Jun 142011
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

This summer, I plan on spending every weekend with overweight, middle-aged men in furry loin cloths.

There’s a good chance I’ll be called “wench” at least a few dozen times, probably by the aforementioned men, and I’ll regularly be blinded by pasty bodies billowing out of tight pleather pants and chain mail.

But you know what? I won’t be offended by any of it. In fact, it’s all become mundane since I started working at the Colorado Renaissance Festival.

Under the technical job title of “Food Wench,” I began working at the Renaissance Festival last summer. While I didn’t plan on returning this year, my lack of cash and desire for food other than oatmeal urged me to change my mind.

So now, for two days out of the week, I mingle with half-naked pseudo-knights and talk about commonplace things like movies. And while the knights’ outfits of metal underwear may be socially acceptable at my weekend job, they would be the reason for an indecent exposure arrest at, say, the movie theater.

There’s a simple explanation for these conflicting scenarios: Context is everything.

And this is exactly what should be considered in the debate over whether Rep. Anthony Weiner should be forced to resign.

Let’s say Weiner had sent out those same infamous Twitter photos in some alternate universe. In this universe, instead of a congressman, Weiner was a famous professional swimmer (which he probably already fancies himself, based on the obvious admiration he has for his own abs).

Weiner would probably still be chastised in this alternate universe for being arrogant, creepy and for betraying his wife. But the picture scandal wouldn’t have garnered nearly the amount of media attention for swimmer-Weiner as it has for Rep. Weiner.

This is because Congressman Weiner holds a position that demands professional respect, honorable reputation and a need for incisive decision-making –– qualities that aren’t always a necessity for the success of a professional athlete.

Just last year, married NFL quarterback Brett Favre faced criticism after allegedly “sexting” a woman who worked for the New York Jets, an offense that held the same magnitude of Weiner’s. And while Favre risked losing the personal respect of his fans, not many believed he should stop playing football.

In Weiner’s case, there are also quite a few who think the photo scandal, while disgraceful, shouldn’t be a reason for the end of or any sort of tarnish on his political career. Recently, I’ve heard many people say, “What he does in his personal life is his business. It doesn’t have anything to do with his professional life.”

That may be true of Favre. But in the context of Weiner’s political career, the illogical and rash decision-making he exhibited by sending the racy photos proved detrimental in a career where keen decision-making skills are imperative.

Not only did Weiner discredit his respectability by sending the photos, he further blemished his reliability by initially lying about his involvement.

When he did finally admit to taking and lying about the photos, Weiner attempted to defend himself at a press conference by saying, “Nothing about this should reflect on my official duties or oath of office.”

But it does, Weiner. It does.

He holds a job that requires not only an ability to make good choices, but also demands the respect and trust from his constituents.

And if Weiner is able to so easily lose all of that in a scandal revolving around his personal life, corrupt dealings in his political life are sure to accompany.

That is to say, I don’t think people have two brains: personal and professional. While behavior may change to suit a professional environment, if someone is a lying jerk personally, they’re sure to be one professionally, too.

So while context is essential to consider when examining “appropriate” and “inappropriate” behavior, a person is a person, no matter the context.

And in this case, a person is not only a person, a Weiner is a…

Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 8:32 am

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