Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Mark Foley and Company

Mark Foley is a Republican congressman from Florida. He's on something called the House Caucup Missing and Exploited Children, as I understand. As to all this, I really couldn't care less. I'm not a political wonk. Mark Foley is gay. I don't consider that my business. That he is gay has been, apparently, a familiar fact to those who care to have such familiarities. It seems not to be an issue, anymore, in American politics, this homosexual thing. Gay, straight, bent, heterosexual, not gay, not straight, normal, homosexual, twisted, breeder, big faggot, fab bigot -- it is all of a piece. I don't care about this either. I try to care about things that I can do something about. The rest of it is just opinion.

The issue of this gaiety, and it's permissibility, is still problematic, however. There is a large percentage of the population that has strong feelings on the matter. I solve the problem in my own head by dividing it into public and private. Since I am not the secrets police, what someone thinks or feels or is attracted to is of no concern to me. If someone feels racist, or gay, or pedophilic or rapeitory -- I don't care, if I don't know about it ... by which I mean, if it has no manifestation in the real world. If it's only thoughts. Anyone who thinks differently wasn't listening when Jesus said that anger in your heart is like murder. What? -- anger is like murder? No. But only God may judge the unrealized secrets of the heart. For us to do so is displeasing to him. And these secret thoughts -- you have them yourself. Of course, Washington is renowned for its countless -- one might say infinite -- halls of mirrors, albeit funhouse mirrors, and every house there is made of glass. Just like here.

Mark Foley's gaiety is not confined to fantasies, and is not secret. He acts, evidently, gaily. Such acts are apparently entirely legal nowadays, just about everywhere in the US. Isn't that nice. Penises have been emancipated, freed from the Victorian shackles that for so long weighted them down. My own penis is quite thankful that it can do as it pleases, if I let it. It wishes I would let it do more, but that's a different story, for another time. You'll have to remind me to tell you -- it's a dilly! The point is, as before, that I don't care about what I don't know about. Somebody's discreet legal behavior is no affair of mine. Unless of course I give my penis permission to make it so. But that's neither here nor there. Mark Foley likes other men's penises? Well what man doesn't like his own penis. I like mine. Mark Foley has generalized this specific? It may be just a matter of, shall we say, taste.

Mark Foley wrote some number of emails to former pages. If only someone would be as free in publishing the emails of terrorists. But that would be unconstitutional. Foley's emails were "overly friendly," and he was warned. The hypocritical hypocrisy over these non-actionable emails is hypocritical. Later, exceedingly explicit instant messages came to light, in which he speaks of his penis and its tumescence. He inquires as to the present attire of the boys. And so on. In other words, Mark Foley likes the penises of young boys. Apparently of sixteen year old boys -- although there's talk now that it's 18 year old boys. Are 18 year olds, boys? When you're in your 50s, the answer is yes. In any case, it is unlawful for non-minor males to like the penises of minors. By "like," I mean "speak about in a salacious manner, to boys, or more than speak about, actually handle or manipulate in some fashion". That was awkward, but you understand. It is generally unlawful for any adult, of either gender, to "like" the genitals of any minor, of either gender. We have such laws to protect those minors. Minors are not considered to have the legal capacity to grant consent in sexual relations.

But we know that youth is attractive. It is. The word attractive means that one thing is drawn to another -- in this context, it does have a sexual, in addition to a purely aesthetic, implication. And we know that youths, male and female, are biologically adults. The biological meaning of adult refers to the capacity to reproduce. Hence, puberty marks the literal start of adulthood. What, one inquires, is the actual purpose of pubic and underarm hair? It is a visual, sexual cue of adulthood. Hairless? Little child. Hands off. Hairy? Adult. Come and get me. This is one reason that the current fad of depilatation is troubling. Adult bodies are made to look like child bodies. Creepy. The American mania for hairless female armpits is the mainstream taste, but it's a little creepy. But so are hairy female armpits. Poor women. And poor men, too, what with the metrosexual shaving and waxing and shaping that seems to be increasingly common. Poor America -- so hairless, so ambiguated.

The point is that the legal definitions of minor and adult is entirely artificial, determined by convention. Mark Foley's conduct with underage boys is illegal, if they are indeed underage, because we as a society have so deemed it. His conduct is immoral because it involves sexual conduct outside accepted norms. It is sinful because it is a form of fornication -- which is forbidden by God. One may accept or reject any or all of these determinations. The consequences for such rejection are whatever they are. God seems to have marked the age of sexual consent by providing the visual cues of the otherwise useless pubic and axial hair. Various legislatures set the age of consent based on the opinions of lawmakers, such as Mark Foley.

We have a culture that sexualizes children. I did not say youths. Little children. JonBenet Ramsey. I see her made-up face on magazine covers every once in a while, and I can only wonder at the sickness of her mother, and weakness of her father. I'd be angry about it, but there's no point. To me, lipstick is about sex. It is a sexual cue. Sorry. That's what I think it means. Isn't it odd, or rather arbitrary, that Mrs. Ramsey should have painted up the face of this little girl, but never seems to have pasted a merkin over her pubic bone, or affixed some downy fuzz in her armpits, the more perfectly to stimulate adult sexuality in the child? (Did I say stimulate? A slip of the finger. I of course meant simulate.) Is such speculation vulgar of me? Yes. But not because the little girl was murdered by a sex pervert. It's vulgar because it refers to a little child's sexuality. No, this isn't a digression.

There are TV shows about high school kids. I think The OC? Haven't seen it. 90210? Never saw it ... or is it Ninety Twenty-one Zero? But those high school kids were having sex, right? I have the impression they were, and are. In a script, it's okay. In an email it's not. Or in pretend it's okay, but for real it's not. Whatever. But even virtual kiddy porn is unlawful. Go figure. What is certainly true is that not so very long ago, even in America, thirteen and fourteen year olds were getting married and starting a farm and a family. Mark Foley, then, is a man born into the wrong time. So much the harder for him.

When Oscar Wilde was in the dock, he gave a passionate oration, which the attentive Victorians applauded wildly. It is here that he used the phrase, "the love which dares not speak its name." Homosexuality? No. The love of an older man, for a boy. And the Victorians cheered. Go figure.

It's all too complicated for me. Are teenage boys hot? Are painted-up little girls? It must be a trick question. What is clear is that Mark Foley broke the law, if he broke it, and must be prosecuted, if he should be . Sixteen year old pages, if they are sixteen, male or female, should be protected from predatory 50 year old House members, male or female. Even gay sixteen year olds should be protected, if they are sixteen. If the law changes, in this matter, my opinion might change as well. Who knows. I am a practical man. The biology of the matter is clear. But the need for social order is just as clear. It doesn't really matter that laws are almost arbitrary. Everything is almost arbitrary. If things were some other way, that's how they'd be. But they're this way. Deal with it.

Mark Foley has stated through his attorney that he was molested as a teenager by a clergyman. Pass it forward?

Mark Foley has resigned, and is being criminally investigated. Tony Blankley is right. Ben Stein is wrong.

The intern bill clinton interfered with was not a minor, by some months. He did not resign.

The boyfriend of Barney Frank, the gay Democrat congressman, ran a gay bordello out of Frank's home, a few years back. Barney Frank did not resign.

Democrat congressman Gerry Studds, then 46, had sex with a 17 year old ("adult," to use Studds' word) page in '83. Studds did not resign.

Democrat Senator E. Kennedy left a woman to drown when he wrecked his car. After nearly forty years, he has not resigned.

Et cetera.

As for being gay, we can't help how we feel. We can only help what we do.



FluffyWoman said...

Creepy - great use of the word. It's not just american anymore. It's practically worldwide although probably fueled by America due to Hollywood.

"What, one inquires, is the actual purpose of pubic and underarm hair? It is a visual, sexual cue of adulthood."

You have really hit on the core issue.

The more I read and see the more the idea of hairless adults really creeps me out.

Jack H said...

So true, so true. But need we name ourselves after our tufts, my dear Fluffy? No judgment, mind you. Just a nudge toward equilibrium.