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James Taranto Calls Feminists “Hypocrites” for Defending Anthony Weiner Because He Wanted to Sell A Nude Statue on Craigslist

James Taranto has a strange op/ed in the Wall Street Journal accusing feminists of being hypocrites for defending Anthony Weiner, the liberal Democratic congressman who inadvertently exposed his boxer-brief-clad crotch to the entire Internet during a botched online flirtation with a stranger.

Taranto has noticed that many feminists are defending Weiner’s right to legal, consensual sexual expression on the grounds that he’s not one of those “family values” hypocrites who tries to micromanage everyone else’s sexuality.

Taranto feels this is unfair. If the hypocrisy standard takes hold, his side is at a permanent disadvantage. Republicans and Democrats probably are probably equally likely to get into sex scandals, but Republicans are virtually guaranteed to be hypocrites. That’s because the GOP drove out its social moderates years ago and doubled down on the anti-choice, abstinence-only-til-hetero-marriage bullshit.

So, Taranto sets out to prove that Weiner’s public record is indeed at odds with his habit of sending pictures of his private parts to women other than his wife and that feminists are simply determined to ignore the evidence. Ergo, feminists are the real hypocrites! This is where it gets weird. He writes:

This premise, however, is quite glaringly false. The left does have, or at least professes to have, moral standards when it comes to sexual behavior: the moral standards of feminism. And Anthony Weiner has a record as a feminist scold. Blogger Don Surber notes that in February, Weiner urged that a “sexist” statue, “The Triumph of Civic Virtue,” be removed from a park near Queens Borough Hall. Stacy McCain found WPIX-TV video of a press conference at which Weiner denounced the statue: “I believe in art, I believe in public art. . . . But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a right to say, forcefully, some art is simply offensive to us and we think it should go.”

The Triumph of Civic Virtue is a sculpture that shows a nude male figure (Civic Virtue) standing triumphant over two woman-serpent hybrids (Vice and Corruption). The statue stood outside of New York City Hall until 1941 when Mayor LaGuardia couldn’t take it anymore and regifted it to Queens, where the New York Daily News eventually dubbed it “The Eyesore Next Door.” 

Of course, once the Daily News heard that some people wanted it gone because they thought it was sexist to cast Civic Virtue as a manly man trampling the Snake Women of Vice and Corruption, the tabloid developed an uncharacteristic zeal for Beaux Arts sculpture.

If you’re going to have a Triumph of Civic Virtue statue, you’d better maintain it, lest it become a self-indicting joke. The sculpture has fallen into disrepair and experts estimate that it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore the decrepit art object to its former glory, such as it was.

The question of what to do with the thing has beset the local community board for years. Suffice it to say that there’s little public enthusiasm for spending close to a million dollars to restore a statue that New Yorkers have been hating since 1923. Some civic leaders simply want it torn down.

Thinking outside the box, Rep. Weiner suggested selling the sexually explicit statue on Craigslist. Now that’s what I call consistency.


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