It is such bad luck for Mrs Clinton that her last-minute troubles have come upon her because of the curious 21st-century men’s habit of sending pictures of their genitals to people via social media (‘Dickileaks’, is what the New York Post calls the scandal). If only Anthony Weiner, ex-congressman and recently estranged husband of Mrs Clinton’s close assistant Huma Abedin, had refrained from this pastime, and from ‘sexting’ a 15-year-old girl, it seems unlikely that the FBI would have excavated the family computers. Then Mrs Clinton would have had a clearer run at the White House.
It should be a major advantage of the woman candidate in any political race that she is, on average, much less likely than the male to be caught up in this sort of thing. But poor Mrs Clinton has had to deal with her husband’s sex scandals throughout her career, and now this — just when the race was turning into a readily comprehensible struggle between typical, show-off, male groper and mature, policy-oriented, female public servant.
Why do people like Mr Weiner do what they do? I wonder if the constant struggle for internet publicity really does alter their minds. Working like those algorithms which calculate that because you bought X you might also buy Y, they may conclude that because millions have viewed their faces online they might also want to see their private parts. In a world where privacy has been abolished, this ‘data clustering’ has a certain logic.
This is an extract from Charles Moore's Notes, which first appeared in this week's Spectator magazine