well, i was all set to lecture tomorrow on labeling theory, moral panics, and congressman mark foley. on first reading, his emails to a young page didn't strike me as all that creepy.if you squint a little, you can almost construe them as a dorky but caring adult reaching out as a big brother-type (are you weathering the hurricane ok? what's school like for you this year?).
i wasn't eager to come to the congressman's defense, but i didn't like the way that the pundits cited his resignation as damning evidence that he must be hiding something worse. turns out, of course, he likely was hiding something worse. after reading a transcript of his instant message correspondence from abc news, i'm less interested in even discussing the case in class. yeesh.
on the other hand, his entry into an alcohol rehab program might be a useful sidebar to tomorrow's lecture. there is currently no moral panic swirling around lawful alcohol use -- at least nothing on a scale approaching child sexual abuse. so, alcohol treatment could function as a strategic stigma management technique. the post quotes congressman foley thusly: "I strongly believe that I am an alcoholic and have accepted the need for immediate treatment for alcoholism and other behavioral problems."
by scaling rehab mountain, congressman foley signals that booze is the real problem, relegating his sexual contact with minors to an ancillary grab-bag of other behavioral problems. wonkette has the whole sordid tale.