from the beginning. That annoys me and insults my intelligence. Worse, I think it’s a sign of something larger – either he’s a chronic liar, which I’d have a problem with or there’s some underline disease he’s not aware of or not willing to face. It could be as simple as self-sabotage. On paper, he had everything going for him, right?

    I also don’t have a problem with Spitzer either. He seemed to have been remorseful and contrite and if he wants to return to politics, I say let NYers decide. I give him credit for being able to get back out there – first on television, now back to politics. It takes guts to show your face after such a very public downfall.

    You know what? I wish we had politicians with a little integrity. Men and women who’d say, at the outset, this is who I am, these are my failings but they don’t hinder me from doing my job or being effective, or dampen my passion and commitment to my constituency.

    The bigger question is why we *expect* that these ordinary men and women must be above reproach, must be able to walk on water. I guess we have to draw the line somewhere.

  2. I am over 40 also (well over) and per se don’t have an issue with his sexting. In the spirit of disclosure … I don’t have a stake in New York politics being a resident of Virginia.

    When Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress I truly was mad at him, because I felt he had stood up against the right wing of the Republican Party and called them out on draconian tactics. My hope was that he would remain in Congress, deal with his personal issues, weather the storm, and return to being the champion for ideas that I found him to be.

    So, yes, I personally had high expectations of him. Now I fear he really is compromised buy his arrogance and denial that his personal conduct has any bearing on his fitness for office. I personally don’t expect personal perfection, but how someone treats others does matter to me. He is disrespectful to his wife at the very least.

    Digital communication is obviously changing how we read, write and is changing standards for discourse that we would not have learned in kindergarten. Sexting as one example of “acceptable” communication if only one example of how standards are changing and I know there are others.

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