Over at ThinkProgress, in a message for Rep. Anthony Weiner Matt Yglesias described the twitter photo controversy as a “sex scandal.” I say it is no such thing.
If you look at the picture, you can see no genitalia of any kind. What you can see is what appears to be a pair of men’s briefs with some kind of bulge in them. But you cannot see what is causing the bulge which, for all you know, may just be a banana strategically placed there. In fact, it is unclear if it is even a pair of briefs on a human as opposed to on a mannequin. (If you want to take another look, you can see it here) The fact of the matter is that there is no penis in that picture, erect or otherwise.
Anyone who thinks they are looking at a penis is only imagining that they are seeing a penis. They are seeing no such thing. So for them to think that it is a “lewd” photo is just describing something in their own imaginations. And I don’t feel it is right that Rep. Weiner must defend himself against what people are imagining they are seeing. Yes, he didn’t do himself any favors by casting doubt over whether or not it is a picture of himself, but that still doesn’t negate the fact that there is nothing lewd in that picture at all. The only lewdness is in people’s imaginations.
A few years ago my late mother-in-law once looked at my size 13 shoes and said, “My, what big feet you have.” And I, being the playful type, said, “Yeah, but that’s just a myth.” To which she replied, “Oh, don’t be so fresh.” I had to tell her, “I didn’t say anything, you imagined that!” And that is exactly what’s going on here. Anybody who thinks that was a lewd photo are denouncing what they imagine they are seeing. It is not a sex scandal when there is no sex involved and people are upset over what they imagine they are seeing.