It’s going to take a lot of soul-searching to understand Trump’s ascendency to the highest office in the land. Some of it boils down to factors beyond our control: rising disillusionment with the so-called establishment, the fracturing of news into partisan info-spheres, and decades of failure from our educational system to produce intelligent voters capable of choosing a candidate who doesn’t write like a fifth-grader.
Yet if we liberals are honest with ourselves, we, too, must accept blame. Our snobbery, our elitism, and our unwillingness to communicate with uneducated white male voters have played a role in the horrific outcome of the presidential election. Winning back popular support in the future will require humility and empathy — empathy for those simpletons who were excited by a man who believes an exclamation mark is a classy way to end a sentence.
I understand that not everyone found Hillary Clinton as charismatic as I did, but there’s one thing I don’t understand. How could 60 million adults have voted for a man who doesn’t even know how to use possessive apostrophes? I’ve been using them in my own prose since I was six or seven. Okay, full disclosure: nine. (I was late.) But still, how could anyone make it to adulthood, pass through the upper echelons of business and entertainment, and not learn the difference between “voter’s” and “voters”? Seriously.
I don’t want to dwell on Trump’s lack of formal knowledge, because that sort of arrogance is exactly why we lost the election. Who cares about apostrophes? Trump makes other, more glaring mistakes that for the life me, I cannot excuse, even if he is just tweeting at 4 a.m. and not penning essays for the New Yorker. Consider his confusion between “there,” “they’re” and “their,” for instance. My iPad is there on the table. These are my friends, and they’re both political bloggers. Their cats are named Ernest and Hemingway. Is that really so hard? Yes, for some people, apparently.
If we want continue existing as a political force, we need sit down and actually listen to the other side of the aisle. We must invite them to open up with their thoughts, fears and dreams, and we’ll do our best to make sense of their monosyllabic country gibberish. Maybe they can describe how they feel about a president-elect who uses superlatives like New York Times writers at a dinner party throwing around references to Paul Krugman. It’s very annoying. Personally, in my own writing, I restrict superlative use to one or two per week. No more than that. Overuse is the worst. Moderation is most important. (Did you see what I did there?)
Yes, my fellow liberals, it’s time we step back from our contempt for Trump and the barely literate pipefitters and truck drivers who voted for him. If we manage that, we may learn to appreciate how a casual disregard for prescriptive rules occasionally infuses one’s writing with an unexpected chutzpah. But still, how will world leaders respond when they get an invitation from President Trump to “go too the white house for my inogurashun”? Will Congress be swayed by Trump’s appeals to “do it’s best to solve global crisises”? I think not.
Let’s really try to regard Trump and his supporters as cerebral entities, even if they don’t know what either word means.
Ezra Klein is the editor-in-chief of Vox
Hey everyone, I just wanted to apologize about inadvertently providing the FBI with new evidence for the investigation into Hillary Clinton and her private server. Director Comey obviously has a personal agenda, but still, I hope that nothing bad results from all this, like someone who just last week was being crowned winner of the presidential race actually losing. Want to see my penis?
Sorry, out of line, I know! I just feel really, really awful about this. Can you imagine if I’m forever known as the dolt who unwittingly got Donald Trump elected? The shame will literally destroy me. I’ll have nothing left to live for, except the off chance that some young coed who’s never heard of Weinergate will send me a Whatsapp message asking for a photo of my package.
Yikes! Pardon me, seriously. I’m under a lot of stress. You know, it’s just that the whole country — the whole world, really — sees me as some sort of huge doofus, the type of monumental klutz who single-handedly brings down a billion-dollar presidential campaign. I’m sure everyone is really pissed off at me. And they’re right to be angry. You know, in times like these we have to take a moment to step back and smile. Want to see something cute? It’s a picture of a baby elephant trunk. Look, I’ve got it right here on my phone.
Doh! Please forgive me. It’s not my fault. Contrary to what’s been said in the media, I don’t enjoy this, all these articles and news reports characterizing me as some kind of incurable exhibitionist. Honestly, I don’t like being the focus of so much attention. I don’t want everyone looking at me. Just one special NYU poli sci major with whom I’ve been chatting. Are you reading this, Amanda Zamarra? Check your inbox for a message with a huge attachment.
Yikes, again, I offer my apologies. Seriously, I didn’t grow up thinking one day I’d marry the top aide to the first female presidential candidate for a major party, then screw it all up by sexting with an underaged teen and getting caught. No, believe it or not, I had other things on my mind when I was young. Sports, for example. Just look at this picture in my high school yearbook, there I am with the swim team. Can you see the ol’ wiener through my speedos?
Oh man, there I go again. Would someone please kindly lock me up? And if you don’t mind, just tell me how good I look in these jockey shorts?
Anthony Weiner is a former U.S. congressman from New York
There I was on the subway, minding my own business, when this skinny young thing who had been staring at me tapped my shoulder and said, “Excuse me, but I must confess that I cannot ignore your mass, which requires two seats, while two of me could fit snuggly into one.”
Can you believe that crap? I gave her that “I had a long freaking day so don’t mess with me” look, thinking she’d go back to reading “Carrot Sticks Monthly,” but no. She cupped her hands around her mouth and continued her oration to the whole subway car.
“Ladies and gentleman, those who wish to help me along, a proper fat-shaming this glutton needs, so please join me in song.”
I’d read about fat-shaming, but I had never experienced it. It felt bad.
By now, other passengers were taking out their earbuds and paying attention. I am not in the mood for your performance art, I told her with my eyes. Plus, her rhyme scheme sucked.
“It’s no secret how one stays so gorgeously lean, just don’t start your day with 16 pints of ice cream.”
People were snickering. And yeah, a couple of punk-ass teenagers were singing along. Someone was recording a video. Great, just my luck. And would any of them have cared if I’d mentioned that today, of all days, I’d just begun a diet?
“Do you like eating burgers, twelve in one sitting? Here, dress yourself in this king-sized bed sheet, the look is quite fitting.”
Yeah, I was getting pissed off alright, giving Miss Twiggy a serious case of skank eye, but funnily enough, all that food talk was making me hungry.
“We don’t enjoy this intervention, not ever so slightly, it’s just that your health concerns us so mightily.”
That got everyone nodding. Smug jerks. All I could think was, damn, I wish I had a bag of Funions.
“What will you do now, will you heed this warning? Or will you go back to stuffing your face with 12 donuts each morning?”
Sure, there wasn’t an ounce of meat on her scrawny legs, and her anorexia breath was nauseating, but there was something rather yummy-looking about her bare midriff. And her sinewy neck. The way her tendons quivered each time she belted out a line reminded me of buffalo wings.
“Hey you, Miss Two-Ton, what do you say? Will you start taking better care of yourself this very day?
I wouldn’t normally think of binging in public, but my stomach was begging for a little morsel. I grabbed her by her skinny waist, held her sideways like a hotdog, and chomped into her ribs.
“Ouch, hey, stop, that hurts quite a bit. What do you think I am, a human banana split?”
She smelled like rotting kale and she didn’t taste all that good, but you know how it goes. Once you start with snacks, you can’t stop till you finish the whole bag.
“Even if you devour me in front of this crowd, I will continue to shame you, and shame you out loud.”
I moved on to her thighs, which were all bone, then ate her calves and feet. Her midsection was a little better, but her insides tasted of nothing but coffee and multivitamins. Did this girl never eat?
“Heart disease, diabetes, depression and strokes: just a few of the consequences of obesity, really, no joke.”
Her arms weren’t much better, nor did her chest offer much flesh. But I couldn’t give up, now that I was so close to being done.
“I was just a kind stranger who just wanted merely to help out, but sure, just forget it. I hope that after eating me, you develop a nasty case of gout.”
I popped her head into my mouth and didn’t even chew. Bad habit, but the train was at my stop, and I know that it’s not good to eat on the run.
Another day, another story of a powerful, egomaniacal woman telling her stay-at-home husband what he can or cannot do with his own body. In this case, I was the victim, but this wasn’t the first or even the second time. It wasn’t even the 475th time.
For countless years, I suffered daily spousal abuse. Practically every morning and evening, my wife told me that my manhood belonged to her. Can you imagine how I felt? My self-esteem was crushed. I saw my own penis as nothing but a piece of property to which I didn’t even hold the deed.
Sometimes I’d be standing at the toilet in the middle of the night, peeing and crying. “Don’t you worry, lil’ weener,” I’d say to it, looking down. “One day, you and I will be free.”
Well that day is today. I’m breaking out of my chains and I ain’t never going back. To my former oppressor, I say this: who do you think you are, the Cockmaster General? Is your name and contact information written in permanent marker on my tallywhacker? Can you show me proof of purchase?
I stand before the world and declare: my body belongs to me and me alone, and if I want to take photos of my penis and send them via text message to women I scarcely know yet who seem genuinely interested in me and whatever sort of heat I’m packing, that’s my decision.
Guilt guilt guilt, shame shame shame. That’s all society wants me and other cock-wielders to feel. And why? So that we stay creeping in the shadows? So that we’re made to feel as though we are lesser citizens?
We men have to stand up for ourselves and demand an end to the practice of cock-shaming. Today, not tomorrow. Let’s not hang our heads, but rather stand up tall and erect and declare today to be Cock Pride Day.
And it’s not just women who cock-shame us. What’s really disturbing is that some men cock-shame other men. That’s how ingrained into our psyches the oppression really is. Do you know how many guys over the years have said things to me like, Tony, bro, you should stop sending photos of your dick to that person you met online who claims to be a stripper. You’re married. It’s weird.
Well I think they’re weird.
When I was a toddler, before I was manipulated into accepting society’s hypocritical standards, I used to be a veritable cock-swinger. Why, I’d show my penis to just about anyone, no matter the circumstances. It was something I truly enjoyed. But then, in the second grade, Mrs. Dimpledort told me to put it away, threatening to whack my Wee Willie Winkie with a yardstick. And so I kept it hidden, in the dark recesses of my Jockey shorts, for the next 45 years, thinking that I was doing the “right” thing.
But hello, it’s the year 2016, not 1866, when a man could scarcely refer to his penis as his “little travelling one-man circus” without getting judged by his peers, let alone take a photo of it and send it via Pony Express to a lady in California for their mutual amusement and/or arousal. But today is different, and just as we don’t stand for body-shaming of any sort, we must not stand for cock-shaming.
To my former oppressor, I offer you the the immortal words of Beyoncé: if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.
Anthony Weiner is a former congressman from New York and an unrepentant cock-swinger