Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Latest "gate."

The official follow-up to this happened today, and one would imagine that it brought the ugliness to a close. Or at least one would hope it does.

Since no actual laws were broken, we are left only with former Congressman Weiner's confession, which predictably turned into a media circus. As a matter of fact:

Weinergate became a major story in the U.S. news cycle during the past several weeks. Coverage of the saga occupied 17 percent of the news hole between June 6 and June 12, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, finishing well ahead of the ongoing unrest in the Middle East, the economy, and the 2012 presidential election.
"News hole" is an interesting (and official) term for what went on over the past month. Another fascinating thing is how the suffix gate becomes attached to every minor scandal. It's the aholic for scandal.

People who like chocolate and shopping are chocoholics and shopaholics, even though chocohol and shopohol aren't actual things, that doesn't keep the wordsmiths among us from adding aholic to almost everything to deem one an addict. The proper (dare I say) suffix for such things is merely ic. People who love chocolate are chocics and people who like to shop are shopics. But those words, while grammatically correct, are no match for the color and phrasing of their colloquialisms which are so deeply ingrained in our speech that I should just stop complaining. But I digress.

While former Congressman Weiner exhibited questionable judgment in his actions, the fact is that he didn't break a law or even attempt to lie about what had happened. It's difficult to cover-up something that occurs in our social media. Text messages (now called Sexting - which I will not dispute), Twitter comments and Facebook comments are matters of public record. Some (if not most) people have been slow to accept that. The Internet (including this particular space) can be powerful and dangerous outlets for our emotions.

If I were ever accused of a crime or merely a social screw-up, law enforcement would be all over this blog like fleas on Fluffy. I'd hope that all they would find is a somewhat cranky individual with a point of view. However, that opinion might be shifted into whatever form they would want based on the slant of my comments and the crime of which I was accused. At the very least I'd hope that they would come to appreciate my writing style and in the official court dockets it would be duly noted, so that perhaps I could find a lucrative writing career while incarcerated. But I digress.

Perhaps the biggest issue surrounding Weiner was something over which he had no control. No, not his libido. His name. Tarred with the surname that is a slang term for the penis, he was left to be the butt of double entendre headlines and jokes. He has both his ancestors and our penchant for giggling at sex to blame for that. One wonders (or at least I do) if this scandal would have been as highly publicized if he had a more reasonable surname.

What we are left with is another gate and another disgraced politician. Those are neither noteworthy nor unique in today's world. Done in by the very technology that we embrace and use for our entertainment. Some would say that Weiner got what he deserved. Others would say that we got what we deserved.

It's a fine line.

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