Orgasms and wargasms
October 5, 2006
Sex scandals, at least in societies dominated by guilt-sodden
Protestants, fulfill the therapeutic function usually
attributed to pleasant or exciting sex: exploration of
intimate areas of political life, surfacing "issues" normally
repressed. America can't talk about Iraq, where Americans boys
are raping 14-year-old girls and shooting families at close
range, can't talk about torture, so instead we focus on what
former Republican Rep. Mark Foley wrote to a page about boxer
shorts and their contents. What's the other option? Pack a
tube of sex lubricant, holster up, grab a box of ammo and head
for an Amish schoolhouse.
Here's Foley (code-named Maf54) in instant message mode in
Maf54: I miss you
Teen: ya me too
Maf54: we are still voting
Maf54: you miss me too
The two of them then -- so say the transcribers at ABC News --
"appear to describe having sexual orgasms."
Maf54: ok .i better go vote..did you know you would have this
effect on me
Teen: lol I guessed
Teen: ya go vote . I don't want to keep you from doing your job
Maf54: can I have a good kiss goodnight
What was Foley off to vote for? That evening the House voted
on HR 1559, Emergency War-Time Supplemental Appropriations.
Just another wargasm in the life of Empire.
Did Foley actually lay his filthy paws on gilded youth? There
are gay guys who like to hang around teens, not necessarily
with an overpowering urge for immediate sexual contact but
more for the overall homoerotic buzz and the hope that one
day, one of the lads might say, You're the one. It's like the
pilot in that great 1980 movie "Airplane":
Captain Oveur: You ever been in a cockpit before?
Joey: No, sir, I've never been up in a plane before.
Captain Oveur: You ever seen a grown man naked? .
Captain Oveur: Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison? .
Captain Oveur: Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?
This sounds like Foley to me. When in doubt, head for the
Betty Ford Center. Although no one seems to be buying it,
Foley is trying to bring booze into disrepute, saying that he
was drunk all those times he whacked out the instant messages.
He also says he was abused by a priest as a lad and now
suffers from mental illness. A trifecta! Foley probably spent
a lot of time studying the human pyramid and dog photos from
Abu Ghraib before rushing off to draft the strong language he
inserted into the Child Protection and Safety Act earlier this
year. People cry angrily that this is hypocrisy. I'm not sure
why. If you know what you are capable of, surely it's sound
moral conduct for a legislator to try to guard society from
the beast within.
What gives a scandal legs is always the cover-up, or the
appearance of a cover-up. Republicans in tight races are
panicking because Hastert and other senior Republicans sat on
the scandal. "I don't think it would pass the sniff test,"
says West Virginia Representative Shelley Moore Capito,
referring to claims that the first set of e-mails between
Foley and the pages on the topic of boxer shorts did not seem
to be conclusive evidence of anything really bad. Sniff test?
What can Shelley have been thinking of?
Beyond their inherently uplifting aspect -- bringing powerful
people into ridicule and disrepute -- political sex scandals
can be very educational about sex and political economy. Who
does not recall that tryst in the White House -- unearthed by
special prosecutor Ken Starr -- between Bill Clinton and
Monica Lewinsky in 1996, when Bill, receiving satisfaction
from Monica in his nether regions, gave satisfaction over the
phone to Alfonso Fanjul, the Florida sugar baron who was
complaining that Al Gore had just proposed a sugar tax and had
vowed to clean up the Everglades.
The bluenoses try to ban sex ed and then provoke scandal
which duly engenders sex ed in glorious Technicolor. Bill
Clinton fired his first surgeon general, Joycelyn Elders, who
was asked at a 1994 conference at the United Nations whether
adults should promote masturbation among youth as a way to
discourage dangerous sexual behavior. "I think that is part
of human sexuality," she answered, "and perhaps it should be
taught." Maybe Foley should volunteer to be a teacher, as
part of a plea bargain.
I often tell people they shouldn't worry too much about the
evangelical Christians. People who spend so much time
lecturing others about sin are likely to go sinning
themselves, and in the end, like Jimmy Swaggart, they get
caught heading into the whorehouse. Republicans are a
repressed lot, unless they become libertarians. Back in Reagan
time, when I was on the campaign trail, the motels were always
filled with Republicans stitched into their squeaky-clean
suits who were obvious closet cases.
Most certainly the country has been ripe for a political sex
scandal. Given the paralysis at the straightforward political
level, it's pretty much the only safety valve we've got. Let's
hope the Foley scandal will give us at least a hundredth as
much educational uplift and fun as did the great Lewinsky
scandal of immortal memory. This doesn't mean Bush won't bomb
Iran. He might do it to change the subject, and all those
Republicans will interrupt their instant messaging to the page
boys to go vote the president all appropriate powers.
Alexander Cockburn is coeditor with Jeffrey St. Clair of the
muckraking newsletter CounterPunch. He is also co-author of
the new book "Dime's Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of
Two Evils," available through www.counterpunch.com. To find
out more about Alexander Cockburn and read features by other
columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web
page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2006 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
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