La Cage Aux Foley

Don't dare try to blame Mark Foley's troubles on "the closet." The disgraced "R" from Florida was as "out" as it is possible to be --he was well-known for his inappropriate comments and gestures (towards adults) --to the point that male staffers on the Hill joked about not wanting to be caught alone in an elevator with him. I suppose there is political intrigue here --Republicans not wanting to lose a seat and Democrats sitting on information until it suited them to release it-- but the biggest "cause" of the latest House scandal is political correctness. It ought to have been obvious to anyone that a person so obsessed with sex he could not refrain from talking about it might be a poor candidate for oversight of the House Committee charged with catching sexual predators, or that a few bad emails betokened many more, and possibly worse behaviors. But in the name of "openness," we're not allowed to be ashamed of dirty talk. Loosen up. Wouldn't want to be judgmental.

Please note that I am not referring to Foley's sexual orientation here --except to say that homosexual predators benefit most from the high ideal of tolerance (you're still allowed to think a hetero harrasser is a jerk). I'm referring to the wholesale throwing out of "conventions" of courtesy and speech. The idea was to make things in the office more friendly (please, call me "Al"). All it's given is free reign to sexual harrassers and predators --because we've all voluntarily put down our weapons against such behavior: formal address (that's Mr. Smith), formal clothes, disapproval, shunning, the brisk slap to the face. In our eagerness to be tolerant, we forget that some things just aren't done. Until they are, and someone sues us for not having stopped the behavior we were busy tolerating in the first place.

UPDATE: Don't fall for it, people. I won't read 'im anymore, but ninme reports (via James Taranto) that Andrew Sullivan is indeed blaming the closet that Mark Foley was in no wise in. He also seems to think that Republicans cause pedophilia 'cause they're so mean to the poor homosexuals. Balderdash. My parents ran in Bob Bauman's circle, and when he destroyed his career, I was teen witness to the fact that everyone still tried to be decent to him --even as he was running around town denouncing them for their cruelty. And I was also teen witness to Marvin Liebman doing the talk shows about what pressure he felt being in the closet around all his Conservative friends. All I can say to that is: Marvin was the only one under the illusion he was in the closet. Everyone knew, and he still had his job and his friends.