Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni: Judgment fails below the belt

Why don't some powerful men realise private parts are best left that way?

Illustration / Anna Crichton
Illustration / Anna Crichton

There are few things more staggering to the female mind than the notion that a picture of an unknown man's penis, sent to your inbox, will shock, awe and inspire.

Usually, the offending image will usually be deleted like all the other flotsam and jetsam washed up by the internet: the Nigerian bank scams, the shonky stock tips, the bank frauds and other fakery.

But it would be pretty hard to resist thinking long and ... ahem ... hard on such an image, if it was sent from the cellphone of a politician poised to make the career comeback of a lifetime.

A man who, disgraced once before, is now seeking redemption in the public eye, and plumping for America's top job in city government - mayor of New York.

Anthony Weiner (by name, and forever more by reputation) is not the first powerful man to have found himself resorting to ridiculously risky sex acts to get through the day, but because of his pioneering use of technology, he surely claims the crown as the biggest digital kamikaze in recent memory.

Not only was he shot down in flames in 2011 for sending pictures of his appendage to young women, but it has now emerged that he continued sending them the graphic shots for up to a year afterwards, under the pseudonym "Carlos Danger".

We've had randy pxters before, even in New Zealand - remember the unnamed doctor who claimed he'd inadvertently snapped shots of his John Thomas when his cellphone fell out of his pocket while going to the toilet, then, through no fault of his own, stored the images and accidentally sent them on to random female patients when his computer misfired?

That limp excuse was just the latest in a long line of justifications for the actions of the high-powered. And while such men of influence can seemingly be trusted with our finances, our laparoscopic surgery, even our nightly news, they cannot seem to exercise the same good judgment when it comes to resisting the desire to expose themselves to all and sundry.

The sex is not the issue. Judgment is what matters here. Can someone who cannot be trusted not to grab a phone, pull down his underpants and take a picture of his private parts for wide digital dissemination be trusted to run a major public institution? Or a bank? Or even a meeting?

According to new guidelines published by the American Psychiatric Association, "sex addiction" is not an actual physical addiction, so other causes must be found.

Perhaps such behaviour soothes anxiety or depression; the risk of humiliation adding another frisson of excitement.

One thing we can deduce, not only from Weiner but from many like him, is that powerful people often have a feeling of grandiosity - that the rules that apply to normal people don't apply to them.

Which is great when you want lateral thinking and vision from a civic leader or CEO.

But not when you're expecting a missive on rate rises, say, and end up with a load of bollocks.

- NZ Herald

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Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni is a columnist, commentator and TV producer/journalist. She first wrote columns for the NZ Herald in 1995, moving to daily business news in 1999 for four years, and then to TVNZ in Business, News and Current Affairs. After tiring of the parenting/blogging beat for the Herald Online she moved back to her first love, business (with a politics chaser), writing a column for Friday Business since 2012.

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