Here's to the Internet -- bringing out the worst in us since the 1990s

The real lesson of Weinergate: The Internet's scandal-penance-rebirth cycle is shorter than ever. And there's no turning back

Page 2 of 2

Now, of course, we find out that Weiner never stopped being a d***. Long after he was embarrassed out of office, the deposed Congressman proceeded to to engage in hot SMS chats with a 22-year-old woman while using the pseudonym "Carlos Danger." (I'm not making that up.) The chat exchanges were revealed on a site called The Dirty, and they are just that. Of course, there are also photos of the Congressional member, of which Weiner is apparently and inexplicably proud.

The timing of Weiner's press conference was, I am convinced, planned to fall as close to the emergence of the Royal Baby as possible, in the hopes it might quickly drop off the front page of Google News. (No such luck, Tony.)

All of this was made possible by the very things I've been talking about. But because our appetite for scandal is insatiable and brief, the time gap between Embarrassing Incident That Should End Your Career Forever and Miraculous Re-Emergence Into Public Life has grown shorter and shorter.

Short-attention-span political theater

It took New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer five years to let the stink of his escort scandal wash off before deciding to run for public office again. Four years passed between South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's disappearance with his Argentine mistress and his election to Congress. Weiner has is now testing the limits of the scandal gap at 24 months. Whether he'll weather this new storm or be forced to go back to dirty texting under a ridiculous pseudonym has yet to be determined.

This is how different things are now. Back in 1988 when Gary Hart stupidly challenged reporters to follow him and see if he was really having an affair -- of course they did and of course he was -- that was the end of his presidential ambitions. Game over, dude. See you on the cable news chat shows.

Today, Hart would be able to shrug it off in a tearful press conference while his long-suffering wife stood beside him singing "Stand By Your Man." His gal pal Donna Rice would be given a role on a reality TV show or maybe "The View." We'd have already moved on to the next scandal before you could say "Monkey Business."

Part of that is no doubt due to the Lewinsky Effect, but I think mostly its due to the exponential increase in information (and scandals) brought about by the Internet. If Weiner succeeds in shrugging off yet another "gate"? Watch David Petraeus announce that he's running for president in 2016.

Remember, you read it here first.

Should Weiner keep it in his pants and resign from the race? Post your thoughts below or email me: But please keep the -- ahem -- personal photos to yourselves.

This article, "Here's to the Internet -- bringing out the worst in us since the 1990s," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

| 1 2 Page 2
From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies