--Sen. Scott Brown
Facebook, for those of you who are uninitiated, is "an English-language social networking website, popular among college students. It was originally developed for university students, faculty and staff, but has since expanded to include everyone, including high school, corporate and geographic communities [Wikipedia]." What this means is students post pictures and news about themselves on their pages, and leave messages on friends' pages. These pages can be open to the public, closed to friends, or limited to a specific audience. A newsfeed feature on each every members home page displays recent Facebook activities of a member's friends. Although the writing about the senator may have been publicly accessible, a Facebook page isn't the cover of the Boston Globe. Not much harm could have been done. Until Brown opened his mouth.
State Senator Scott Brown, a rising star in the state's depleted Republican ranks, yesterday defended his use of profanity during a student assembly at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham, saying he simply repeated hateful statements that had been posted online about him and his family.
"I was merely reading the things that they had written about me," Brown said in an interview. "What's the issue, exactly? I don't quite know what the big deal is, exactly."
Brown, the father of "American Idol" finalist Ayla Brown, read the postings Thursday -- and, in some cases, identified the students he believed had written them -- during a meeting with about 80 sophomores who had invited him to discuss his opposition to same-sex marriage.
School officials said he crossed the line.
"The big deal is that his remarks and the use of profanity and the using of names were inappropriate in a school setting," Richard Robbat, superintendent of King Philip Regional School District, said yesterday.
He touched off a political firestorm in 2001 when he disparaged Democratic state Senator Cheryl Jacques and her domestic partner, Jennifer Chrisler, for deciding to have children. In an interview with the Globe, Brown said it was "not normal" for two women to have a baby. He also dismissed Jacques's role in the relationship as her "alleged family responsibilities." He later backed off his statements, saying he chose the wrong words .
He enjoyed a more flattering moment in the spotlight in 1982, when, at 22, he was designated "America's sexiest man" by Cosmopolitan Magazine.
In recent months, Brown, a state senator since 2004, has been eyed as a potential challenger to run against US Senator John F. Kerry in 2008. Last year, he was also among the top three candidates to become Kerry Healey's running mate in her failed run for governor.
Brown may still get the GOP nod to run as canon-fodder against Sen. John Kerry in 2008, but even in the more conservative greater Boston area, Massachusetts people tend to be tolerant. And tolerance doesn't seem to be one of Brown's strong suits. Behind that sexy, Dr. Jekyll mask lurks a Mr. Hyde who can't stand criticism or homosexuality and can't reliably control what he says.
Is it something in the water or the the issue of gay marriage that brings out the worst in people like Brown? It's kind of weird that Larry Cirignano needlessly pushed (the writing's on the wall on this one) protester Sarah Loy. Like Brown's verbal attack on the kids, Cirignano's actions weren't just unnecessary, they were profoundly counter-productive.