It seems like there have been quite a few public shamings in the news lately. How do these people bounce back when faced with crushing personal defeats on epic display?
— Thanks, Joe
Our modern cultural history is lousy with people who simply refuse to go away. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with being an asshole. The current grandmaster of personal reinvention happens to be the republican candidate for the presidency, which is terrifying. As for the other goons in the news, I predict things will play out something like this: Ryan Lochte, publically chastened liar and weapons-grade simpleton, is at a crux. His TV show got canned and now his Olympic career may be over, so what will he do? He’ll dust himself off and take those lemons and make them into whatever he can think of made with lemons, probably a macaroni necklace. I predict he’ll star in a new show called something like Dumber Than…? It will feature him in competition against various flora and fauna, battling to see who can complete a battery of mental challenges. Feats will be organized as follows:
• basic addition
• identification of primary colors
• is this item hot or cold?
• and a paint by numbers challenge for tie breakers
Who can add better, Mr. Lochte or a harbor seal? Who can pick out the color red faster? Ryan, or a fern? Yeah!
And then, of course, we have our Dickensian tragic-hero, Anthony Weiner. He’s lost everything: his wife and family, his congressional seat and political career, the respect of his peers, likely his fortune — and all because he can’t, literally can’t, stop showing his dick to strangers on the internet. It’s as if God himself came down from the sky and, just as he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, he has thus hardened Anthony and proffered him as the lamb before the media slaughter. Mr. Weiner may be down for now, but mark my words, he will rise again! I know because anyone else would have thrown in the towel after getting caught once. But no! Then came a bid for mayor — foiled again! And then, of course, the current round. A man thrice pilloried, as a sex pervert no less, doesn’t know the meaning of defeat. I believe Mr. Weiner will not rest until every man, woman and child in America bears witness to the glory of loins. He’ll rebrand himself: He’ll create an Instagram app that turns your photo into a picture of what you’d look like as his crotch, he’ll sell greeting cards with his dick-pics inside (“Happy birthday grandma!”). He’ll star in a TV show like Laugh-In, where he pops out unexpectedly and flashes you — You’ve been Weinered!
Basically, Joe, I think there must be something innate to the human spirit that compels us to always try to get back up, even if it’s against everyone’s best interest. Will these two bozos claw their way back into the limelight? I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 206.