"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Monday, October 02, 2006

Explain It To Me

We reproduce in its entirety a post from earlier this afternoon by no less a light of the Progressive Democratic Blogosphere than Duncan Black of Eschaton:
Oh My

It's a bit more than just "naughty emails."

[I]n another message, Foley, using the screen name Maf54, appears to describe having been together with the teen in San Diego.

Maf54: I miss you lots since san diego.
Teen: ya I cant wait til dc
Maf54: :)
Teen: did you pick a night for dinner
Maf54: not yet…but likely Friday
Teen: ok…ill plan for Friday then
Maf54: that will be fun
The messages also show the teen is, at times, uncomfortable with Foley's aggressive approach.
Maf54: I want to see you
Teen: Like I said not til feb…then we will go to dinner
Maf54: and then what happens
Teen: we eat…we drink…who knows…hang out…late into the night
Maf54: and
Teen: I dunno
Maf54: dunno what
Teen: hmmm I have the feeling that you are fishing here…im not sure what I would be comfortable with…well see
While the post has predictably elicited hundreds of comments, it doesn't appear to us that any of them -- or any other post provided by Mr. Black, explains just exactly what it is that they think Congressman Foley did wrong.

The Congressman is not married, so hasn't been unfaithful to his wife. It appears that each of the young men who were the objects of his affection were over the age of consent (16 in the District of Columbia), so there's not question of statutory rape, or contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Indeed, no one claims that he actually had sex with any of these nice young men.

Moreover, there is no charge that Foley himself was their supervisor or otherwise was directly responsible for their employment. Many of the emails and instant messages actually appear to have been exchanged after the young men had left their positions with the House.

So someone still has to tell me what Foley is supposed to have done wrong: He was attempting to seduce young men, over the age of consent, into having gay sex with him. Certainly the party of Barney Frank can't be outraged at the gay aspect. If so, I'd love to hear Nancy Pelosi explain her position to her constituents.

And it's hard to believe that they're really up in arms about the age difference: Teddy Kennedy is nearly a quarter-century older than his current wife. That's less than the age difference between Foley and his prospective loves, but if Black and the other Democrats are pinning the scandal aspect on that, then they'd better come up with some metric by which to show us how much of a difference is too much. If 22 years is OK, then is 30 out of line? Why?

Of course, Foley was obviously crude and clumsy. But if every fellow guilty of delivering a clumsy pickup line must resign in disgrace and live in fear of Congressional and criminal investigations, then the K Street bars are going to be pretty empty.

So we'll just sit here by the phone, hoping it will ring with some authoritative explanation as to why everyone should be outraged at a lonely gay man, looking for love.

No, really: Explain it to me.

Comments on "Explain It To Me"


Blogger Hired Hand said ... (7:39 PM) : 

Crude and clumsy, sure - but also predatory and manipulative. 55 on 26 is just creepy - 55 on 16 is disgusting and reckless. It really might as well be rape.

One knows it when one sees it. And, clearly, you see it. So let's move on. Foley did the right thing in vacating his seat.

And in case you forgot, Nancy Pelosi is responsible for representing me (something she does quite poorly, I'd say), and not Barney Frank.

Also, Hastert's a liar in this mess, but you knew that too.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:43 PM) : 

Hastert's lying about what? If his office had the sometimes-described-as-slimy im's and emails, then that's easily proven, so lying about it is plain dumb.

And Ms. P represents San Fran. I want her to describe the exact reason she thinks this is icky. She can't use your reason, since that's the occupation of a rather large sub-set of her constituency.


Blogger Hired Hand said ... (7:53 PM) : 

You'd think that the offices of our elected representatives would avoid doing things that were just plain dumb, now, wouldn't you?

Except, THAT IS THE EXACT THING THAT FOLEY'S OFFICE DID AS EARLY AS THIS POINT LAST WEEK. They straight up denied that there was any impropriety to the interaction between Foley and the kid, when they knew there was a written record of it.

As far as I'm concerned, Nancy Pelosi doesn't have to tell me why it's icky. That's not her job. I'm hoping our Congress can move on to more important things, like making internet gambling illegal. The scourge! The scourge!

I'm hoping someone can explain THIS to me: When will the loudest 1% of the left and right remember that the rest of their opponent's supporters don't give a shit, and would rather be left alone?


Blogger Hired Hand said ... (7:54 PM) : 

(ps., of course, I mean, "as recently" as this point last week.)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:34 PM) : 

Someone obviously gave Foley bad advice, to the effect that he had done something wrong. Being perhaps not too bright, he then acted like a guilty man, and lied.

And Nancy P sure does have to 'splain it to you, when she's the Speaker next year, and ties up the House for 6 months investigating Hastert.

Since Foley did nothing wrong, what will she be investigating?

He did not have sex with that woman . . . er, "page" . . .


Blogger Village Idiot said ... (8:39 PM) : 

And what the heck's wrong all of a sudden with "manipulative?" I used to know a guy who'd go into a bar, and "manipulate" a girl's blouse, all the while askin' her what it was made of, and telling her how nice the material felt. No lie.

Ask Uncle Mike -- he knows who I'm talking about.

So is it "manipulative" to encourage a young woman to have a drink or three? If so, is it a crime? Should everyone who does so be subject to a Congressional and Justice Department investigation?

Good God! K Street will be frickin' empty! Dupont Circle deserted! Georgetown will have parking spaces. The end of life as we know it.


Anonymous someone who's thought it through said ... (8:41 PM) : 

Be careful what you decide to define as "rape." That's a capital offense, punishable by life imprisonment or death.


Anonymous Uncle M said ... (11:27 PM) : 

So, it's come to this, has it? Dredging up the outrageous pick up lines of a former Secret Service attorney in support of spurious argumentation. BTW, I recently spied said offender highlighted in a story on E representing a 16-year-old ax murderer (or some such thing) in Michigan. He's come a long way since his antics with yours truly in a K Street bar, but I bet he still uses that line, 'cuz it worked.


Blogger Hired Hand said ... (2:24 AM) : 

If y'all were feeling up 16 year-old girls over on K Street, I'm PRETTY sure it wasn't in a bar.

"That's what I love about high school girls - I keep gettin' older, they stay the same age."


Anonymous Eric Lindros said ... (10:24 AM) : 

yes they do.

Bush Lied! Children Got Molested!

No Blood For House Pages!


Anonymous Arlington said ... (2:16 PM) : 

Of course, here's what's wrong with Foley:

Sex belongs only in marriage, entered into by a man and woman as complements to one another. The further sex gets from its proper place, the more creepy and disgusting it becomes. The idea of a 52-year-old Congressman attempting to seduce a 16-year-old male page takes sex out of its proper place in several important respects:

1. It is homosexual. This is absolutely wrong (i.e., wrong apart from the other considerations, some of which have some flexibility in them).

2. It exploits and corrupts a child. Yes, "child" even though the boy is 16. At that age, he is not capable of fending for himself. He is therefore not really capable of consenting to sex, any more than he would be capable of entering into a contract to buy a piece of real estate (a much less momentous transaction). He's still a minor legally, and even though DC has a terrible law defining the age of consent as 16, it is immoral for an adult to exploit a child in this way.

3. It is non-complementary, because the Congressman has grossly disporoprtionate status in two ways:

a. First, he is 36 years older. There might be circumstances in which such a gap does not make complementarity impossible (e.g., a 35-year-old and a 71-year-old), but in the case of a 16-year-old, the gap is overwhelming. These two people cannot be partners or peers. they can only be consumer and product.

b. Second, he is in the position of an employer with power over an employee.

The foregoing is true. It is in fact implicitly invoked (but not dared to be acknowledged) in all the huffing and puffing. Probably most of the huffers and puffers know their critiques are based on principles they wouldn't really profess or defend (except maybe 3b and, for some, also 3a).


Anonymous Fred said ... (2:58 PM) : 

me create fire. me hunt dinosaur. me in stone age.


Anonymous Heeeeey Boooooys said ... (3:07 PM) : 

why make the moralistic charge that "because it's homosexual, it's wrong" first, instead of the obvious and clearly understandable claims of exploitation? homosexual sex is not inherently exploitive, whereas sex with children is. your comments, arlington, indicate that it's the homoeroticism that's really getting to you. if this is the most revolting aspect of it, why isn't that the main point being raised by foley's peers in congress?

better yet, let's make sure that this never happens again, by making homosexual sex illegal. or even better, doing away with the congressional page program. yeah, that'll do the trick.


Anonymous Arlington said ... (3:08 PM) : 

Dear Fred,

If I understand your point, thank you.


Anonymous Arlington said ... (3:23 PM) : 

Dear Hey Boys,

I lead with the issue of homosexuality because it is in fact the one issue that least involves any judgment calls. Homosexuality violates human anatomy, human nature, natural law, and the Bible. The objection on the basis of the 36-year age difference, on the other hand, requires defending distinctions between different age gaps (how about 35? 34?); the objection on grounds of minority requires defending the 18-year definition for majority; and the employer-employee issue requires articulating standards, since no one would say it is always wrong for an employer to woo an employee. I stand by all those other arguments, but they are not absolutes.

You're right that homosexual sex is not necessarily exploitive. Exploitation is a distinct and additional wrong, in addition to perversion.

I don't know why congressional Republicans articulate their concerns the way they do, except that I suppose that if they express concerns about homosexuality, then (a) they will be subjected to public abuse, and (b) some might wonder if they would approve of exploitation of female pages by a male Congressman.

I don't know what aspect of this situation is the most "revolting", and that's not really the issue, since for all you know I'm so messed up that what revolts me is OK, and what pleases me is wrong.

And by the way, maybe the female page hypothetical reminds us that, if we frame our objections in terms of what's subjectively revolting, we might muffle our objections to grievous wrongs just because they happen to titillate us--i.e., we don't find them subjectively revolting. Just very, very wrong.


Blogger Hired Hand said ... (3:55 PM) : 

i have to say that the pedophilia is far more perverse than the homosexuality in all of this. regarding 'human nature' (for which i'd also like a definition): what authority do you cite indicating that homosexuality is contrary to it? i know this is an incredibly old argument, but given the outrage the behavior of others (in a non-exploitive setting) seems to raise in you and many others, why would anyone choose to act in a way that was contrary to their nature AND put their safety at risk? to be overly dramatic, 'what choice?'

and if the female page hypothetical indeed titillates you, then perhaps you're right, and what pleases you is wrong. much like there is significant evidence to suggest homosexuals are born to act a certain way, there is significant evidence to back up the definition of 18 as the age of majority. as you (i think) said earlier, the victims here were children, lacking fully-developed decisionmaking skills and the ability to discriminate enough to consent.

it's sick, and regardless of the law in DC, should be statutory rape. two teenagers fumbling around in the dark may be stupid; an old man fumbling around in the dark with a teenager isn't stupid - it's evil.


Anonymous Arlington said ... (4:19 PM) : 

Dear HH:

One could do something "naturally" (i.e., without choosing) that nonetheless violates "human nature". Sexually speaking, we can discern human nature (if no other way) by observing the way that human sex organs function. Someone who uses a wrench to drive in a nail is violating the nature of the wrench, whereas the design of a hammer shows that driving in a nail is consistent with (and fulfills) its nature.

Likewise, we know the function that is consistent with (and that fulfills) the nature of human genitals--viz., male-female intercourse, leading to procreation. Someone who attempts other uses is at war with reality, and with health, and with his own nature.

Of course I refuse to disagree with you in condemning pedophilia in the strongest possible terms, but get ready for arguments (not likely to be raised this week, when the point is to harrass Republicans, but stay tuned) about the distinction between pedophilia and ephebophilia. If you remain too staunch on the perversity of sex between an adult and a 16-year-old, you will find the homosexual lobby strangely reluctant to join you.


Anonymous Mr. Foley said ... (4:21 PM) : 

what if they turn on the light? does that make it hot?


Blogger Hired Hand said ... (4:27 PM) : 


Not to get too icky, but is foreplay with your wife a perversion and are those who practice it at war with reality as well? Seems so, given your comments.

Ephebophilia vs. Pedophilia is a physiological, not a psychological, distinction. Both are evil for the same mercenary reason I've been harping on for a few days now.


Anonymous Arlington said ... (4:34 PM) : 

"Foreplay." Hmmm. "'Fore" what? Play before intercourse. The behavior you refer to so squeamishly is in fact ordered toward the natural marital ends, so it is not at all perverse. (You had a Jesuit education, right? They taught you to talk that way, didn't they?)

By all means keep up your harping.


Blogger Hired Hand said ... (5:03 PM) : 

okay okay okay. you want icky? you got it. please feel free to entertain any of the following scenarios, and tell me whether they're perverse or not, and why:

1. having intercourse with your wife while she's menstruating.

2. having sex with your wife while she's pregnant.

3. your wife, who previously had premarital sex, becomes pregnant, has an abortion that goes wrong, and can no longer conceive. she then repents, and marries you. she can no longer conceive.

4 (optional) having sex with your wife, who is a gorilla.


Anonymous Jane Goodall said ... (5:06 PM) : 

i'll take option 4.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:37 PM) : 

When the elephants fight, the grass is trampled.


Anonymous Arlington said ... (8:33 AM) : 

Dear HH: Didn't the Jesuits teach you the answers to these questions? I think you know, and you're asking just to see whether I know.

1-3. A Biblical argument can of course be made against having intercourse during the wife's period, since it was forbidden under the Law of Moses. Orthodox Jews will still believe themselves govermed by that rule. The rest of us, however, will consider it simply one more instance of the generality you bring up--viz., having sex with one's wife at a time when it is thought that conception cannot occur. (You could add the post-menopausal wife to your list.)

None of these violates natural law, or the nature of the sex act. In each such case, an impediment is put in the way of conception by something outside the couple's current control. The couple does not attempt to divorce sex from procreation; their purpose is to do what comes naturally and let the consequences (whatever they may be) flow from it as they will. This contrasts most vividly with coitus interruptus, where the man radically separates the sex act from its ends by literally disturbing the real consummation of the act.

In the cases you posit, the man reckons (but in most instances can't be absolutely sure) that a pregnancy cannot result from sex. Pregnancy is impeded by an act of God, so to speak. But the man's own acts include only those consistent with human sexual nature and oriented toward its ends.

All this talk of "icky" betrays that you are not a married man.

4. You are presumably joking by bringing up the absurdity of bestiality, but of course you appreciate that there are those who will argue that, if an act doesn't hurt the animal, then it's nobody else's business. If in order to excuse homosexuality (or fornication, or whatever) we divorce sex from its actual ends (procreation, union of husband and wife, mutual pleasure), and instead understand sex as being just a recreational sport or a mechanism for delivery jolts to the pleasure centers of the brain, then we will find ourselves with nothing to say to the practitioner of bestiality, or else with only silly things to say, about hygiene and esthetics and what-not--things that are not silly in and of themselves, but that are ridiculous arguments to make in place of the obvious fact that bestiality is just wrong. Silly like convicting Al Capone of tax evasion instead of murder.

BTW, we find ourselves in that silly place now, vis-a-vis homosexual sex.


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