Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Stating my Possibly Unpopular Opinion Re: Rep. Barton

There are a couple of things about l'affaire Barton that I think, just being a reasonable person, don't seem all that scandalous. He divorced in 2015. He had some consenting relationships with adult women. He sent them communications of a sexual nature. One of the women seems to have felt some way about having competition, and shared material that was intended to remain private. He advised her beforehand that this was a bad idea and not without repercussions.

Here's the thing--releasing a graphic video or photos of someone in an intimate situation because it screws with them when that person did not want it out and about is called "revenge porn". It is a crime in many states, and a damn nasty trick to pull on someone. All things considered, if he and the individual who released the material had a relationship that was cool and consensual at one point, and he felt like opening up in this way, turning around and using his vulnerability against him is just not cool, whether he is a US Congressman or a total political hack or has garbage opinions about the environment or health care, or any other thing totally not related to a naked video of Rep. Joe Barton making the rounds on social media.  He's a person who has a right to not have his private shit thrown out in the street like this.

I also have a problem with the body-shaming comments getting made about a video that was not ever made for mass consumption--also not cool, not necessary, not really an apt criticism. A dude in his 60's with a mostly desk-related job might not be your idea of pleasing to the eye. Got it. But he never made that for you. He made that for someone he thought would appreciate it and not actually release it to the broader public, because why in the hell would someone do that?

Which is kind of where judgment does come into this situation. When you send any material digitally to someone else, you run the risk of it being reproduced or forwarded to who knows how many other people. Being a person in his political position, he should have been well aware of the risk to his reputation if it ever came out--but he was being trusting. He just didn't think. Things being what they are, though, one always has to be thinking.  And I guess I can see where social conservatives may see this in a different light than I do.

There is precious little overlap between me and Barton politically, but I think he's getting some blowback about this story and its framing that is not entirely fair. It's not about him--it's about whether this is ever a way anyone should try to screw over a romantic/sexual partner if things end poorly. And I say this is not OK. If he's in jeopardy related to his job, it should be because he's said dumb stuff about wind being a finite resource or that we should apologize to BP over the Gulf oil spill, or has nonsense ideas about workers' rights and minimum wage and other right wing claptrap. It should be at the ballot box he gets his, and not over this.

Unless it turns out he sent that to be creepy or abusive to someone who never wanted it or some garbage like that. But the story so far doesn't seem to make him out to be that guy.

UPDATE: I guess it might be a factor in considering Barton's overall ethics that he was likely still married when he began his relationship, but this really still wouldn't have any bearing on whether it's appropriate to digitally pimp someone's business.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Have any of the Fox commentariat blamed Anthony Weiner for Barton's indiscretion?

This whole sordid kerfuffle is best ignored.

Harry Hamid said...

I assume we all have embarrassing things we've done we'd prefer not to see the light of day. Joe Barton is odious in his professional life. But this doesn't change my thinking about him, really.

tony in san diego said...

I am just glad I had my wild youth before cell phones were invented!

Jeff Ryan said...

100% correct. Lousy guy politically, doesn't justify this.