June 9th, 2011
11:41 PM ET

Anthony Weiner proves innuendo is rarely below the belt

Like his near-namesake sausage, we’ve wolfed down Anthony Weiner’s sorry saga with relish. It’s puerile. But the story was like a gift from the fifth-grade gods.

Monday’s inevitable apology led some to suggest that the famously flashy Weiner was shrinking. Others strove to get the view of his staff on the view of his 'staff'. How we chortled when one tweeter bemoaned the fact that Boehner wouldn’t stand up for Weiner.

Should we be surprised at this outburst of adolescence, arguably belonging in the schoolyard but rife everywhere from news outlets to late night comedy shows? Probably not.

Innuendo is as old as the hills. While some human phenomena, such as cave painting, letter writing, cassette recording and Mel Gibson have fallen by the wayside, innuendo just keeps hitting our giggle spot.

Double entendre was good enough for Geoffrey Chaucer and it was good enough for Charles Dickens, so why shouldn’t it be good enough for writers of a lesser caliber? Thinly-veiled filth inspired us as children just as it inspired the urban legends we grew up with. If Dickens could identify one of Fagin’s gang members interchangeably as “Charley” and “Master” Bates, why shouldn’t the creator of the “Captain Pugwash” comic strip take it one step further? Journalists at “The Guardian” and “The Sunday Correspondent” found out to their cost that he didn’t.

Any ambiguities in comics or classic literature pale in comparison to the innuendo we’ve witnessed on screen. Most British youngsters have come to understand sexual overtones courtesy of the “Carry On” film series. Here’s some choice dialogue from 1968’s “Carry on Doctor”:

Matron: Young chickens may be soft and tender but the older birds have more on them.

Patient: Yes. And take a lot more stuffing.

American readers may not be familiar with the “Carry On” franchise. And that’s little short of a tragedy. I implore you to watch at least one film. No, that’s a lie. I implore you to watch only one. There may be 30-odd movies, but when you’ve seen one, you’ve actually seen them all.

From “Monty Python” to “Family Guy,” TV writers have offered up an abundance of insinuation over the years. But if Weinergate tells us anything, it’s that innuendo is a dish best served in an unscripted scenario.

Sexual suggestion in sport is an old favorite. People play with balls, for goodness’ sake. It’s an open invitation. And commentators seem unable to purge the possibilities. Think of a rowing boat’s steersman or either of the two Olympic weightlifting events, and you’ll get the idea.

My personal (CNN.com-friendly) sporting examples include Ross King asking relay runner Phil Redmond about his amazing third leg, and Steve Ryder’s acknowledgement that Seve Ballesteros felt much better after a 69 the previous day.

Double entendres are an infinite delight – and they’re fair game in a modern media. Though I will spare a thought for the publisher of Canada’s second-oldest magazine,”The Beaver”, who was heartbreakingly forced to change its name to “Canada’s History” early last year.

We writers can strive all we want to create some crafty wordplay on the Anthony Weiner scandal. But the basic fact remains this exhibitionist Congressman-turned-exhibitionist tweeter has a name allied to his prize exhibit. And you certainly can’t script that.

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. A Wilson of Forest Hills

    Weiner currently claims his wife has asked him to stay in office; if he cared about her dignity, he would not have gotten into this pickle in the first place. Weiner was the loyal assistant to Schumer and liked to rub elbows with Hevisi (unfortunately, another scandalized family), but has always appeared the wannabe and light-weight as a protege. Time for new blood. This is a powerful democratic district that deserves appropriate and unblemished representation. We've seen toooooo much of Weiner now and it is imperative that he exit, stage left, the show is over.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:16 am | Reply
  2. Chris Iweha

    Some body should wisper into Weiners ears, that public services is only sustained by integrity, trust and character, all these he has lost. Please get out!!.

    June 10, 2011 at 5:26 am | Reply
  3. Abraham Lincoln

    Weiner obviously has long term political aspirations.. Who knows, maybe right to the top.. Do you think a potential political candidate who gets his twig and berries out on the web should be managing anything more than a tool shed..?
    Sarah Palin/ Donald Trump, running for president? The Terminator as the governor of one of the biggest economies in the world.. (Well used to be)
    American politics is becoming a joke.. Dancing with the Politicians? Who wants to be a President?... The U.S is rapidly becoming a theme park...
    Shallow political rhetoric sounds like it's being written by Hollywood scriptwriters..
    Weiner, grab your junk and jump...

    June 10, 2011 at 6:38 am | Reply
  4. Marcia

    Come on, lighten up!! This is a humor piece...I'm sure you can find another forum to vent your frustrations!

    June 10, 2011 at 7:42 am | Reply
  5. Walid

    First it was Strauss Kahn and now Wiener; both high profile Jewish politicians that disgraced the Jewish communities in France and the US. Is it the power and arrogance that motivate such personalities to abuse their position in society? Do they consider themselves untouchables? It would be interesting studying these two cases from psychological view point. Of course we had Clinton, the governor of New York and recently Schwarzenegger committing also the same stupid things. Should we really care? At the end, the ¨spin doctors¨ will work the facts over until the whole affair is swept under the carpet.

    June 10, 2011 at 10:52 am | Reply
  6. fearless

    To the writer of this article,
    All I have to say is you get a gold star! You are obviously a brilliant writer who has a true command of the language, and due to that are able to twist and turn phrases so that your audience is left only with delight! Excellent piece!

    June 10, 2011 at 11:12 am | Reply
  7. Abraham Lincoln

    Yes, this is a humor piece and I used to be a fan of the Carry On movies.. If this guy was another Charlie Sheen it would be all part of the entertainment circus.. But glib journalism dilutes and undermines the fact that this guy is a politician responsible for a lot of people.. Sack his sorry ass.. It's no wonder the U.S is heading down the toilet... Elmo for prez...

    June 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  8. jff

    Not unlike Clinton's response to his scandal, Weiner seems to be getting a little bent out of shape.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  9. Jezmundberserker

    Walid, your comment is rather biased and partly stupid. SK and Weiner disgraced only themselves. No one's accusing all Syrians of being murderers because Bashar al-Assad is.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  10. Hector

    You have to be really stupid to do what he did and more so in his political position, I think the country is better off without him as a politician

    June 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  11. Danny

    Rep Weiner the door has been open, take your weiner and go home.

    June 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  12. Lynn

    Not stupid, just extremely arrogant. Which seems to be an epidemic in this country especially when it comes to politicians and anyone in a position of power! Maybe if the giant corporations like PG&E, BP and JP Morgan Chase flashed some wiener over the internet instead of blowing up a neighborhood and killing 8 people, destroying a coastline, killing thousands of animals and ruining the livelyhoods of those who live there and bilking people out of their homes and retirement money, they might be held accountable too! Granted this man is an arrogant idiot for thinking he could get away with it, but let's face it, there are people out there getting away with far worse!

    June 10, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  13. Sabine

    Great and ambitious men are after all just men .. a lot of them stumbled over the fact of just being that.. what would have been discovered about MM and JFK in case things went s diff way, what about Billy Clinton and his Oval Office affair, what about yourself .. ask yourself one question : what would you do if you get an offer, beautiful girl says hi and is charming..

    June 11, 2011 at 12:09 am | Reply

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