Former representative, former New York City mayoral candidate and B-list selfie celebrity Anthony Weiner wrote his first column for Business Insider today. Here is the logo.
He may be a novice columnist, but he has already perfected the art of Internet opinions. His words look so familiar to one well-versed in Web argument that it's hard to believe Weiner didn't fill out an Internet column "Mad Libs." Let us unpack Weiner's first foray at Business Insider.
He wrote about Silicon Valley
Weiner's first column is titled, "Here's What Tesla And The Other Silicon Valley 'Disruptors' Don't Get About Politics." He hasn't even started writing, and he already won.
There are few things the Internet loves talking about more than Beyonce and itself, and Silicon Valley is the personification of the Internet and all things techy. Internet gold. He also mentions Uber and AirBnB. Both have been featured in New York Times trend pieces/Tom Friedman columns.
Weiner also left open an avenue for people to talk about the 2016 presidential race -- the political world's version of talking about Beyonce on the Internet. Weiner's column begins, "You might be surprised to see me launch this column by defending a conservative like Gov. Chris Christie, but when it comes to his administration’s beef with Tesla Motors, I think he might be getting a bad rap."
Does Anthony Weiner's slight approval for New Jersey's Chris Christie mean that Hillary Clinton won't run in 2016? We can only hope that someone will answer this by the end of the day. Maybe Weiner will answer the question himself next week!
Because the article is about Tesla, he of course mentions Elon Musk, its CEO, as well. The Internet loves Elon Musk very, very much. Silicon Valley's favorite thing to do is to "disrupt." When they see fellow disruptors, they rejoice. When they see those maligning disruptive justice, they get mad. Weiner's column ends by saying,
Tesla and these other tech disruptors might want to put more of their energy into finding ways to fit their innovations into existing regulations. In situations where that’s not possible, why don’t these founders and tech executives focus on getting wider public support or convincing lawmakers their causes are just? Instead, they seem to show up expecting the world to be wowed by their shiny new companies and losing it when people don’t get out of the way. Gnashing of teeth via press release doesn't make the case where it counts. If you want to be in the business of selling great cars, there may be more productive ways to spend your time than bitching about the laws that the majority have passed and reaffirmed from the time of the Model T.
Controversy -- and with tech people! And how! Give this man another 100 trillion page views.
He is watching things closely
Weiner writes, "New Jersey is the most recent front in the Tesla tussle. Even though there’s not much chance of me swapping out my '05 Ford Escape hybrid for one of the company’s Model X cars anytime soon, I’ve been watching the fight closely."
"Watching things closely" is the mark of a successful journalist. CNN's Wolf Blitzer is the chief-close watcher of the American media. On election night in 2008, he watched things closely at least 17 times. Weiner may have picked up the trait from Blitzer during their interview in 2011, where the representative discussed the Twitter picture that launched a thousand think pieces.
He admits he doesn't know a lot about something, and then writes about it.
Now let me stipulate to the fact that, during my time in Congress, like many other politicians, I received donations from car dealers. I should also note you could fill a book with what I don't know about New Jersey and I certainly don't know who promised what to whom in this case. Of course, I’ve also got plenty of problems with Christie and his policies. Still, I think the simplistic shouts of "let the market decide!" that we’re hearing from Tesla and their supporters minimizes the legitimacy of the regulations that have been passed over the years.
Connecting to your audience
Finding and keeping a readership is an essential part of being a good Internet columnist. Besides talking about hot topics like Silicon Valley and Elon Musk and Chris Christie, Weiner also talks about swinging dead cats in Washington. Which is apparently something that people have thought a lot about in our nation's history.
January 1, 2014: "You can’t swing a dead cat by the tail these days without hitting a news story about the lack of legislation issuing from the 113th Congress."
July 8, 2013: "You can’t swing a dead cat in Washington DC without smacking some congressman intent on pointing his finger at somebody else. Yes, indeed, we live in a time when 'tearing down' is the norm."
September 14, 2010: But look who's making it: the same lawmaker who introduced a bill that would have made it illegal for community associations to prevent homeowners from putting up clotheslines. Because you can't swing a dead cat by the tail without hitting someone whose inalienable right to air-dry his laundry has been cruelly trampled by the hobnailed boot of restrictive bylaws he didn't have to sign in the first place.
March 10, 2010: "They're baaack! After a quiet winter, a stampede of celebrity do-gooders (or as we like to call them, celebvocates) are bringing their dazzling teeth and earnest admonitions to the nation's capital this week. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting one -- good for autograph hounds, bad for all those causes vying for attention."
February 25, 2009: To corrupt an old phrase, you can't swing a dead cat in Washington these days without hitting a White House nominee who hasn't paid all of his or her taxes.
November 11, 2007: "Although you can't swing a dead cat in Des Moines or Cedar Rapids without hitting someone running for president, in Texas candidates are glimpsed only at very expensive, invitation-only soirees and dinners."
June 4, 2006: ""We've discovered you can't swing a dead cat in Anniston without hitting a gay person," Sullivan said. "It is the 'don't ask, don't tell' capital of the world. We were surrounded and we didn't even know it."
September 10, 2004: "The truth is, you can't swing a dead cat in this state without hitting somebody who hums "Hail to the Chief" at bedtime."
March 3, 2004: "'You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a pharmaceutical lobbyist in this building,' Catania said yesterday in his office as he celebrated the bill's passage with champagne and doughnuts, something he had never done before."
November 9, 2003: "'You can't swing a dead cow around here without hitting a candidate,' said Keith Kuper, another Iowa Falls farmer."
January 1, 2003: "'This [shipping] industry is a shadowy underworld,' said one American official involved in efforts to investigate the suspected al-Qa'ida ships. "After 11 September, we learnt how little we understood about commercial shipping. You can't swing a dead cat in the shipping industry without hitting somebody with phoney papers."
Great way of tapping into an unknown but apparently up for grabs readership!
And, most importantly of all, he is Anthony Weiner.
Weiner isn't the first politician to fall from grace and land in an Internet column (see fellow New York politician Eliot Spitzer). This isn't even Weiner's first columnist gig; He also writes for the New York Daily News, the news organization that has also published the sentence, "The 'if' is far bigger than Anthony Weiner’s dangerous appetite for sexting, but the failed mayoral candidate says he’d be mayor if it weren’t for the Internet."
The Washington Post asked Lara Brown, "an expert on congressional scandals," about Weiner's column yesterday. “Most of these people who engage in scandals or corruption or what have you usually have a pretty ardent base that stands behind them. They are going to be getting a lot of eyeballs because some people see them as victims of the intensely partisan culture and sympathize with them."