I don't want to pile on the guy any more, but I do want to point out something interesting about the pictures suddenly flooding in from every corner of the internet--which is that there comes a point in a scandal when confirmation of the transgression starts flooding in. It's not, at first glance, obvious why. A tabloid would have paid money for nude pictures of Anthony Weiner three weeks ago, but no one was offering them up. Now they're almost a drug on the market, as seemingly every single girl Anthony Weiner has texted with rushes to publication with her stash of body shots.
Why is this? It's not like this is the only time it's happened. The most remarkable piece of the Jayson Blair story was that some of the people he claimed to have interviewed read the stories, knew that they hadn't talked to him--and didn't bother telling anyone. Why? As near as I can make out, they simply assumed that everything in newspapers is made up anyway--and Blair had been at least smart enough not to put any words in their mouth that they would be determined to contest. But then, why come forward when Blair was exposed as a liar?
It seems that there's a tipping point in scandals. But what causes it? Does seeing other women expose their private sexual messages give you some sort of social sanction to follow suit? Is the money available for naked snapshots of congressmen higher when the scandal is hot? Are the women not aware that these things have market value until they see someone else on television? Clearly there's some sort of social contagion here, but I'm not sure I understand the nature of it.
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is a columnist at Bloomberg View
and a former senior editor at The Atlantic.
Her new book is The Up Side of Down