In case you weren’t entirely convinced that Weiner is a jerk

… watch this video, in which he mocks a British reporter for being British (likening talking to her to a Monty Python sketch), and then mocks England for being a “rainy, cloudy and grey” place.

But it’s not so much what he does as how he does it, with everything from his tone of voice to his body language to his constant demonstrations that he’d rather pay attention to anything but the reporter.

Yes, Anthony, there is an absurdist feel to the questions reporters ask you — to the entire existence of your campaign, for that matter. But whom do you have to blame for that?

34 thoughts on “In case you weren’t entirely convinced that Weiner is a jerk

  1. Bryan Caskey

    All the stories about him texting pictures of himself have distracted everyone from the point that he’s a real jerk. He needs to re-send a picture of a body part out just to recapture the narrative.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    I realize that the standard for civility is different in New York, but this scrawny little mook’s career wouldn’t even have gotten to the miserable point where it is now down South. We don’t hold with that kind of behavior. Especially in front of a lady. Especially one with a British accent, because they sound extra ladylike…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Huh. After I wrote “scrawny little mook” above, I read that Weiner is over six feet tall. (Some sources say 6’5″, but that’s ridiculous; I find the 6’1″ more believable).

      But I see that the “scrawny” part is accurate — one report has him down to 147 pounds. (Most people describe me as skinny, but while I’m slightly under six feet, 147 was 30 pounds ago for me. At a doctor’s office recently, they officially put me down as 180, which wasn’t accurate, but still…)

      I would have guessed he was smaller. Like young Frank Sinatra size.

    2. bud

      You’re suggesting Mark Sanford is civil? How about David Vitter or Bill Clinton. Southerners all.

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    Um, no fan or Weiner, but South Carolinians live in a glass house when it comes to throwing stones at “jerk” politicians…..

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, not at all.

      With very rare exceptions, you won’t see that kind of to-the-core rudeness that Weiner exhibits in this video. There are some SC pols with off-putting personalities. Jim Clyburn is one — he can be very dismissive in person (which you might attribute to his super-safe seat, but I think he would act that way anyway — the safe seat just means he can stay in office while being that way). Thomas Ravenel is/was another — so full of himself that you wonder when he’s going to self-destruct (which he did).

      But Mark Sanford, with whom Weiner is often compared, is nothing like that. He’s as genial as can be, whatever his faults. And people talk about Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” incident, but that was extremely atypical for Joe, who normally knocks himself out to be ingratiating.

      Even people who are known for being combative bullies, like Jake Knotts, can be pleasant in ordinary social interactions…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          No doubt about it, although we like to think of our crazies as “characters.” And they’re nicer than Northern crazies.

          Northerners like to see Southern politeness as hypocritical. You know what? The older I get, the more I value hypocrisy of that sort. There’s just enough stress and friction and unpleasantness in life, that I can appreciate someone being nice and polite and kind to me even if I know they don’t mean it. Maybe even especially when I know they don’t mean it, because I appreciate the effort.

          I think this is a big part of why O’Brian’s stories of the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars, and Jane Austen both appeal to me. I like to immerse myself in all that civility.

          There are people who believe that mankind is progressing, and modern people are by definition an improvement over people in previous generations. I beg to differ. Common, everyday civility is one way in which humanity has declined, even within my lifetime…

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            I believe most Southerners actually mean to be nice, and certainly I will take hypocritical pleasantries over sincere rudeness any day. I’m looking at you, Boston!

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Northerners are sometimes irritated by our reflexive civility.

          When I was in the second grade, I lived in an apartment complex in Woodbury, N.J. That was the first time I ever lived outside of the South, and I had a thick accent, for which I took a lot of static. My speech patterns morphed a bit (something they would continue to do throughout my youth) during the year I was there, so that constructions such as “youse guys” fell trippingly from my tongue. I got used to fighting as just another routine childhood activity, like playing kickball.

          But some things just wouldn’t rub off. I remember once when I was talking to the couple who lived across the hall, the man brusquely told me I shouldn’t keep calling them “sir” and “ma’am.” It was like he was insulted by it. His wife told him to leave me alone; that’s just the way I had been brought up; I couldn’t help it…

      1. bud

        Forgot about ole Joe. Yup, hollering You Lie! while the POTUS is giving a speech is very good evidence of southern politeness.

  4. Kathryn Fenner

    My new motto is “What you think of me is none of my business.” I believe it comes from Eleanor Roosevelt. At any rate, a smile and a pleasant tone of voice lights up the good mirror neurons, and that works for me!

  5. Mark Stewart

    Wow, were did that Boston rant come from, Kathryn? Is that pointed?

    Politeness is learned, but it is not regional.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Speaking of Boston, I’ll bet Whitey Bulger would rather be in South Carolina today. Or anywhere, as long as the feds couldn’t find him…

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      It isn’t always about you, MS!
      No, I lived in Portland ME for seven years, and frequently visited Boston, and developed a distinct dislike for the place and many of its residents…..

  6. Doug Ross

    I grew up in Massachusetts and have lived in South Carolina for the past 23 years. Southern charm is 50% phony “Bless your heart” and 50% “You’re not from around heah, are you?”

    Having traveled the past 25 years from coast to coast, the nicest people I have met were in Salt Lake City. The worst? A bunch of transplanted New Yorkers who lived in Minneapolis.

    1. Bart

      Miss Massachusetts much? Life must be hell living among phonies and people questioning where you are from. 🙂

      1. Doug Ross

        Not really, Bart. There are plenty of transplants down here. My neighbors are from Connecticut and Chicago. My local friends are from Mass., California, Arizona, Virginia — and a few from South Carolina who have been able to overcome my Yankee-ness.

        1. Bart

          “…and a few from South Carolina who have been able to overcome my Yankee-ness.”

          But Doug, the relevant question to be asked is whether you have been able to overcome the South’s Southern-ness. After all, you were the one who moved here, right? Was it against your will to locate in Columbia? Did your company force you at gunpoint to move to the Southland where people have strange accents and mannerisms? Apparently not since most of your friends and neighbors are from out-of-state. Do you act and sound like the guy in the iPad commercial with the exaggerated Boston accent? After 20 years, isn’t it about time to get over it? (You do know my remarks are all in fun and jest don’t you?) Well as Tennessee Ernie Ford used to say, “Bless your pea-picking little heart”. 🙂 🙂

          1. Doug Ross

            I know you’re joking, Bart… I don’t have much of an accent. Have tried to assimilate into the culture – drinking sweet tea, eating barbecue, becoming a Gamecock fan. I haven’t gone so far as to spend a Sunday afternoon watching cars drive in circles but I do know who Dale Jr. is.

            But there really is an attitude of not accepting Yankees down here in the South. It’s about time they got over the Civil War.

  7. Bart

    Like Doug, I have travelled this country extensively and for the most part, people are polite and not rude. New Yorkers (the five boroughs, especially Manhattan) IMHO get a raw deal when it comes to being rude because if you had to live the way they do, crowded into subways, elbow to elbow three times a day on the sidewalks, traffic jams, long wait lines, and long commutes to and from work, and little privacy because of the overcrowding, you might have a tendency to be a little rude too. But overall, once you get past the facade, I have found most New Yorkers to be some of the kindest, friendliest, and generous people in the country. Long Island residents seem to be more relaxed once they get away from the city, especially on the weekends.

    My worst experience was in Ann Arbor, Michigan, while attending an educational/training seminar for a couple of weeks. The people in the class made life hell because of my Southern accent and they constantly made remarks about how racist we are, how totally stupid we sounded, and the list could go on and on. So, all I did was remain polite, courteous, and friendly even in the face of the insults. Did it make a difference in the end? Hell no! They were still total jerks and a$$es.

    1. Phillip

      Living in Ann Arbor for four years nearly turned me into a raving conservative just to be contrary, an experience nearly replicated recently when I got talked into watching the first couple episodes of “The Newsroom.” And then there was the condescending tone from the Dean of my School at UM when I informed her that I was leaving Ann Arbor to move to…Columbia SC.

      A2 as it’s known is a wonderful, even amazing town in many ways, but is not quite as perfect as many of its inhabitants believe. Columbia, by contrast, is far more intriguing and wonderful than many of ITS inhabitants realize or acknowledge. And that is indeed a very essential part of its charm.

  8. bud

    I agree with Silence. Atlanta is just reprehensible. NYC with all it’s drawbacks does have it’s charms.

  9. Mark Stewart

    If one can afford to keep a country house and has a city household size no larger than the number of bedrooms in one’s residence +1, New York City may be the most amazing place in the world

    This is difficult to articulate clearly; the thing about New Yorkers may be that they don’t – can’t – have a lot of stuff. They therefore live in the moment and value social interaction over the accumulation of the debris of modern life. Even if one has a lot of possessions (as many New Yorkers do), they are often not in the location were one finds oneself at any specific point in time. That becomes quite disorienting; but also clarifies what is really important in life.

    1. Doug Ross

      Check out this blog for an idea of what life in NYC can be for anyone willing to pay for it..

      These are actual postings from Craigslist for NYC apartments,

      http://www.worstroom.com/

      Examples:

      Upper West Side, Manhattan. $540.00 “Bottom bed of a loft bed available in a small room (modified like a studio).” “Share the room with 2 guys, and a cat (Charlie). You will have your own bed!”

      Park Slope, Brooklyn. $490.00 “Small Room with no windows”

      Bushwick, Brooklyn. $750.00 “The room is appox 4ft. tall so you cannot stand up in it. Repeat: THE ROOM IS 4ft TALL so you can’t stand up inside it!, unless you happen to be shorter than 4ft.”

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