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The ‘Cuomosexual’ phenomenon was disgraceful. We’re politicians’ bosses, not their fans.

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Is there a more embarrassing recent entry to the American lexicon than “Cuomosexual?” The portmanteau burst into the public imagination last spring, when New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s briefings on the unfolding covid-19 pandemic made him a national icon.

That flush of enthusiasm hasn’t just faded, it has curdled into the most recent example of why it’s better to approach public figures as a citizen than as a fan. It’s fine to approach the question of the cutest Beatle or member of BTS with a mindless ferocity, because the answer ultimately doesn’t matter. But substituting worship for scrutiny is unworthy of voters in a democracy — and creates cover for politicians who fail to serve the people they work for.

As President Donald Trump alternately flailed and railed against the pandemic last spring, it was understandable that many Americans craved honest advice rather than ad hominem attacks and quack cures. Cuomo (D) and Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, filled that void. Fauci, who is now 80, became an avuncular grandpa figure on the left, while Cuomo turned into a bizarre sex symbol.

At least some participants in the phenomenon, like writer Rebecca Fishbein, recognized that their affection for Cuomo was a kind of pandemic-induced Stockholm syndrome.


© Washington Post

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