Foley: The Political Sitcom’s Season Premier
For more than a year, now, I’ve been directing conversations with my politically-interested friends toward an issue that has concerned me as one who has found (very) modest success as a socio-political writer: my growing disinterest in the political debate du jour.
A prominent experiential example: I used to check the Corner two to five times per hour. Now, although I don’t believe that the quality of the writers or the written has gone down, I find myself increasingly surprised at the topics that the punditentia is discussing. At this moment, two-and-a-half hours and roughly 3,000 words worth of Corner posts are about Mark Foley.
Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan, another must-read during the days of the Bronze Age of blogging, who once lanced from his chariot the idea that the Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandals had anything whatsoever to do with homosexuality (what’s the difference between pedophilia and ephebophilia, again?) is casting about such rhetoric as this:
But closeted gay men are particularly vulnerable to this kind of thing. Your psyche is so split by decades of lies and deceptions and euphemisms that integrity and mental health suffer. No one should excuse Foley’s creepy interactions; they are inexcusable, as is the alleged cover-up (although we shouldn’t jump to conclusions yet about who knew what when). But there’s a reason gay men in homophobic institutions behave in self-destructive ways.
Or think of it another way: what do the Vatican and the RNC have in common? Here’s one potential list: entrenched homophobia, psychologically damaged closet cases, inappropriate behavior toward teens and minors … and cover-ups designed entirely to retain power.
Here’s the thing about politics — at least for me: when it begins to feel like a game, it also begins to feel like callous and even malicious manipulation. Maybe I’m just suffering from scandal fatigue… do we really need two or three per primetime season?