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Anthony Weiner drama gets worse. Why we follow such shallow things.

Anthony Weiner saw his former online paramour talk to Howard Stern, a former intern trash his campaign, and his spokeswoman launch a profanity-laden tirade. Is it tragedy or farce?

By Staff writer / July 31, 2013

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and spokeswoman Barbara Morgan exit a building during a tour of superstorm Sandy victims on Staten Island in New York last week. Morgan went on an expletive-laced tirade about former campaign intern Olivia Nuzzi during an interview Tuesday, and later apologized for using vulgar language.

Jon Gerberg/AP

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New York

The tragic spectacle of "Carlos Danger" is not only dragging on, it is getting even more lurid.

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The latest: Sydney Leathers appeared on the "Howard Stern Show" Tuesday, taunting her former online sext partner and hinting she may appear in an adult film. The same day, Anthony Weiner’s now ex-intern, Olivia Nuzzi, wrote a bylined article in a New York tabloid, appearing on its cover in a sultry pose and saying she and others joined the campaign simply to get close to his wife Huma Abedin, and by extension, Ms. Abedin's friend Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Ms. Nuzzi’s dish then prompted Mr. Weiner’s communications director, Barbara Morgan, to erupt into a profane tirade so vile that neither dashes nor bleeps could mask it – and she said this to Talking Points Memo, a top political blog. She has since apologized, saying she didn't realize the interview was on the record, but still, another episode that makes eyeballs bulge.

So the theater of the tawdry continues, and though many express exasperation and weariness with the scandal, it remains a topic of conversation in the city – as well as a top-trending news story. Each day’s plot lines draw out the curious, gaping interests of the public, like a line of highway rubberneckers.

While many have couched Weiner’s forehead-slapping behavior in terms of medical addictions, or even as an ill-defined narcissism, the nation's fascination with it is, in some ways, like a refresher course on Sophocles or Shakespeare. Not your typical summertime fare, perhaps, but during a summer in which Hollywood blockbusters have drawn little more than a collective yawn, the downfall of Anthony Weiner offers the elements of classical tragedy that have been compelling grist for millenniums.

Indeed, tragedy might “explain the grip that such stories have on us, and perhaps there’s something of the sort in the case of Mr. Weiner,” says David Konstan, professor of classics at New York University in Manhattan.

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