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    Thanks to Michael for saying I’m a nice guy. I try to be–or at least, I try to put things in a way that suggests I won’t respond to opposition by jeering or throwing a fit.

    Speaking of how well things are put, Michael also links (approvingly, I assume) to this post by Andrew Sullivan about the Mark Foley flap. Maybe I’m being too picky, but I find his choice of words troubling:

    Equally, the news about Mark Foley has a kind of grim inevitability to it. I don’t know Foley, although, like any other gay man in D.C., I was told he was gay, closeted, afraid and therefore also screwed up. What the closet does to people – the hypocrisies it fosters, the pathologies it breeds – is brutal.

    What I do know is that the closet corrupts. The lies it requires and the compartmentalization it demands can lead people to places they never truly wanted to go, and for which they have to take ultimate responsibility.

    That last clause is a little jarring for me, coming as it does at the tail end of an explanation of all the ways closeted gays end up as they do because they’re buffeted by circumstance. Talking about what “the closet” does in the active voice–as if it were some kind of independent baleful force–can be rhetorically effective, but the flip side is that it makes closeted gays sound helpless and passive.

    It’s still not clear what Foley’s situation is, but let’s assume he’s gay. Well, he was in his twenties in the ’70s, not the ’50s. Even considering all the ways coming out has become easier in the subsequent three decades, he had options. The only thing that makes his current pickle “inevitable” or a place he may have “never truly wanted to go” (exquisite euphemism, that) is that he kept making the same unwise choices. I’d bet that plenty of embezzlers could say honestly that they didn’t really want to steal from anyone. They just wanted a bunch of money they hadn’t earned and…well, you know.

    4 Responses to “Control”

    1. Michael says:

      Nothing in my post should imply “approving.” It’s juat a link to a post I found interesting.

      I wish, however, that AS had something more substantive to say about the pedophilia issue. But I am under no illusions that AS has sidestepped that. I think he was just writing a post that said “Sometimes the closet makes you act irrationally.” I didn’t have sex with kids when I was closeted, but I did have lots and lots of sex – sometimes very risky.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Duly noted. I just figured that if you’d wanted to take issue with anything he’d written, you would have.

    3. Closet liquidation values

      Is the “closet” something to be ashamed of, or is it a one-way political portal? And what is a “closet”? I’m so damned frustrated by the national debate that I don’t know the answer. I may have never known. I…

    4. When “outing” isn’t enough

      it is hard to deny the sweet, sweet justice of Republicans being politically damaged by a lurid sex scandal in Washington. — Glenn Greenwald. Yeah, and it’s also hard to deny the irresistible nature of the Foley “pedophile sex scandal.”…

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