Sean Parker wants to be taken seriously. Facebook's founding president badly wants to convince people he's not an amoral party boy like Justin Timberlake in The Social Network. Which is why it's strange he basically encouraged the New York Times to paint him as a cokehead.

Here, in the Times' Sunday profile of Parker, you've got the paper describing the young billionaire's "erratic"-seeming behavior and his penchant for disappearing during parties, and quoting a friend who describes Parker's "call at 3 a.m. in the morning where he wants to talk... to make sure you are coming to his engagement party. But you have no idea what triggered that thought." And then, when the Times asked about whether Parker had used drugs, he

"turned florid and abstract, saying: 'I'm a believer in any method of mind expansion whether facilitated by meditation, religious experience or drug use. There is a value in using tools available to us, even if it is pharmacological in nature, if it expands the mind.'"

Then today the Times runs another suspicious quote from Parker. It turns out, when he was asked whether he used drugs, Parker also said "I definitely don't smoke weed," and, said the Times, "would have continued if his publicist had not cut him off. "

Denying that you smoke marijuana when asked about "drugs" and when you're a rumored user of cocaine, not pot, is going to add to the rumors, not tamp them down.

Last October, Vanity Fair wrote that Parker ""routinely stays up very, very late, talking intensely about subjects he cares about and/or partying." In April, after Parker's sudden engagement to singer Alexandra Lenas, we mentioned we'd heard from a couple of people that Parker had been using cocaine. One described his consumption in fall 2010 as "ample amounts of cocaine on both coasts."

In June we heard he'd gotten coked up with Lindsay Lohan (his spokesman denied a rumor that the pair were spending additional time together but didn't get back to us on a subsequent inquiry involving the cocaine). Page Six Magazine later described a 2009 Halloween party of Parker's where, it said, cocaine and ecstasy were present. Parker's recent brandishing of a fire extinguisher at a play hardly lent sober overtones to his reputation.

It is, arguably, noble that Parker wants to promote "mind expansion." But if he really wants to be considered a very serious person with very serious ambitions, as he keeps insisting, he should probably get himself to a place where he can truthfully say to the press, "I tried cocaine, but it's not my thing and I stopped using it." It's not nearly as fun as throwing monster blowout parties at Coachella, but it does offer a higher return on investment.

[Image of Sean Parker via Official LeWeb photos/Flickr]