It’s safe to say that Anthony Weiner already had two strikes against him from the moment he was born, simply because of his name.
As anyone who has ever been on an elementary school playground can affirm, kids are one of the cruelest species on Earth. Especially regarding other kids who have names that are unusual or lend themselves to being made fun of in some way, such as in a sexual nature.
So young Mr. Weiner never had a chance.
When he entered politics, first as a New York City councilman and later a congressman, Weiner must undoubtedly have considered changing his name, as do so many figures in the public realm, usually actors.
For example, Judy Garland’s real name was Frances Ethel Gumm — just doesn’t seem to have the same box office punch, does it? Then there was Cary Grant, who came into this world as Archibald Leach, not exactly the stuff of which screen idols are made. Perhaps the best example is John Wayne, who would not have been near as formidable had he kept his original name of Marion Morrison.
Meanwhile, George Michael’s real name was George Kyriacos Panayiotou, which would have been terribly difficult for deejays to pronounce.
So given the tendency of people in the public eye to rid themselves of troublesome or mundane handles, Weiner is due at least some credit for sticking with what he was dealt at birth.
And in doing so, he had little options in terms of trying to present his moniker in the most-appealing, or less-offending, manner.
Similar to Mel Brooks’ classic movie “Young Frankenstein,” in which the mad doctor insists upon being called “Franken-steen” rather than “-stine,” Weiner could have opted for the pronunciation of “Why-ner.”
But that would have sounded too much like “whiner,” and nobody likes a whiner, right? Although in politics, especially Congress, certain officials tend to be just that.
So Anthony was stuck with “Weener.” Of course, it is one of those wonderful words can that have several meanings.
When looking up the word “wiener” in the dictionary (there’s not much difference in spelling it “weiner” or “wiener,” you know), one will find a statement such as “a kind of smoked beef or pork sausage, similar to a frankfurter,” sometimes also called a “weenie.”
But you and I both know (wink-wink) that there is another reference for the word, which is where kids on playgrounds come into the picture.
So given all the baggage Anthony Weiner already carried around with him, the worst thing he could have ever done was become involved in a sex scandal. That is precisely what he did.
As most of you know, Weiner’s troubles were exposed (literally) when he sent a link to a sexually explicit photo of himself via his public Twitter account. Most politicians are not so eager to draw attention to any shortcomings they might have.
When all this came to light, Weiner was duly laid bare. He held a press conference at which he admitted exchanging “messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the previous three years.” Weiner subsequently resigned from Congress.
The fact that a sexual scandal involves somebody named Weiner is the kicker to the whole thing, of course.
It’s almost like having an ax murderer with the last name of Hatchett, or a drunk-driving suspect named Boozer — it just doesn’t get any more ironic.
If Weiner was guilty of something such as stealing taxpayers’ money or vote-tampering, his name probably would never have been an issue. As it is, though, it serves as the number one reminder of his transgressions.
As a result, comedians, political commentators and others certainly have had a field day with poor Anthony. Particularly with him now back in the public eye due to his candidacy for mayor of New York and revelations that the “sexting” behavior didn’t stop after his resignation.
Again, I give Weiner credit for resiliency and fortitude in not letting the scandal keep him down and continuing his political career. But you can’t help but question his judgment.
No wonder Weiner’s campaign chief recently resigned; this whole thing must be terribly embarrassing for his family, including wife Huma, who gave birth to the couple’s first child in December 2011.
It will be interesting to see how the Anthony Weiner situation turns out, but I would hope voters in the Big Apple realize that his sexting behavior is a red flag.
Maybe Weiner wouldn’t be in so much trouble had he used a red flag to cover himself, and that’s the long and the short of the situation.
Tom Joyce is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.