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Republican Sex Scandals and Slash - Mo's Journal
September 6th, 2007
02:15 pm

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Republican Sex Scandals and Slash
So how many Republican sex scandals are yet to come? Any bets out there? The ones getting caught are likely a subset of the total number of Republican homophobes who are secretly having homosex. Yet there are so many getting caught! And then, of course, there's the illicit heterosexual sex engaged in by the likes of Senator David Vitter. Can the revelations really continue at this pace? Time will tell.

Let's look at a couple of the recent ones. First we have Bob Allen, caught offering an undercover cop $20 for the privilege of performing fellatio on said undercover cop. His explanation for why he did that? Fear. He explained that the cop in question was a "stocky black guy" and there were only other black men around and he was afraid.

Aside from the blatant racism of this "explanation" the bizarre thing to me is how he'd expect people to believe that racial fear would lead him to think that the way to avoid physical harm was to offer to pay money to suck some guy's cock. I think most people realize that in a homophobic society that's a pretty dangerous thing to do, regardless of race, unless you're quite sure the person you're soliciting is going to be receptive. I laughed heartily at this line from the Washington Post: "We've all been there, made so nervous by our racially diverse surroundings that we offer up 20 bucks to perform fellatio on the nearest person in a public bathroom."

I'm quite amused by the Larry Craig thing, as well. I read that one of the late night comics (maybe Leno?) said that it's not fair to call him a hypocrite for being such a strong opponent of same sex marriage and equal employment rights for gay people and inclusion of sexual orientation in hate crimes legislation. After all, he's never said anything against anonymous gay sex in bathrooms. More recently my brother argued the same thing on his journal, apparently not joking. I do think it's the hypocrisy of having a public stance as a social conservative while privately engaging in homosex in bathrooms that gives this story its legs (and the legs are in a wide stance, no doubt).

I don't get, though, why they need to have these sting operations. I do think that public sex in bathrooms is a kind of public nuisance and don't object to cops being assigned to stop it and make arrests. So in cases like the MSP bathrooms where they'd had complaints of public sex, I think it's fine that they assign someone to check it out. But why does this poor cop have to sit on a toilet for hours waiting for someone to tap his feet in a coded manner? Why can't they just wait for people to have public sex and arrest them? I think the only argument that makes sense is that the intention is to criminalize male/male sex in a post-Lawrence legal climate by entrapping men in public places. And that is a serious and sad thought.

What does all this have to do with slash? Well, how often have those of us who read and write slash been told that we are completely changing the character if we show him having sex with a man and he isn't shown doing so in canon? We are constantly criticized for violating our characters' canonical personalities. Now, I'm not saying that there isn't out-of-character slash, because of course there is. But good slash isn't out of character. It works with the canonical personality and it recognizes that the behavior a person exhibits that's seen by a particular observer (be that person a constituent, a reader, or a wife) is not all there is to someone's personality. Bob Allen's and Larry Craig's "canonical" personalities were very decidedly heterosexual, yet it appears Bob Allen and Larry Craig are not so decidedly heterosexual. There are myriad men like them. Being publicly heterosexual, saying repeatedly "I'm not gay" doesn't stop them from desiring men, and it doesn't stop them from acting on those desires. What it mostly stops them from doing is making sensible choices about who to play footsie with and whose cock to offer to suck.


To quote Barney Frank, who knows from sex scandals:

"Being in the closet doesn't make you do dumb things, doesn't justify you doing dumb things, it just makes them likelier."

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From:thinking_lotus
Date:September 6th, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC)
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Bob Allen lives in an alternate universe.
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From:mofic
Date:September 6th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
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Florida, right? :-)
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From:talktooloose
Date:September 6th, 2007 09:17 pm (UTC)
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I can't figure out if I find your icon amusing or hot. Both, I think. The sex-mussed hair...
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From:mofic
Date:September 6th, 2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
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LOL! I didn't remember what that icon looked like when I chose it for that comment but its description was "Scott visor naked" LOL!
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From:talktooloose
Date:September 6th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
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Yes, from a slash pov, we should recognize that trying to spot someone's sexual tastes from their behaviour in other spheres of their lives is badly thought-through logic. "He punches like a boy so he can't be a fag!" Is that the logic?

Okay.... public sex. I got into a minor dust-up commenting in another journal yesterday when I suggested that accidentally stumbling on public sex should not be considered a big deal. The person I was arguing with said that if we are forced to see people getting it on, we are non-consenting sexual partners in their act. I said, "if you don't like it, look away."

If you are being harassed to have sex in public by someone who won't take no for an answer, that's a different thing but how likely is that. Guys cruising in parks and washrooms are usually terrified of being beaten up. The notion of the predatory homosexual is hard to imagine in real life, frankly.

I should go read your brother's blog, but I think it will piss me off too much. Sounds like he's separating the rights of queers to live lives equal to those of hets from mere sex acts. There is more to the injustice done to us than just criminalizing gay sex.
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From:mofic
Date:September 6th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
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"He punches like a boy so he can't be a fag!" Is that the logic?

Yes, I think that is very much the logic - it's confusing masculinity with heterosexuality.

Guys cruising in parks and washrooms are usually terrified of being beaten up. The notion of the predatory homosexual is hard to imagine in real life, frankly.

I agree with all that. Still, I do think sex in public places is kind of a nuisance. Most people do consider it a private act. I wouldn't go so far as to say the witness is a non-consenting sexual partner, but I do think a person should be able to relieve himself in an airport bathroom without seeing people having sex, and I don't blame those who complained about that.

Sounds like he's separating the rights of queers to live lives equal to those of hets from mere sex acts. There is more to the injustice done to us than just criminalizing gay sex.

FWIW I don't think he's doing that. I think he's just tying himself into rhetorical knots trying to convince himself that the Republican Party isn't any more homophobic than the Democratic Party. I think he finds it hard being a social conservative on almost everything yet supporting gay rights and abortion rights. You kind of have to metaphorically squint a lot to maintain that stance. So he keeps saying things like Craig voted for DOMA but so did Paul Wellstone, narrowing his eyes enough to ignore the rest of both of their voting records and just ignoring how the Republican Party has demonized queer folk ever since they ran out of Communists to demonize.

Here's what I wrote to him most recently on that score:
I'm not sure why you keep limiting your recap of Craig's record to DOMA, except that it lets you mention Wellstone. It's a national disgrace, I think, that only 14 Senators were willing to stand up to the Republicans and vote against DOMA, and even more of a disgrace that Bill Clinton signed it into law, but it really is only one law.

Although it certainly was disappointing when the late and much missed Senator Wellstone voted for DOMA after consistently supporting gay rights for his entire career, it's hardly comparable to Craig, who not only voted for DOMA but also:

- voted for a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage
- voted against including sexual orientation in hate crimes legislation
- voted against prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation
- consistently opposed letting gay men and lesbians serve openly in the armed forces (On August 17th, just two weeks after his guilty plea, Larry Craig wrote to a constituent:

"It is unacceptable to risk the lives of American soldiers and sailors merely to accommodate the sexual lifestyles of certain individuals.")

Larry Craig has a consistent anti-gay record (and, apparently, a consistent secret sex life). Paul Wellstone had a consistent pro-gay rights record with one unfortunate lapse, a lapse he shared with many others. I wish he had lived long enough to acknowledge his mistake and make amends.

[end excerpt] He has a long response - lots more squinting. I won't answer it. I think it's sad he feels the need to tie himself in knots like that, but I'm glad that with all the move to the right he's done over the past 15-20 years he's maintained his support for equal rights for queer people and for women's reproductive rights.
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From:mofic
Date:September 6th, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
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You make a good point about kids. At 9, your son is old enough that people are going to object if he comes with you into the women's bathroom. And surely a men's room in an *airport* is one that any male traveler - even a nine-year-old traveler - ought to be able to use for its intended purpose between flights.

I'm very much in favor of public displays of affection as well as Palm Pilots, so I guess I love PDAs :-). But I truly mean affection, not sexual behavior. I think couples of whatever gender makeup should feel comfortable holding hands, hugging, kissing, etc. But sexual behavior is essentially private, I think, and is intrusive when it isn't. I don't like it when people make out on the subway, either. Although I have to say when it's teenagers I tend to feel more compassionate than disapproving, since it's likely they don't have anywhere to go to be alone together.

Mostly, I think if you want to have sex in a bathroom it should be in a bar, in a hotel (bathroom in a room, not public bathroom) or in your own home.
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From:executrix
Date:September 7th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
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I don't think that individuals should engage in same-sex activities while claiming to be heterosexual, and cruising areas exist in large part to aid in what I think is very unhealthy denial (and, often, deceit to wives and girlfriends). And there are plenty of opportunities for public sex in front of a 100% adult and interested audience--but that would require admitting what they're doing. And of course, the greater the extent to which someone claims to be Holier Than Thou, the louder Thou is going to laugh when they aren't.
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From:mofic
Date:September 7th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
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don't think that individuals should engage in same-sex activities while claiming to be heterosexual, and cruising areas exist in large part to aid in what I think is very unhealthy denial (and, often, deceit to wives and girlfriends).

I think that's often true, but certainly not always. I do wonder if Larry Craig's wife was deceived. She certainly had to have known that everyone *thought* he was gay when she married him. Here he is one day complaining that if you're a forty year old single guy everybody suspects you of being gay, and then he marries a woman with three kids and adopts them. It does make one wonder if she was in on the deceit.

Of course, some guys are really convincing and some women really want to believe. My guy got a telepath to believe he was straight :-).
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From:executrix
Date:September 7th, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
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...unless your guy got a telepath to believe that he was really hot, and anyway she got to watch whether physically present or not.
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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:September 7th, 2007 12:36 am (UTC)
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I'm enjoying all the commenting on this -- I too would rather not HAVE to avert my eyes to something that's generally considered inappropriate for that space, whomever the participants. OTOH, if I go to a nude beach, I assume I'll have to look at naked bodies, and if I go to certain bars, I assume I'll see more than I'd see at my corner bar. So it's not all public spaces, but enough advance warning so I too can make a choice.

Public sex to me is like someone exposing himself to me -- it invades my memory, not just my eyesight. And I can't avert my memory easily.

BTW, rec'd your entry; liked it a lot.
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From:mofic
Date:September 7th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC)
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. OTOH, if I go to a nude beach, I assume I'll have to look at naked bodies, and if I go to certain bars, I assume I'll see more than I'd see at my corner bar. So it's not all public spaces, but enough advance warning so I too can make a choice.

Yes, that's a good distinction.

Public sex to me is like someone exposing himself to me -- it invades my memory, not just my eyesight. And I can't avert my memory easily.

It's interesting to me how much context matters. Certainly many of us who wouldn't want to just come upon people having sex enjoy watching people having sex under other circumstances.
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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:September 7th, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
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It's interesting to me how much context matters. Certainly many of us who wouldn't want to just come upon people having sex enjoy watching people having sex under other circumstances.

So true. A man exposed himself to my then-partner and I in a library parking lot one day.She'd never experienced that, and was really shaken. She'd had lots of male partners, quite willingly, and had not objected at all to seeing their penises! So that's why it jumps to my mind -- in a context where it's involuntary, or someone not respecting the other people in that community, it bothers me for a lot of reasons which have NOTHING to do with prurience. I like prurience. I don't like power plays.

But... just to add to that... I do think about the needs of people who want anonymous sex, and waffle. I can't see the government setting up free fuck parks anytime soon...And very few local governments, even in Washington, sponsor nude beaches.
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From:mofic
Date:September 7th, 2007 11:43 am (UTC)
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I do think about the needs of people who want anonymous sex, and waffle. I can't see the government setting up free fuck parks anytime soon...And very few local governments, even in Washington, sponsor nude beaches.

I kind of see the nudity issue as separate from the public sex issue, although there are points of commonality. But, anyway, I have sympathy with the waffling. I don't like the sting operations, as I said, but I do support police cracking down on sex in airport bathrooms. I would not support cracking down on sex in the back room of back room bars or in parks or on beaches at night. In a lot of situations I'm with talktooloose - if you chance upon people having sex and you don't want to see it, look away. But I think it really is context-specific. There are contexts - like going to the bathroom in an airport or commuting on a subway or getting one's car from the library parking lot - where one should have some reasonable expectation of not being exposed to sexual activity.
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From:joelrosenberg
Date:September 13th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
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My own theory -- which applies to a lot about sex and other things -- is that the key factor is consent, not context.

If I don't wish to consent to view others having sex at a given time, it's pretty trivial to stay out of their bedrooms while they're having sex, and not a lot less trivial to stay out of a known cruisy park (assuming I'm clued in; not difficult to be in my hometown) during Unofficial Cruising Hours. It's a lot less trivial to avoid public restrooms entirely, or to cruise (so to speak) the Internet to find out where the known anonymous sex restrooms are locally. Similarly, when I don't care to hear music blasting out enough bass vibrations to neuter a goat, I simply avoid buying tickets to the local Goat Blasting musical group's performance; somewhat more difficult to arrange for my street not to be a locus for various folks cruising up and down to share their favored bass vibrations.
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