Disgraced Florida Rep. Mark Foley has made it known through his lawyer that he’s seeking treatment for alcohol abuse. The announcement came just days after he resigned over inappropriate communications he had with a teenaged former Congressional page.
Well, this is typical.
You see, booze is the source of all our negative personality traits. At least, it’s a safe, convenient scapegoat. It’s a way of explaining away our own deplorable behavior. Of taking away responsibility from ourselves and putting it on a potent – yet legal – drug.
In other words: That wasn’t me, that was the booze talking. And booze is legal, so I'm not so bad.
Rehab, therefore, is apparently the remedy not only for alcoholism, but for myriad other tendencies. (Note: Foley has added a secondary explanation for his behavior.)
Foley is as full of shit as Mel Gibson, who let loose a tirade of anti-Semitic and sexist remarks after he was arrested for drunk driving. Of course, Mel went right into rehab, and made sure everyone knew about it.
Entertainment reporter Pat O’Brien, whose obscene and unwelcome voicemail messages to a female coworker have made the rounds of the Internet for some time, claims a drinking problem was the cause of his bad behavior.
Maybe booze does loosen up your inhibitions and make you more likely to make an inappropriate overture to another person, but does it make you talk about getting “some coke” and letting “the kids” watch your illicit acts? If we believe O'Brien it does.
My favorite “blame booze” story has a tangentially personal connection to me. Norman Balthazar, former monsignor of the Catholic parish I attended as a child, was arrested for soliciting a male prostitute who was actually an undercover cop (I was in college by the time of this incident). He later held a press conference where he explained that he had had “too much to drink” and “wound up in the wrong place.”
That’s a carefully worded statement that surely made your lawyer proud, Norm, but you were already gay and desiring male companionship before you took the first sip. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
There is something wrong with a priest or anyone getting drunk and getting behind the wheel – which he did. And while I feel prostitution is a “victimless crime,” it is a crime nonetheless. Such impious behavior from my old monsignor!
Booze loosens your tongue, but it doesn’t make you anti-Semitic or gay or anything else you aren’t already at heart. We all know this. If you have a drinking problem, do go into rehab. But don’t insult us by suggesting that booze is behind any and all embarrassing behavior you may exhibit. COPOUT.
En vino veritas – Latin proverb