New York magazine's cover story on Anthony Weiner seemed to read like any other feature about the disgraced former congressman's mayoral bid, until it took an utterly bizarre turn when its writer, Mark Jacobson, decided to wax creepy poetic about the time he met the candidate's wife, Huma Abedin.
It's well known that Abedin, known to the world as Hillary Clinton's "body woman" who also stayed with Weiner post scandal, is considered one of the best things about the mayoral candidate. In fact, the New York Times reported that political aides were allegedly interested in working for Weiner's campaign not because of him, but because of her--and the possibility that she could serve as an entrance to Clinton's 2016 presidential bid, if the secretary of state ran for office.
What's less well known is how Jacobson personally feels about Abedin and her appearance. "Why would that ever be relevant?" one reader might wonder. "And her appearance? Surely, her appearance has nothing to do with the fact that she worked for Clinton and/or is married to a mayoral candidate, right?"
Apparently, Jacobson and his editors thought differently. I sighed when I read the gratuitous line that Abedin "was among Clinton's most trusted, not to mention most photogenic, aides." I began rolling my eyes when Abedin was described as "extraordinary," "exemplary" and "stellar" all within six sentences, thinking that Jacobson really liked her. But nothing, and I say nothing, could have prepared me for these paragraphs toward the end of the feature. In response to Weiner's question, "'You want to meet Huma?'" this followed:
In the Times Magazine article, Weiner describes the first time he noticed Huma Abedin, then working as the "body person" for First Lady Hillary Clinton. "I was like 'Wow, who is that?' ... She's like this intriguing, fascinating creature." At the time, the comment seemed on the creepy side. But now, as Huma entered the coffee shop, it was blazingly obvious what Weiner meant.
She approached in a knit white top and navy-blue business skirt, her dark, almost black hair down to her shoulders. She wore bright-red lipstick, which gave her lips a 3-D look, her brown eyes were pools of empathy evolved through a thousand generations of what was good and decent in the history of the human race. The harsh, cheap buck lighting in the coffee shop couldn't lay a glove on her. By the time she sat down, the harmony of angels had vanquished the tinny background music from every corporate space on the planet. Of course, you'd seen pictures before. But you'd also seen pictures of the Taj Mahal. It didn't quite come up to actually being there.
Part of me truly wonders if this is some joke that I'm failing to understand. But then, this cringeworthy nonsense appeared after Abedin showed Jacobson some books she read as a child:
Across the room, checking his BlackBerry, probably thinking about whether he was going to play hockey that night, Anthony Weiner began to take on the aspect of a very lucky man. How insane, how self-destructive, must he have been to have risked losing a life with this woman? Only someone who felt down deep that he didn't deserve such good fortune would have pulled something so twisted and dumb. But what marvelous relief it must have been to stare into Huma's eyes and feel forgiven. You could get drunk on such forgiveness. For all the endless talk of Weiner's narcissism, it was easy to see the mayor's race a whole other way: He was doing it for her. If Huma was willing to forgive him, what choice would the voters have but to do likewise? The entire Anthony Weiner-for-mayor project might turn out to be a winner or a loser; it might be nothing more than a mutually-agreed-upon delusion, but the two of them were in it together. If there really was a reason to vote for Weiner, this seemed to be it.
My suggestion to New York: please make this the last Huma-related piece you assign to this man. It's not only that Jacobson made his affection for her and physical attraction to her shamelessly obvious -- it's that no one seemed to care that he did. Of all the questions that I, and many other New Yorkers, have about Weiner's candidacy, Huma's lipstick is perhaps the very last thing that would enter my mind.