Jeff Pearlman

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Weiner’s Weiner is not a story

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 9.41.54 AM

Visited the CNN homepage a few moments ago and was greeted by the above image.

I am not happy.

I get why we love stories like this. They’re funny, they’re titillating, they allow us to escape from our humdrum lives in front of a screen at the ol’ corporate cubicle. We can look at another person’s downfall and feel better about ourselves. We can laugh and point and Tweet (fuck, as I did last night).

And yet … no. No, no, no, no, no.

Anthony Weiner is not an elected official, and hasn’t been for a long time. He is a guy with some real problems; who can’t control his sexual impulses and whose demise has dragged along with him a spouse who (it seems) did nothing to earn this genre of public humiliation. This isn’t Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, or Donald Trump’s birther efforts, or Bill Clinton having sex with an intern, or George W. Bush wearing a military jumpsuit and declaring, “Mission accomplished.”

Nope, this is a disgraced private citizen whose exploits make for ideal 2016 bullshit.

Oh, and here’s the worst part: CNN.com’s editors know this isn’t a real news story. They 100-percent know it. So how to dress it up as one? Turn it into “CLINTON AIDE ANNOUNCES SPLIT AFTER NEW SEXTING ALLEGATIONS.” That makes it timely and editorially meaningful. Or at least that makes it seem timely and editorially meaningful. Which, of course, it’s not.

It’s just American voyeurism at its worst.

* To be clear, I’d be saying the exact same thing were Weiner and his wife Republicans. This has nothing to do with an election, and everything to do with click-generating public flogging.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life