32. Weiner

Emotional brutality when Anthony Weiner takes his 1-year-old to the voting booth. It should be sweet – he’s running for mayor, voting for himself, wants his little boy there. But his wife Huma isn’t going; he whines about having always dreamed of running for mayor, but she stays behind watching with numb disapproval as they set off. He shouldn’t be doing this. His baby, upset by the flashing cameras, shrieks. Why is he doing this?

The title is funny. It’s funny that he pronounces it like “wiener,” and that he keeps posting cell-phone photos of his wiener on the internet. It’s funny that gay men line the streets for Weiner and chant his name joyously as he strolls past with a huge banner that says “WEINER!”

But the humor is dark. The theme might be hopelessness.

Weiner hits at a moment in American history when corrupt hack celebrities have taken over politics. It’s impossible to overstate the problem. Nineteen Republicans just ran for the presidential nomination; not one was honest. Congresspeople spend an average of six hours per day raising money. They practice dodging reporters’ questions. It’s madness. It’s farce.

Don’t their consciences itch? Do they care about other people’s kids?

The answer is some politicians can’t help it. Compulsion. Weiner has connections, charisma, and ambition. All he had to do was not take pictures of his wiener. That he couldn’t stop says everything. It is an answer.

When he’s off to vote, pushing his son in a stroller, Weiner gets on his phone and says “Hey I’ve got a brilliant idea,” and spitballs lies for the press on why his wife is not with him. Always lying, he thinks his bullshit is brilliant.

“Why did you let me film this?” the documentarian finally asks. Weiner shrugs. Huma eats pizza behind him, eyes down. Earlier he called her “someone who’s graceful, someone who’s interesting, someone who’s got ideas, who’s got experience, someone who’s glamorous and an amazing mom. Someone who’s just amazing.”

Yet he turned his back on her to snap and send dick pics. They do sick shit because they must.



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