Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sex, Showers and Videotape

Maybe it's because I went to a men's college that I didn't get all up in arms about Captain Honors' sophomoric video for the USS Enterprise.  Of course there were things in the vid clip that were offensive, stupid, and not particularly funny, but this is also part and parcel with military culture (trust me, I've spent time with my pops and his Marine Corps buddies, and I winced often).  I am not convinced that relieving Honors from his command was the right remedy, if it was related solely to this video.

Yet, there are two aspects of this whole thing that I do find fascinating, if not a little annoying.  First, I am sick and tired of people crying political correctness when people are rightly upset when someone uses terms like "nigger," and "faggot" in the ways that are indeed meant to hurt and demean.  It's a defense of simply being offensive.  "It's just PC bullshit that I can't call that faggot a faggot."  But, I don't expect many who are quick to make that type of argument to understand my point. 

Second, I really and truly do not understand the fascination that some straight men have with gay male sex, particularly if they say they are uncomfortable with the idea of gay sex.  I don't obsess over straight folks having sex.  Actually, I could care less, even though I am inundated with those images continually.  I just find it strange, thinking of the Honors' video, that one would even be interested in creating images of simulated or implied gay male sex (way too many of my straight friends are completely sold on lipstick lesbian sex, but that is a wholly different issue).  My guess is that when the ladies sharing the shower was shown to the carrier's crew, there were approving hoots, hollers and cat calls.  And I am betting when the many more images of the guys being "gay" came up...well I don't think I need to explain it.

So, I am not bent all out of shape on this issue, but the responses and the silences have been fascinating to read (or not read).  Oh, and for those supporters of Honors, is the support for allowing him to be offensive to gay folks (especially in light of the ending of DADT), protesting his removal from command simply because of the video, or something else?  I wonder if more are offering support for the former, and using the latter (and more reasonable reason for support) as cover.


TC said...

My lukewarm support for CAPT Honors (bad judgment here, but he's obviously a great leader otherwise) is based on the USN's reaction to this -- instead of standing up for one of their own, they throw him to the media wolves and the public who (unlike you) doesn't understand military culture. The average age on an aircraft carrier is about 21, so your analogy to a college is much better than the commentators who talk about "the workplace" and corporate America.

I don't view this as having much to do with DADT -- any more than it does allowing women in the military. Heck, I've been called "fag" by a previous boss and seen others called that, and it was completely harmless, almost a term of endearment -- if he didn't have a demeaning nickname for you, he didn't like you. I never considered that as having anything to do with homosexuality -- instead, it has become a generic, nonspecific derogatory term.

hscfree said...

Yeah, I think the media take on this is wholly misplaced, but that shouldn't surprise us with regard to media (even media we actually agree with, lol).

As to your second point on "fag," I wonder if people will be upset if "fag," as "almost a term of endearment" goes the way of nigger (I am not sure what women were called in the early days of their service). Or do bosses still call folks nigger or bitch as a non-racial, non-gender "generic, nonspecific derogatory term?

And I ask this as a person who has used faggot, nigger and bitch in various contexts with friends gay, black or female. So I actually get the "generic, nonspecific derogatory term."

What I miss is the anger that comes when someone expresses offense at the use of the term. If I called one of my gay friends a bitch (which happens a WHOLE lot among the gays), and he said that he was offended by that, my first reaction is not, "oh, he is just being PC." It's one where I will not use that term in front of him.

Why is that seen as a bad thing? Isn't that just politeness?