Sunday, October 01, 2006

Why the folderol over a common folly?

Control. Discretion. Or lack thereof, for Mark Foley and for many others.

People are dying in Baghdad and Mark Foley resigns from Congress. Guess which one makes the front pages and segments on news broadcasts and talk shows.

Three bits of information as of today, Sunday, we need to keep in the forefront of any discussion of Mr. Foley: 1) the age consent in D.C. is 16; 2) there is no indication of anything approaching physical contact; 3)the page didn't work for Foley.

Think of the possibilities. On the one hand you have a single, relatively attractive middle aged man who is a respected member of congress. On the other hand, you have a 16 year old boy who is a member of the Congressional pages.

At some point these two individuals began an email and instant message exchange. Eventually the boy's parents learned of the exchanges and demanded that their congressman take steps to see to it the communication ended.

One wonders how it started. Surely the pages in the Capitol gossiped about Foley's sexual orientation. Have you ever known a group of teens who didn't "share" whatever knowledge or speculation they might have about the sexuality of their teachers or bosses or neighbors or relatives? The kid sent Foley a note thanking him for some bit of assistance, and Foley, according to today's information, responded to the note, and they were off to the races.

A couple of bloggers (here's one, as a for instance) have postings about this which include a mention of Foley's efforts to "protect" young people from internet predators. Isn't that where the fuzziness of it all comes from? Just how "young" is young? What is the difference between an "ephebophile" and a "pedophile?" Is there one? As a suggestion, the recipient of Mr. Foley's internet musings was not a "young" person in the sense of what many people imagine when reading about internet predatory behavior. There is an example of the ambiguities of language.

The most senseless area of discussion deals with what turns someone "on." Think for a minute. How many 70 year old "booties" does one see in a music video? How many 70 year olds model for Playgirl? In other words how many human beings you know who is "turned on" by someone over, say, 50? (I know of at least one, but he is an anomaly among our friends. And the people he finds attractive are very seldom turned on by each other.)

Discretion and control turned out to be Foley's greatest weaknesses. He could have saved himself a deal of grief if he'd had either. As for the remainder of his "news story," we should be far more concerned with Baghdad.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Post a Comment