So if you’ve absorbed any news media in the past several days, you’ll know that a US Senator plead guilty to a charge of “lewd conduct” for trying to hook up with another man in an airport bathroom. Clearly, this is The Most Important News Story Ever. Or at least so you’d think, given the amount of headlines, talk show gas, and blog commentary it’s getting.
Just to give the quick summary to those who have been living in a cave with their fingers in their ears, conservative Republican Senator Larry Craig from Idaho went to a public bathroom in an airport that was known as a spot frequented by men looking for quick, anonymous sex with other men. According to an undercover cop who was assigned to that bathroom*, Sen. Craig did all the coded gestures and signals usually given by men who are there to hook-up, and he arrested Craig**.
I do have to say that I found the Senator’s
lie explanation pretty hi-larious. He claims that he did not go into that bathroom to solicit sex. Y’see, when he stuck his foot into the stall of the man next to him, and touched his foot to his neighbor’s foot, he wasn’t trying to get the other guy’s attention to solicit some hot man love. It was an unintended touch, caused by his “wide stance” when going to the bathroom***.
While the bumbling efforts of an allegedly upright elite to justify his own hypocrisy is an amusing diversion, in no way should this story get the sort of coverage it has. True, the revelation of Craig’s arrest may eventually lead to the end of his political career and shifts in the balance of political power in Washington, and that’s news. But the only reason that the Senator’s actions might have those sort of repercussions is because of American sexual puritanism and homophobia. In what sane country would “person tries to entice other person into having sex” make or break anyone’s career, political or otherwise? (I’ll let you know when I find a sane country). Jeez, if the country were a little more sexually rational, gay men wouldn’t have to be sneaking around and using covert signals to find sex partners, and this particular media circus never would have happened.
Part of the reason this story is getting so much attention is the media’s hunger for a good story that fits an existing template. And man oh man does the American media have the “political sex scandal” template down. The initial report. The sordid details. The denial. The sex partner’s press conference. The repeated denial. The investigation. The cover-up. More sordid detais. The jokes on late night talk shows. The apology and/or resignation. Then the cigarettes and afterglow. The news media are absolute addicts for this shit, because these sex stories are rare occasions when they can actually compete with entertainment media on the entertainers’ terms. When seeking a fickle audience, entertainment usually wins out. But when the news anchor can talk about sex and adultery? With a little homosexuality for spice? Scandalicious!
This story is getting further light and heat by liberals and progressives who would like to rid themselves of an opponent. By keeping focus on Craig’s sexual dalliances, they can turn conservatives against him and possibly get him kicked out of office. And I’m sure that in their minds, they’re focusing on the senator’s “hypocrisy”, juxtaposing his gay-friendly activities with his homophobic rhetoric. But I think what they’re really doing is getting the guy fired because he’s gay. The conservative base isn’t outraged because he says one thing and does another, they’re outraged because he’s a man who likes man cock. Whether intentional or not, these lefties who are normally fairly pro-gay are using homophobia as a weapon against Republicans****. By all accounts Craig has a political agenda that is harmful to many, but I don’t know that his end justifies these means.
But the worst part is that all of the media attention on this nonsense sucks all the news oxygen. Without enough airtime, other stories which actually effect the lives of large numbers of human beings suffocate and shrivel. Reports about how the government is spying on us, the resignation of the lying, law-breaking Attorney General, the failure of the Iraq surge, the plans for war with Iran, all of these have to fight for breath against GAY SENATOR SEXXX. And these important news stories lose that battle, and real people get hurt in the process.
Which is why I will now post a story about something that has nothing to do with what grown adults do with their penises.
* Is this really a top police priority? Stopping bathroom sex at the airport? Shouldn’t they be doing something important, like making sure that no airline passengers try to transport shampoo in their carry-on bags?
** While cop testimony is not always trustworthy, when cops lie, they usually do so against someone relatively powerless, not US senators.
*** The idea that someone sits on the toilet and spreads their legs so wide that the take up three different stalls just cracks me up.
**** Which reminds me of ongoing conservative efforts to attack the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates with homophobia. A number of the assaults on Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are on their allegedly inappropriate gender behavior. Clinton is aggressive, and therefore overly manly, and therefore bad. Edwards is attractive and got an expensive haircut once, therefore he is overly concerned with his appearance, and therefore overly feminine, and therefore bad.
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