No politician is more emblematic of America’s slide towards Gomorrah than disgraced exhibitionist Anthony Weiner. Weiner is a painful but entertaining examination of the man’s fall and a warning for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Going by the logic of Johnny Cash’s song “A Boy Named Sue,” a man named “Weiner” was destined to spend his days cruising around high schools in a windowless van with “FREE WEED” painted on the side. A one-time rising star among D.C. Leftists, Anthony Weiner saw his career go supernova five years ago after he Tweeted out a pic of his own erection, fueling weeks of hysterical giggling and adolescent puns on his name. Two years later, he was a rising star in New York City politics before he was caught texting pics of his junk again, giving late-night talk show hosts and shitposters free material for two straight months. Three years after that, Weiner was a rising star in the Hillary Clinton campaign when he did it again.
At this point, it’s not even funny. Carlos Danger has slowly metamorphosed from a walking punchline to a legitimately disturbed individual. With his boss in the political fight of her life, Weiner was given the heave-ho the day after his putz hit the tabloids, with long-suffering wifey and Hillary confidante Huma Abedin kicking him to the curb. Social Services is now investigating him over the pics of him cuddling up to his four-year old son with a raging boner, and he’s been sexting underaged girls as well. Smart money is on him “mysteriously” dying from autoerotic asphyxiation between now and Inauguration Day.
Ever since the Lewinsky scandal two decades ago, Leftists and moral autists have argued that the sexual peccadilloes of politicians shouldn’t disqualify them from public office. After all, it doesn’t affect you. The problem with this is that personality traits don’t exist in a vacuum: someone who is a scumbag in one aspect of their life is usually a scumbag in other areas as well. Women who support abortion make poor wives and girlfriends; fat girls are sluttier than skinny ones; sexual deviants are more likely than heterosexuals to be mentally ill. This is why philanderers like Bill Clinton make poor leaders: sexual indiscretion is a sign of a disordered and malleable mind.
People forget that before he became infamous for making his wiener go bump in the night, Weiner was known as one of Congress’ most vocal and obnoxious feminists. He was loved by Leftists for his histrionic speeches attacking Republicans’ so-called attempts to curtail abortion and women’s rights, and near the end of his House tenure, he embarked on a crusade to get rid of a “sexist” statue in Queens called “Civic Virtue” (which puts his sexting addiction in a hilarious new light). He’s what Vox Day would call a “gamma male,” gerbiling away on behalf of the Jezebel set in a pathetic attempt to get laid. If he hadn’t been caught with his hand in his pants, he’d no doubt be pushing for affirmative consent laws, catcalling bans, and fines for “manspreading” on the subway.
Weiner, a recent documentary chronicling the man’s rise and fall, could just as easily been called Hubris Comes Before Nemesis or Cringe: The Movie. An account of Weiner’s 2013 campaign for New York City mayor, I picked it up on the recommendation of a friend, assuming it’d provide a few laughs. After watching it, I felt like I’d witnessed a gang rape victim getting an autopsy. Weiner is a worthwhile watch, because it not only captures the arrogance and psychosis of its eponymous subject, it serves as a depressing examination of America’s decline.
The film opens with a montage of Weiner’s feminist House speeches and news clips about his first sexting scandal in 2011. Two years later, Weiner launches his campaign for mayor, with an eye to restore his name and get his nagging wife Huma off his back. The filmmakers had nearly unprecedented access to Weiner and his family; maybe too much access, as there are far too many shots of the man lounging in his boxers at night.
The movie does a superb job of showing how close Weiner was to winning the mayoralty, and how badly he screwed it up. In 2013, with billionaire midget Michael Bloomberg term-limited out of office and no high-profile Republican to replace him, the Democratic primary was a bloodbath. Hormonally unbalanced lesbian (and City Council Speaker) Christine Quinn was the presumed front-runner, but she failed to catch fire due to her overly comfy relationship with Bloomberg, which included supporting his attempt to overturn the city’s term-limit laws. It was a wide-open race, and Weiner was there to fill that hole until it was gushing.
The first third of Weiner focuses on his initial successes, as he rockets to the top of the polls, fueled by voters looking for change and willing to forgive his past mistakes. One of the early scenes, featuring Weiner marching in various gay and ethnic pride parades, captures just how popular he was, with people cheering him on, thanking him for running and constantly approaching him on the subway. The filmmakers contrast his popularity with that of eventual winner Bill de Blasio, who is shown marching in a pro-Israel parade with a pitiful crowd and zero onlookers. If you can fake it in New York, you can fake it anywhere.
Then it all goes to hell.
The second act begins with Weiner’s sexting paramour Sydney Leathers (yes, that’s her real name) spilling the beans. Within hours, the R.M.S. Weiner is treading water and headed for Davy Jones’ locker. Weiner’s gay and women millennial staffers revolt against him, the once-skeptical press becomes hostile, and New Yorkers turn on him almost as quickly as they embraced him.
Weiner depicts the collapse of the man’s political career as a product of his perversion and hubris. As his poll numbers dip and his staffers defect, he responds by lashing out at his critics. One of the movie’s most cringeworthy scenes shows Weiner bombing a gotcha interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, screaming at him and threatening to “kick [his] ass.” Showing the interview to Huma later, Weiner brags about acing it; she’s so horrified that she has to leave the room. In another scene, he gets into a vicious argument at a Jewish deli that makes the evening news.
Indeed, Weiner will provide ample fuel for the rumors that Huma Abedin is Hillary’s lesbian lover and Weiner was her beard. The two of them have zero chemistry in the film and even seem slightly revolted by each other at points. A scene early on sets the tone, showing Weiner playing with their son while Huma sullenly stares at them from a corner. Even after his second sexting scandal becomes public, she doesn’t seem hurt in the way a wife would ordinarily be hurt by her husband’s infidelity; she just seems annoyed that this braying infant she’s chained to is derailing her career.
The movie also fuels the hypothesis that Anthony Weiner is a masochistic exhibitionist. Weiner reveals so many embarrassing details of his life—only twice does he ask the cameramen to leave the room—that I’m convinced he gets his jollies from being publicly humiliated. The film’s climax, in which Weiner devises an elaborate plot to avoid talking to Sydney Leathers (who, at Howard Stern’s suggestion, tried to ambush him outside his campaign office on Election Day), is a particularly painful example. The movie is supplemented with candid after-the-fact interviews with Weiner, a permanent texture of grease adhered to his face. Even the quote that opens the movie—a smarmy reference to his name—is designed to mock him.
The irony is that many of the people who watch Weiner will miss its core message of how sexual degeneracy corrupts a man’s soul. If you laugh at Weiner’s follies yet you spend your free time cranking it to Internet porn or you have a “polyamorous” relationship, you and him are no different. In the absence of spirituality, Whites have elevated their genitals to divine status, and they believe they have an infinite right to stick their private parts where they don’t belong. As Weiner’s sad, pitiful tale shows, those who defy the wisdom of our forefathers end up proving it.
Weiner is aided in its delivery by first-rate cinematography and editing, depicting the man’s implosion in clear, aching detail. One particularly effective technique the film uses is cutting between recorded news footage of Weiner and the filmmakers’ own footage of the same events, underlining what’s going on. The film’s laser-focus on Weiner is a detriment at points, and some extra context on the political situation in NYC would have been nice. In particular, Weiner misses a big opportunity by not mentioning ex-governor and human trafficker Eliot Spitzer’s run for city comptroller. Then again, given that Spitzer insists on wearing black dress socks when he has sex, one creeper per movie is probably enough.
Viewed against the backdrop of the presidential election, Weiner also provides an ominous warning for the Left. While I don’t know the political affiliation of the film’s creators, considering the Democratic nominee is the wife of a possible rapist, the movie’s underlying theme of crooked politicians getting their comeuppances is particularly relevant. Weiner even includes an appearance by Donald Trump; in a montage about Weiner’s announcement of his mayoral run, the Donald declares that “we don’t want perverts elected in New York City.” The contrast between Trump’s patriarchal, masculine personality and the sneaky fucker ways of Weiner and Bill Clinton could not be greater.
Despite its flaws, Weiner is an affecting look into both the American political scene and the American mind. As a character study, it’s fascinating; as a condemnation of moral autism, it’s a must-watch.