Why does this story
not surprise me? It may surprise our brilliant junior Senator, who has already been surprised by public response to his revelations of childhood sexual abuse. He is surprised, and angry, that some people compare his story with his support for Jeff Perry
and find hypocrisy in the contrast. Sucker-punched you on that one, didn't they, Senator?
He seems surprised that the revelation has become the tail that is wagging the dog of his autobiography. I'm not sure I can attempt reading any political literature these days, but in the interest of fairness I may try this on: Just to prove my hypothesis that, apart from this nugget, the autobiography will take the genre to a new level of somnolence. The brilliantly original title sets us up for what to expect. Who in hell was his ghostwriter, Horatio Alger
? It's been done, Scott.
I bet Brown will also be surprised that his former summer camp "came forward." Come on, Senator, once you start the gravy train of professional victimhood, everybody will want to jump on it. It's only a matter of time before we have the biography of the offending counselor. Camp Good News, indeed: Victimhood is big business.
Disclaimer: I know whereof I speak, save only that my life story is rags to rags. Letting the monsters out of the closet is one thing, if it does you internal good. Making money or political capital off them is another. Whatever Brown's motivation here, if he's into surprises he'll find plenty as the hangers-on jump onto this little engine.
Actual sexual abuse is one thing that isn't on my resume, but the exposures of the past few years put a name on one unsettling episode from my childhood. By some odd chain of events a friend of mine, whose family weren't practicing Catholics, got lined up for a recruitment visit at a prominent Catholic boy's camp in New Hampshire. He was encouraged to bring a friend and chose me. We were somewhere around ten to twelve at the time.
Our day trip happened on a cloudy, drizzly day that did nothing to put the place in its best light. Counselors showed us around the place, which had all of the usual amenities. I lingered behind the group at one, and the chaplain appeared out of nowhere and began to ask me questions, and crowd me a little. At the time I took them to be hard sell for the camp: now I wonder.
This priest served in my home town, and had the unfortunate (or at least apposite) luck to have a name that included two nicknames for the penis. I wasn't quite old enough to share the adolescent hilarity that arose from these names. All I felt was rather crowded, so I made my excuses and caught up with the group. I had never had any intention of going to this camp and only went along to keep my friend company.
This business got shelved in long-term neural storage. I was never quite comfortable around this priest thereafter, but once I moved away and had other things on my mind, I forgot about it. When the clergy sexual abuse scandal broke out, I recalled it. This priest was long gone when the scandal erupted. It is possible that his intentions that day were indeed no more than a hard sell for the camp. Thinking about it, and now reflecting on Brown's misfortune, it strikes me that the memory—with all its opera buffa
trappings—opens a window into how easy it was and is for a person in authority to hit on an impressionable child: however innocent the first steps may be, they lose their innocence very quickly.
Senator Brown may be about to lose his social innocence if more people and institutions leap to share his victimhood. Meanwhile, I shake my head. Of course
it was a religious camp: one begins to think pederasty was on the curriculum at seminaries of every variety of religion. Although secular camps with a specific focus are one part of the solution*, I think we need some atheist summer camps, to point kids in the right direction without the molestation.
*Eventually I went to one of these and enjoyed myself hugely. No groping there, either.
Labels: Sen. Scott Brown, sexual abuse, summer camps