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Bathroom mirrors and cellphones, a lethal mix in modern American politics

June 10, 2011 |  5:28 am

Abraham Lincoln photographs himself with a CellphoneWho knew that bathroom mirrors would become such a politically potent item in this leadup year to a presidential election?

Especially when paired with a cellphone camera.

Some voters well beyond the age of 18 can remember when those reflective things were dinky squares of glass on the back of a little knobbed door opening to a modest medicine cabinet.

The personal closet behind the mirror held medicinal and other secrets that sometimes attracted the curiosity of visitors who were supposed to be using bathroom facilities.

Fathers and grandfathers stretched up their chins to see in that mirror where they were shaving a vulnerable throat. And women did whatever they do in front of those things.

But no one in those days envisioned mirrors stretching the entire wall width of the room, across two sinks and an expansive counter. And no one envisioned taking instant photos there, let alone transmitting such private images to a wider world.

Twitter profile pages would be blank, it seems, without bathroom mirrors to allow members to photograph themselves in all kinds of interesting positions.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Dumbest Rep of All?

But here we are in 2011 with a flurry of seemingly otherwise intelligent folks photographing themselves or parts of themselva photo of Meagan Broussard she said she sent to anthony weineres and sharing them electronically with strangers they will likely never meet.

Which may actually be the reason for the false sense of security that comes with many of today's electronic goodies. The false sense of privacy and distance, much like those casual airplane conversations with adjacent passengers you know you'll never see again.

A few months ago we had the New York Rep. Chris Lee using his cell and bathroom mirror to photograph his own bare chest and abs -- and, worse, his actual face -- to post for an online date. How does a married man -- and a Republican at that -- explain that away?

He couldn't. So he was gone from Congress rather quickly.Rep Chris Lee of New York

Now, comes another representative who drinks New York water, Anthony Weiner. Despite initial denials, it turns out the married Democrat had serial sex by Twitter, Facebook and phones with at least six women across the country, including Meagan Broussard, a single mother in Texas (see photo).

Weiner has decided he does not need to resign, despite mounting calls for his departure.

The motivations for such public sharing are likely as diverse as each individual involved, prompted by the false sense of privacy and security from being alone, perhaps intrigued by the interest of a famous or attractive person and the seeming safety of distance, though surely not anonymity. And apparently fueled by a sense of omnipotence in the minds of some pols.

According to the TMZ website, Weiner was aware two weeks ago that some blogger was contacting his female correspondents about his electronic liaisons. Yet he continued his exchanges, including posting to Twitter the now notorious cellphone photo of his bulging underpants.

Thank you for sharing.

RELATED:

Anthony Weiner doesn't rule out more photos to emerge

Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, is reportedly pregnant

Weiner's resignation now sought by a growing number of people not sexted by him

 -- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Courtesy of @MrTruthIsHere (Lincoln); ABC News (Broussard); Associated Press (Lee).

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