Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
July 25, 2013

Weiner, the Media and the New Yorker Cover: Without the Copters, You Don't Get a Kong

The combination of Weiner’s masochism and the media on him like sticky paper has become excruciating to watch.

Since the sexting scandal first broke, Weiner’s defining physiognomic feature has been the tension around his cheeks, jaw, mouth and neck. At this point, the degree of strain is a barometer of how much stress, or more specifically, the soaring level of psychological conflict and pain he’s in.

Beyond the neck strain (in both of them), what a horrifying look he delivered his wife yesterday. One set of reaction to surmise (especially from the eyes) is fear, panic and confusion. The thing that is harder to look at, but perhaps easier to imagine, is anger, hate even. To be fair, Weiner was cycling through a lot of emotions during that press conference and given the exchange of looks, what this most realistically captures is the apoplexy he and Huma are sharing. That being said, however, you have to wonder if those other emotions aren’t threaded in there too.

But back to the image leading the story the NYT ran last night. At this point, the visual symbolism has descending to the level of cliche.

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”?

Just as pathetic, however, is the ad being served alongside the photo — an internet come-on filled with links to hot women with names like sugarfresh16 and Heyjude2222 for Match.com. Just business, right?

I’m working on a more extended post about Weiner and that NYT Magazine cover story two months back. I’m examining it, and the photo spread, in light of the Times editorial this week lambasting Weiner for supposedly leading them on. To the extent the media is, and has been enabling the man’s addiction and self-destruction and taking it to the bank, it’s just wrong.

I’d say The New Yorker cover captures it perfectly, by the way. It’s not just the city of New York and the mayor’s job as an extension of Weiner’s ego/member, the attention (overtly, from the public, and Danger-ously, from the women) like a hypodermic. It’s also about the media feasting like flies. Without the copters, you don’t get a Kong.

UPDATED for New Yorker cover – 8:10 am PST – 7/26

(illustration: John Cuneo for The New Yorker, photo 1: Bebeto Matthews/AP. photo 2: Getty Images. caption: Huma Abedin, wife of Anthony Weiner, a leading candidate for New York City mayor, speaks during a press conference on July 23, 2013 in New York City.)

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