There is nothing good about the resurgence of the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, except for the part where it might force an already questionable mayoral candidate out of the race. But the most loathsome part is how it’s enabled every commentator to offer his or her own explanation for the seemingly evident troubles between Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, the former Hilary acolyte who’s been held up as a model of loveless post-Lewinsky restraint as she’s somehow stayed by her man despite all the evidence that he’s a truly clueless boner-jammed dumbo.
Boner jams are no laughing matter, but we’ve really got no reason to explain from afar why and how two miserable people are miserable. That much should be obvious to anyone rational, but New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s launched herself from the periphery with an explanation of Abedin’s deference that’s astonishingly jaw-dropping in its dumbness. Her doozy of a lede, from a column titled “Time to Hard-Delete Carlos Danger” (that’s clever, at least):
WHEN you puzzle over why the elegant Huma Abedin is propping up the eel-like Anthony Weiner, you must remember one thing: Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia, where women are treated worse by men than anywhere else on the planet. Comparatively speaking, the pol from Queens probably seems like a prince.
Which earns points not just for being as earnestly clueless as any other explanation, but also sort of racist. No, it’s not enough to accept the peculiarly human tendency of acting at odds against your better judgment, how Abedin could look at this manipulative human priapism and decide, “Yeah, that’s still my husband” despite everyone telling her otherwise. Instead, her loyalty must be ascribed to the timid nature of all Saudi Arabians, raised in the merciless Middle East with no egalitarian agency of their own; this, to an accomplished and worldly woman who’s spent years in the United States, far away from the clutches of her Arabic male dominators.
But it’s more aggravating to consider the broader picture, which is an American-born white woman generalizing a culture that’s a hemisphere away in order to neatly fit her lazy guesswork. Whatever the reason for Abedin’s poker face, it certainly isn’t because she was raised in Saudi Arabia, just as Weiner’s dick woes aren’t attributable to the fact that he grew up in New York City. The rest of Dowd’s column is a decent look at the parallels between Abedin and her mentor, Hilary—rather, how the Clintons have been strong to disavow the parallels that Weiner would surely like to draw. But it’s soured by that woeful lede, the nadir of a punditry in ceaseless search of a justification. Maybe her editor should’ve hard-deleted it, huh? And maybe everyone should stop attempting to grasp the ungraspable.