News flash: ‘Sex­ting’ is a mug’s game

Journal Pioneer - - EDITORIAL - BY ROSIE DIMANNO Rosie DiManno writes about Na­tional Af­fairs for Toronto Star Syn­di­ca­tion Ser­vices.

The Hon­or­able Mem­ber from Parry Sound-Muskoka has done the honourable thing and fallen on his sword.

Cit­i­zen porn has brought Con­ser­va­tive MP Tony Cle­ment to his knees, you should for­give the ex­pres­sion. Dick pix, ap­par­ently, and a video to boot shared with a per­son the mar­ried fa­ther of three be­lieved to be a “con­sent­ing fe­male re­cip­i­ent” over the past few weeks. Hoisted on his own sex­ting petard when that in­di­vid­ual then tried to shake him down for 50,000 Eu­ros, as re­ported by Global News. Guess Cana­dian dol­lars were not ac­cept­able as coin of the ex­tor­tion realm. Sex­ting for Dum­mies: A HowNot-To.

Ban­ish­ment from the party, as an­nounced by Tory leader An­drew Scheer, with Cle­ment, while re­tain­ing his seat as an in­de­pen­dent, also los­ing his spot on a clutch of House of Com­mons com­mit­tees, most no­tably - most sen­si­tive to black­mail – Canada’s year-old Na­tional Se­cu­rity and In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee.

In days of yore, this type of hanky-panky squeeze was called a hon­ey­pot trap. (See John Pro­fumo and 19-year-old model Chris­tine Keeler.) A taste of for­bid­den honey for Cle­ment. What in the world is wrong with peo­ple who have a rep­u­ta­tion to pro­tect? Even those of us who trend to­ward the dis­rep­utable know stranger sex­ting is a mug’s game. It’s whistling by the grave­yard, hang­ing your junk out there.

“I am com­mit­ted to seek­ing the help and treat­ment I need in my per­sonal life to make sure this will not hap­pen again while also con­tin­u­ing to dis­charge my du­ties as a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment,” he said in a state­ment re­leased late Tues­day.

Cle­ment made it sound like he’s suf­fer­ing from some kind of men­tal dis­or­der when re­ally he’s just a dope. It’s the de­fault mea culpa: I am a man with weak­ness of the flesh and I got my sex­ual jol­lies by tag­ging “ex­plicit” images with a com­plete stranger who may not even have been a real per­son. But com­pul­sion to sext is not rec­og­nized as a men­tal con­di­tion. It isn’t to be found in the Di­ag­nos­tic and Sta­tis­ti­cal Man­ual of Men­tal Dis­or­ders. There is no “treat­ment” ex­cept tak­ing a guy’s id­iot phone away.

OK, seems like ev­ery­body is do­ing it in this modern era of reck­less shar­ing, ex­hi­bi­tion­ism and voyeurism. An on­line poll by the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion a cou­ple of years ago found that more than 80 per cent of re­spon­dents had sext in­dulged. Some­times the con­tent is meant for a spe­cific sig­nif­i­cant other and so­cial me­dia ac­counts get hacked be­cause there’s no short­age of gotcha out­lets that will pay for the goods. Celebri­ties are all the time get­ting caught with their pants down, lit­er­ally. Some hardly seem to mind, even de­rive their fame fac­tor from lewd sex tapes à la Kim Kar­dashian and Paris Hil­ton. When you’ve got no other tal­ents, flash your booty.

Po­lit­i­cal ca­reers have gone up in smoke over sexts. For­mer New York con­gress­man An­drew Weiner, a se­rial of­fender, was sen­tenced to two years over X-rated com­mu­ni­ca­tions with a 15-yearold girl. He even dis­patched raunch whilst ly­ing in bed along­side his young son.

Has Cle­ment, shadow jus­tice min­is­ter, one-time lead­er­ship con­tender, not been pay­ing at­ten­tion? Et YouToo? Or did he be­lieve, oh, it will never hap­pen to me and pushed the send but­ton. Such hubris, such shaky judg­ment. Such hu­mil­i­a­tion for spouse and spawn.

Not, I has­ten to add, that there’s any­thing in­her­ently base about sex­ting be­tween like-tit­il­lat­ing adults or, maybe even more fre­quently, among teenagers, un­til an ex or merely a rot­ten per­son makes what’s pri­vate on­line pub­lic out of sheer in­tent to tor­ment. On oc­ca­sion it ends far more badly than po­lit­i­cal flame-out and an RCMP in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Pri­vacy has be­come a quaint con­cept, in­va­sion-of a chronic blight. There are cam­eras every­where, even an Uber trans­port­ing in­dis­crete hockey play­ers. But turn­ing the cam­era on your­self, get­ting down to the nitty-gritty bone of your pruri­ent de­sires, is a colos­sal risk-tempt­ing stu­pid­ity. With ex­tor­tion the end-game, Cle­ment had no choice but to out him­self to the party, a fur­ther Tory shame piled atop rev­e­la­tion ear­lier this week of sex­ual mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions against On­tario Hous­ing Min­is­ter Jim Wil­son - the res­ig­na­tion at first ex­plained away as Wil­son re­quir­ing treat­ment for an undis­closed ad­dic­tion is­sue. A fib by a premier who’s cloaked him­self in mo­ral high dud­geon and fam­ily val­ues. Since the Cle­ment thun­der­clap, other women have pur­port­edly come for­ward to jour­nal­ists on Twit­ter, claim­ing the MP had di­rect mes­saged them re­peat­edly. But that’s pitch­fork­ing from the shad­ows and can’t be af­forded any cre­dence with­out ev­i­dence.

I have em­pa­thy for hu­man frail­ties. Sex - the pur­suit of it - makes fools of us all. Urges aren’t wrong. They just are. But a politi­cian do­ing what Cle­ment did? That’s some­thing al­to­gether dif­fer­ent.

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