Tuesday, October 03, 2006

(B)right on.

Susie Bright connects the Foley pedo-scandal to the much less sexy but oh-so-much-more-damaging to so many more over the long haul evisceration of habeas corpus (who? what? huh? RULE OF LAW, clowns). Sum result: big wide deep disgust. Surprise.

I fully expect that men like Foley, who scream about the pornographic dangers of the Web, are likely the most narcissistic predators in town. Foley wouldn't know a moral code if it fell on top of him. He's part of a very select club.

But here's my NEW unexpected reaction:

All things considered, I don't give a shit about this.

I'm rather devastated on another front. Our Congress passed bills this past week that dismantle habeas corpus, that legalize torture and free-for-all wiretapping. The emperor's new edicts target anyone, including citizens, who might have a bad hair day in the President's almighty estimation.

This is that same club-- with their teeth bared, instead of their drawers down. As blogger Ian MacLeod puts it, "The Rule of Law is dead in America."

Yet this new regime is apparently a big yawn with the American public. Snooze on, Victoria. Everyone who watches TV knows all about Foley's boxer shorts, but the loss of one's right to privacy, or a jury trial, doesn't seem to make anyone's dick hard.

That odd select few, the voting crew who put this club in office, are so precious that they don't believe that tewworist-related nastiness will ever happen to them. George Bush wouldn't dare waterboard anyone in YOUR family! Terrorists are easy to spot because they incite hysterical racist feelings you can't control!


...Foley is gross, and resignation is too good for him-- but the reason he disgusts is his politics, his ethical vacuum. It's not that he's gay, or thinks hard-bodied young athletes are hot. I'd love to Gitmo him and any of his brethren at dawn, but don't give me this pedo-titillation crap like that's what I'm supposed to care about.

Some activists are pressing hard on the "Foley Child Molestor" talking points because they believe this kind of salacious description is what it will take to win points in the next election.

Turning red to blue is going to save the day, right? A slight adjustment will be all it takes, and then all those Dems who voted for the homeland-uber-alles, leave-no-child-unmolested crap are going to get on their knees and beg for forgiveness and democracy, right?

That pinned hope is more self-deluded than Mark Foley ever was.

33 comments:

antiprincess said...

I was having difficulty rustling up any actual interest in the Foley thing, beyond the first flush of salacious irony.

Surely the ground will open up and I am going straight to hell for this, but I have to say I tire of the suggestion of homosexual activity is instantly fatal to men - like they'll just drop dead at the merest hint of the idea of the opportunity.

Not that I have any sympathy for this hypocritical jerk, but how does this get more press than THE DEATH OF THE CONSTITUTION?

belledame222 said...

Because we're collectively still stuck in permanent adolescence and don't want to grow the fuck up. Dicks! boobies! Semen-stained blue dress! oh boy that's INTERESTING, because we still think this S-E-X-X shit is a VERY BIG FUCKING DEAL.

Constitution? Rule of law? The trickier workings of democracy? boring, too hard. --hey, shiny thing! i want to buy it!

MissPrism said...

THANK you. I was hoping someone, somewhere would say this.

JackGoff said...

how does this get more press than THE DEATH OF THE CONSTITUTION?

I blame the stultocracy.

belledame222 said...

I blame the ASSHOLES. YES. Cowardly, torpid, venal, weak, vicious, self-serving, hypocritical, ASSHOLES. ALL of them. ALL of -it.- I Blame the ASSHOLERY. Including mine. Goddamit.

but I'm working on it.

Tuffy said...

I don't think you should blame yourself. Are you calling yourself an asshole because you feel you fall short in your efforts to learn as much as you can and try to change things? There's a fundamental difference between that kind of person (who may or may not be you; I'm just guessing) and people who simply don't bother to pay attention and think critically.

I bet the Repubs let the Foley thing out of the bag this week specifically to distract everybody's attention from the truly scary stuff they had on the docket. That would be just like them.

belledame222 said...

Well, it's like this. I agree that the fact that I'm trying at all puts me ahead of some of these assclowns. At the same time: trying to avoid the "us/them" thing for the moment at least, at least to some extent; that's a trap that leads right back into the familiar territory. "We have met the Asshole and He is Us."

and yeah, at some point i suppose i need to let go of the idea that it's -my fault;- because that gets us nowhere.

I have been brewing up a post that...yeah. Deals with some of my fears and my anger and, well, I want to write it. I want to post it. I just want to make sure I'm gonna be doing it for the right reasons.

well, for a start: I'm thinking of outing myself at the end of it. I mean, I'm halfway there already, seems like; zillions of people know my name from offblog meetups; my photo's now up on the web connected to this blog; certainly everyone from the WELL knows who I am; and well, small blog, and relatively speaking, not much to lose at this point. just the illusion of privacy and security. and it's like, the illusion: is just that. That was sort of the point of this week, I thin, if the past six years hadn't been enough to drive it home.

And I have a message for the cowards of this world and particularly this administration, and i...want not to be a coward. in whatever small or big way i can manage. for my -own- reasons. because i'm sick of being afraid. just sick and tired. does that make sense?

ChasingMoksha said...

"Surely the ground will open up and I am going straight to hell for this, but I have to say I tire of the suggestion of homosexual activity is instantly fatal to men - like they'll just drop dead at the merest hint of the idea of the opportunity."


It is not about homosexuality, it is about pedophilia. Perhaps if the 16 year old was a girl, one’s view may be more sympathetic. A 16-year-old boy is just as vulnerable as a 16-year-old girl. This man is a sexual predator. Equating his behavior to homosexuality is buying into the consistent right wing claim,---- that homosexuality equals pedophilia. Don’t consenting ADULT homosexuals deserve more than being swept into a big pedophilia pile?

belledame222 said...

Yes, they do.

On the other hand, I think what the author is trying to say is that going after 16 and 17 year olds isn't exactly the same thing as "pedophilia." Unscrupulous, unethical, icky, and against the law, yes. Pedophilia? "Ephebophilia," perhaps.

But I mean: if it's only gonna take one more birthday to make the difference, if the boy in question is physically mature, pretty much, if he's very probably of an age where his having sex with his peers is not only unsurprising but kind of expected; then I don't think "pedophile" is quite accurate.

I'm not saying it's -okay;- I'm just saying, I do distinguish it from say Michael Jackson going after 8-13 year olds. shrug.

belledame222 said...

But yes, you're right, and I think that this was SB's point as well: it would've been far less likely to have been tarred "pedophilia" if the 16 year old in question had been a girl. Which says, what? Well, among other things, that when people are crying "pedophile!" in -this- case, one suspects that a goodly chunk of the outrage is because he's defiling a BOY. a BOY, who was supposed to grow up into a MAN, and now he has been PENETRATED, and oh the SHAME of it.

a girl? well, she's defiled, too, but it was gonna happen sooner or later anyway; apparently she's a slut. No? Well, she'll have to prove it. Oh, okay, she was a virgin. Well goddam the bastard, then. But, well...it could've been worse...

...and so on. Yeah, even from supposedly enlightened people. The not-so-subtext. Happens all the time.

so yeah, one would like to get to the point, as I'm quite clear that SB is, that "hello, either way, it's UNETHICAL."

...but, yeah, it's a tad different. And exasperating that if one makes any distinction at all between that and the molestation of a pre-pubsecent child, one immediately opens oneself up to OH MY GOD YOU'RE SAYING CHILD MOLESTATION IS OKAY AREN'T YOU. YOU SICK FUCK.

NO, for fuck's sake. she said, pre-emptively. and no one is even saying THIS is "okay;" just, you know, it might do to remember that the young men are young MEN, (or a lot nearer to it than not, at least), just as Monica Lewinsky was a young WOMAN. but i fully expect to hear SB take the heat on that line as well, from any number of the usual suspects; because she is a Bad Person, and this just cinches it.

it's also exasperating because now we open the whole can of worms of, well, are they indeed too young to be having sex at all? (putting aside the issue of regardless of one's personal opinion, Foley broke the law*, and considering that his job was to UPHOLD the law, big problem right there). andbut, oh oh, should the BOYS be having sex with OTHER MALES at all? That's the real question, isn't it. For a lot of these supposedly righteous upstanding assclowns; and I think that is -also- SB's point.

*actually, I could be wrong about that. haven't looked into this one in enough detail, I'm really talking out my ass; like Bright, i'm far more wound up about NO MORE CONSTITUTION. but it seems to me the age of consent varies from state to state. no idea what it is in D.C., or whether it'd Different For Boys, or what. but in some states, in some contexts, I think 16 is legal. I could be wrong.

antiprincess said...

It is not about homosexuality, it is about pedophilia. Perhaps if the 16 year old was a girl, one’s view may be more sympathetic. A 16-year-old boy is just as vulnerable as a 16-year-old girl. This man is a sexual predator. Equating his behavior to homosexuality is buying into the consistent right wing claim,---- that homosexuality equals pedophilia. Don’t consenting ADULT homosexuals deserve more than being swept into a big pedophilia pile?

I see what you're saying. of course preying on children is not the same as being queer. most predators-of-children are het, as far as I've ever read.

However, I wonder what the Foley-the-pedophile analysis might imply about gay teens.

I mean - it's not like homosexuality descends upon one on hir 21st birthday. queerness exists in the population of teenagers.

Obviously: soliciting sexual behavior in the workplace - wrong.

a grownup in a position of power soliciting sexual behavior from a much younger underling - VERY wrong.

But the BIG media hubbub, the big attraction in this story, is that a man was soliciting adolescent boys, and that's based on societal queer-hating, in my estimation. The idea that otherwise-het men (or young men) will simply shrivel up and perish if someone suggests gay sex; the idea that the boys on the receiving ends of that guy's emails are somehow more damaged because of the queer factor? BS.

That's all I'm trying to say.

belledame222 said...

Yupper. And that is an extra factor as well when boys -are- molested, p.s.: the stigma. That's just not supposed to happen -at all.-

and the victim gets blamed here, too; but when it's a girl, she's a "slut" or a "Lolita;" when it's a boy...well, he's, you know. Faggot. which may be more likely to drag down the Upstanding Citizen as well, but ultimately, the boy has a lot to deal with. A lot a lot. Even if he's victorious in court.

and as per that: well, you saw what happened with Michael Jackson. What's that poor kid doing now, do we think? Any way you slice it, he's been screwed in ten thousand different ways. Blame Mon and Dad, blame the courts, blame the perp himself, blame every goddam one who feel down on their job as Responsible Goddam Adult. And gee, I wonder if some random slob without any money had acted in the ways MJ had done, if he'd be rotting in jail by now, if as many boys had come forward as they did for MJ: does the Pope shit in the woods?

belledame222 said...

but, so, yeah. That's why so much anti-gay crap is "they're after your CHILLLLDREENNNNNNN." It's not just fear that we're unscrupulous perverts who will literally fuck anything that moves, although there's that, too, of course; it's that the kids might somehow get the wacky notion that -being gay is O.K.- At -least- wait to -tell- them that until they're 21, for God's sake!

because as we all know, (and especially the very conservative/authoritarian among us, which I've no doubt at all includes bloody Foley *and* the parents of those bright young things decorating his office), until they reach the Age of Consent, kids are completely malleable little sponges who will do and believe anything they're told, as long as you do it forcefully enough. And then, once they reach the Age of Consent, they are magically transported into the realm of Responsible Adulthood.

antiprincess said...

yeah - the Bright Young Thing factor. it's not like J. Random Bluecollar's kids become congressional pages.

I wonder what it says about the status of "teenager/young adult" in society, esp. those two years between 16 and 18.

You can drive like a grownup. You can work full time like a grownup and pay taxes like a grownup. You can join the military and learn to kill people like a grownup.

But dog help you if you're a sexually active individual at sixteen or seventeen, of any orientation. Then you're a boy or girl again.

I wonder how many email recipients had already experienced consensual het sexual activity.

note - still not at all saying YAY! Foley. just wondering what sorts of side issues might be weaving themselves through the main issue.

antiprincess said...

yeah - the Bright Young Thing factor. it's not like J. Random Bluecollar's kids become congressional pages.

not trying to imply that J. Random Whitecollar's kids deserved to be preyed upon.

But I wonder what kinds of class issues might be at work here, in amongst all the other issues.

belledame222 said...

I'm still marvelling; I had had no idea that they were actually called "pages." PAGES.

belledame222 said...

...you know. I realize, now reading at Feministe, that I will probably have to really look at the details of this damn thing if i really want to speak about it; apparently he was sending "unwanted" and "overfriendly" emails and IM's? Because that, well, is harassment, not just an unethical and illegal (perhaps statutory rape, yes, whatever one thinks of that term) affair...

shit. -was- there even an -affair?- goddamit. you know, i STARTED this one as an ode to someone saying she DIDN'T care about this compared to the hello no more habeas corpus; and well, yeah, insidious, ain't it.

piny said...

I worry about conflating "predatory abuse of minors" with "pedophilia"--or even creating a disorder called "ephebeophilia" that includes abuse of minors--because it ends up obscuring the very real power differentials in play. It also makes it seem like this situation is some exception to the rule. People like Foley don't go after minors because they have some kink. They go after minors because minors are vulnerable. They are impressionable. They are often emotionally virginal. They overestimate their ability to handle difficult situations. They are easy to isolate and influence. Worst of all, they frequently see nothing fucked up about an older person who wants to sleep with them. That's why Foley was interested: he was an opportunist.

ChasingMoksha said...

Yes Piny, a sexual predator! I have been convinced after reading another site, that Foley’s act is not pedophilia but is sexually predatory. It is not like intergenerational sex, it is a fifty something year old man going after a vulnerable boy.

Rootietoot said...

"Foley’s act is not pedophilia but is sexually predatory. It is not like intergenerational sex, it is a fifty something year old man going after a vulnerable boy."

It's a man in a position of power and (supposedly)esteem taking advantage of a younger person who, as a teen, lacks experience and discernment, and who holds the person in power in some awe.
I was a page once. The amount of admiration pages hold for the congress members is unreal. I have no doubt if some Representative had made a move at me I'd have been flattered stupid.

Any person who uses that kind of power and influence to take advantage of a person with less power is nasty guilty of all sorts of things.

belledame222 said...

yeah, actually that was sort of what i was trying to get at, but thank you for putting it more clearly. Ephebe--whatever is probably not a terrifically useful word; but, just, yeah, it is a word. lots of people have it, too: attraction to young & nubile & just barely ripe. but yeah: there is a distinction to be made, although I'm honestly not totally sure where it falls, between "sexual attraction to the young because of their physical attributes and whatever that symbolizes for you" and "sexual attraction to your own sense of nonconsensual domination over a vulnerable person."

given everything we know about Foley, there's no doubt that the latter is there in abundance, I'd say. whited sepulchre, indeed.

Tuffy said...

BD: RE assholiness, or lack of, you're reminding me of something Janeane Garofalo used to talk about when she was doing a lot of anti-war punditry. She said she tried to approach such debates with a sense of humility, but after a while she realized that a) She was going to be steamrolled if she displayed any open-mindedness at all; and b) The other side were such total assholes, she had nothing whatsoever to be humble about. I agree with that sometimes, depending on my mood. I think the biggest strength of us "educated" types is our commitment to maintaining critical openness and resisting the base urge to fall into black/white thinking -- i.e., non-assholiness.

On the other hand, I don't want to renounce my rage at the American masses' stupidity. I enjoy it, sometimes, and I think it's perfectly justified. People really *are* idiots a lot of the time.

But I don't think I get carried away in this belief to the point that I'm an asshole. For one thing, I try to understand why people sometimes hold dumb opinions. For another, I believe in, and work to create, the kind of social discourse that fosters smart opinions.

On the other hand, the evidence is SO GODDAMN OVERWHELMING sometimes! I was reading this newspaper story today about progressive Michigan gov Jennifer Granholm's close race this year, and the challenger breathing down her neck is -- get this -- an ex-president of AMWAY! Amway?? And this doesn't automatically disqualify him in people's minds??? Gaaah!

Oh, and RE coming out: Sure, why not?

Lux Fiat said...

well, for a start: I'm thinking of outing myself at the end of it.

Careful; you start blogging under your real name and next thing you know you've got a resident conservo-troll who happens to be your best friend from high school. It happens. I've seen it.

belledame222 said...

I don't have any friends from high school.

But yeah, that sort of thing. egh.

Alon Levy said...

You can try doing what Orac does, if your main problem is with people finding you: make your real name an open secret. I don't think Orac's ever posted his real name on his blog, and he doesn't blog under his real name because he doesn't want to be first on Google when his patients look him up, but it's pretty easy to find out his name and he makes no attempt to hide it.

belledame222 said...

yeh, that's pretty much where i already am, i'd say.

EL said...

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

kactus said...

At this point in time I doubt that I would ever out myself. Not because I have much to lose but because I kind of like my alter ego, kactus. She's a lot feistier than her real life counterpart, let me tell you.

Rootietoot said...

There is so much comfort in anonymity. While I can't speak for you, I'd sooner walk naked through the town square as make my name public. I mean, what if someone googled me and showed up on my doorstep? I'd plotz!

Plus, there's alot of untrustworthy weirdos out there.

belledame222 said...

okay, you said "plotz," and now i must bear your children, or something. seriously, thank you for that, that made my morning.

antiprincess said...

fun with yiddish, nu?

Unsane said...

you Amerikins...........

Bitch | Lab said...

RT

<< Plus, there's alot of untrustworthy weirdos out there. >>

Damn straight. Two male friends and I were stalked by a total weirdo years ago. He tried to get two of us fired, and threatened the other guy -- who has some clout -- at home, on his voicemail. After threatening him, he left his name and number and asked for a return call. And oh, would he mind keeping his number under his hat and not sharing it with anyone?

"He's a nut Andy!" as BD would say.

I've seen *ahem* people going off on women in the Blogworld for not using their real name on more than one occasion and I'm always floored at their complete cluelessness.

Even Bitch PhD once suggested that our fears of such things were overblown. Um. Given that the above incident wasn't to be my last incident with strange birds, I had to write her a long email explaining why that was an irreponsible statement.

There are people out there who get set off over the strangest things. In my experience, the ones who glom onto me most turn out to have very similar political views, but they manufacture something into a huge difference. And, without fail, if I say something that clicks with them -- that i know they agreed with -- ATTACK.

it was quite bizarre.