Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Sexting And New York City Politics

, member of the United States House of Represe...
, member of the United States House of Representatives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(published in Vishwa Sandesh)

Sexting And New York City Politics
By Paramendra Bhagat (

Sexting is when you send someone a sexually explicit text message or, God forbid, a tweet.

When I showed up in New York City in the summer of 2005 I placed myself in the smack center of the borough of Brooklyn, a borough that Barack Obama almost carried in the February 2008 primary. I was his first full time volunteer in the city. Right before the primary a deeply worried Anthony Weiner urged Hillary to make an appearance in Brooklyn, and she did. Minus that anything could have happened. 2007 was a time when I spent considerable time with the founders of organizations like Brooklyn For Barack and Manhattan For Obama. At an Upper East Side party thrown by a Law School classmate, later Law Firm colleague in Chicago and family friend of the Obamas, the founder of Manhattan For Obama complimented me by saying “The US Constitution should be amended so THIS guy can run for president some day!” That dude is currently running for Congress. The machine in the city was firmly behind Hillary and was to show me its ugly face by the time the primaries were over. Obama dashed the ambitions of many NYC locals who might have had federal ambitions.

Hillary the matchmaker perhaps was thinking world peace when she helped Huma and Anthony get together. Weiner is Jewish, Huma Abedin, former aide to Hillary and since wife to Weiner, is Muslim, and her father spent considerable time in India. Hillary might have been thinking Palestine and Kashmir at once.

But then the colorful New York City politics can get in the way. This is the media capital of the world. The media likes to play the game of building you up, and then breaking you down. And somewhere along the way it gets to collect a ton of ad dollars. Right before Weiner imploded as a Congressman he was a progressive hero belittling his Republican counterparts on national TV on the blessings of universal health coverage. He had been caught sexting on Twitter. I would know a thing or two about Twitter. I am one of the top 200 people/brands in New York City on Twitter. Mostly what I do on Twitter is I tweet articles that I read, mostly technology, politics and business articles.

There was that famous picture of his weeny making his tights bulge up. Okay, so the guy had an erection when tweeting. Who says Twitter is not a sexy platform? I have thought the world of it since I joined it in February 2009, after months of looking down upon it: those who can do long form blogging, how much can you possibly say in 140 characters? The top venture capitalist in New York City, Fred Wilson, who I happen to know (you can also get to know him if you read his blog at and leave comments regularly), was the first investor in Twitter.

Sometimes men think they are not good enough for the woman they might have bagged, or maybe it is more than sometimes. One journalist wrote Huma Abedin is like the Taj Mahal, pretty in pictures, but you really have to meet in person to appreciate. Maybe that explains Weiner’s politically self-destructive behavior.

And all that was over and done with. Several magazine spreads of making amends later Weiner jumped into the mayoral race and immediately took the lead. New York City voters were not going to be bothered by a few tweets. They had far more important things to worry about, like sewage and garbage. Until it emerged that Weiner had done it all over again after resigning from Congress under a new name: Carlos Danger. Who would have thought? Now this was no longer a caught off guard once issue. Heck, I know people who never “got” Twitter or jumped on the platform and are still trying to figure it out. Hillary would fall in that later category.

I don’t know about you, but I intend to blame Fred Wilson for this whole thing. Fred, could you not have invested in something safer to use like, say, a Zynga? Or a FourSquare even? Wait, he did.

Weiner engaged in sexting on Twitter over months. He got caught. He denied, he claimed his account had been “hacked” – (don’t deny the guy his tech literary). Then he owned up to it and resigned. He engaged in Twitter sexting again under an assumed name. Then he went into long months of therapy and overcame all that. Then he ran for Mayor and took the lead. But that would be a sane story. The media is spinning it like he resigned from Congress for sexting, then he ran for Mayor and started sexting again. How dare he! Let this guy be taken to the butchers!

Hillary got on Twitter recently. I don’t know how much tweeting she is doing though. Maybe she should tweet some sense into Weiner. Hey, Anthony, can you stop that sexting already?

Wait, was that less than 140 characters? Would the message fit?

If Hillary and Weiner had figured out Twitter back in 2008, my side might have lost.
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