We love to see the powerful humiliated because it proves that they were no better than us to begin with. Yet we simultaneously imagine that because they're powerful and famous, they don't need the empathy that we'd desire were we in their stead. Instead of being moved by their suffering, we revel in it.
How many of the pundits mocking Weiner have marriages that could survive the kind of scrutiny they have been giving his? The realization that everyone’s private life is messy and flawed should produce humility and compassion. Instead, pundits enter the public arena as disembodied Olympian figures, entitled to render the harshest of verdicts, secure in the knowledge that no one will ever investigate their most intimate of domains.
Michelle Goldberg misses sexual privacy:
It’s one thing to argue that Weiner should step down for being stupid enough to bring this kind of attention on himself, his family, and his party. It’s another thing to subject someone’s sexual fantasies to a political litmus test. Weiner is hardly outré in the way he eroticizes power. … There is something totalitarian about examining people’s erotic lives for ideological deviance. That’s why human beings—even exhibitionists—need privacy.