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."