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Disgrace with dignity: in Weiner's downfall, hold the relish

Posted by Alan Wirzbicki  June 17, 2011 01:48 PM

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It's been hard, these days, to feel sympathy for Anthony Weiner, who managed to derail his promising career with a string of lewd, juvenile, idiotic tweets. But at the press conference yesterday where he announced his resignation, a group of hecklers somehow managed to make the — what's the techical term, twit? — look like the victim.

There were loud interruptions throughout Weiner's four-minute statement, which took place in a senior center in his district, in a room teeming with reporters. When Weiner announced that he was quitting, somebody cheered and shouted out, "Bye-bye, pervert!" Benjy Bronk, a writer for Howard Stern's show, kept pressing the congressman with questions as "Are you fully erect? The people demand to know!" Weiner didn't acknowledge the shouting, though he looked a bit shaken. And it sounds as if the bona fide reporters in the room were agitated as well; in this clip, you can hear someone yelling, "He's not with us!"

One could argue that Weiner invited this sort of scene, since his scandal felt like the doings of a socially stunted 15-year-old. On the other hand, someone trying to atone for a major mistake deserves to do it on his own terms. In his dishonor, Weiner was finally doing the honorable thing: Standing up before the cameras, taking responsibility for his actions, apologizing to his constituents, his colleagues, and his family. The jokes about Weinergate have pretty much written themselves, and they'll keep coming. But during his final act of contrition, a disgraced congressman deserved, at last, a modicum of respect.

Globe photo: Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, announces his resignation at a press conference in New York City yesterday.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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