George Weber: Requiescat in pace

March 26, 2009




Barry Nelson, a fine actor, once gave me an unanticipated lecture about judging other people. I had asked Nelson – in the context of our conversation – whether he felt responsible for the content of films or television shows or plays in which he appeared. I asked him specifically if he would decline to appear in a property if he felt the content was, say, pornographic. Nelson said he would not necessarily decline to appear in a property because of its sexual content and that, in a broader way, he didn’t feel that appearing in a property meant that he was making the writer’s viewpoint his own – or, to put it another way, that he was giving approbation to a viewpoint that the writer had expressed in the script. Nelson didn’t stop there. He went on to caution me that each person has his own needs and has to find his own ways to satisfy them. Not everyone is attractive, Nelson said. Not everyone has good social skills and can draw to himself friends and lovers. Not everyone can easily obtain the intimacy that is a fundamental requirement of a healthy human spirit. What I might reject as pornography, Nelson said, might be providing another person with release or comfort or excitement that he would otherwise live without.




I could have spent the rest of the day debating the definition of pornography and the connection between pornography – in at least some of its definitions – and activity that ranges from degrading human nature to criminal. However, I think Barry Nelson used pornography as his talking point only because I myself had raised it. His broader point about judging other people’ s needs and behavior had the impact I think he intended. That conversation took place many years ago, and it came to mind this week while I was reading about the death of George Weber, the radio newsman who was murdered in his Brooklyn apartment. According to the news accounts, Weber contacted a disturbed teenager via the Internet and offered to pay him $60 to engage in rough sex. The encounter spun out of control, and the teenager, John Katehis, stabbed Weber multiple times. Police say Katehis admitted to that.

My initial reaction was revulsion to the idea that Weber had sought out a teenaged stranger for a sexual thrill. The bare fact, if it is a fact, that he would exploit a boy of that age – never mind one who seems to have had deep-seated problems of his own – is inexcusable. I still think so. But over the past few days, I have been thinking of the loneliness and the compulsion that may have, must have, contributed to this catastrophe in two lives. My moral judgment about decisions that George Weber made doesn’t matter, except to me. Like tens of thousands of other people, I heard George Weber’s lively, good-natured voice many times, never having a reason to wonder about the heart and soul that fed it. If I wonder now, Mr. Nelson, it’s only because I mourn his death and regret whatever emptiness he was trying to fill in his life.

George Weber’s blog:


3 Responses to “George Weber: Requiescat in pace”

  1. Laurie Granieri Says:

    You see? You always push me to think, Paolino.

  2. charlespaolino Says:

    Well, that’s mutual, Principessa.

  3. bart Says:

    What I wonder is why he didn’t simply get a reliable rent boy who was over the age of consent but simply looked young.

    With Craigslist it’s easy to find any type of escort, male, female or in between and if you go to or you can find ratings from people who have hired them and get a very good sense of whether or not they are likely to become dangerous.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s