Things are getting more idiotic everyday. When I look around, things keep getting worse – never better. Here in the NYC radio market we have an old school broadcaster named Bob Grant who has been in radio since 1948. He has worked at every station here – at least twice – and was doing talk radio before the term existed. He has a phrase that he coined: "It's sick out there and GETTING SICKER!!!"
The United States is in a Federal Reserve created credit crunch that may prove to be devastating. Every man and woman, every county and city, every corporation, and especially the overblown federal government; are loaded with debt, financed by China and Japan. We are in a no-win, disastrous war in the Mideast in order to force petroleum producing nations to prop up our phony currency with petro-dollars so we can maintain the illusion of the worlds "hard currency". After years of invasive foreign policy we here in NYC have had two major terrorist attacks as a result of blowback. And now there is VERY SERIOUS AND CREDIBLE talk about bombing Iran – a move that could push oil prices to well over 100 dollars a barrel – some say as high as 200 dollars- which could topple the whole house of cards and disintegrate our whole way of life.
With all this going on, what is THE BIGGEST topic last week in the tabloids, on morning kaffe-klatch TV, and talk radio? It is the REALLY sordid, lurid, embarrassing, and degrading recording by a United States Senator telling some rude cop how he spreads his legs wide open when he removes his trousers and shorts so they don't fall down as he evacuates his bowels in a public toilette at an airport.
Last Friday, I listened to the entire 8 min.& 58 sec. recording three times. I listened to Sen. Larry Craig justify foot and hand movements to an obnoxious cop hell bent for leather to bust this guy for the lewd act of having his left hand (not his right, but his left) visible beneath a toilette stall. I listened to this cop become enraged when Craig said he couldn't use his left hand to reach around to the right and therefore it was his right hand (not his left hand with the wedding ring) that the cop saw. And on and on……etc.
I'm not going to go into more – it's too retarded and you can listen to the tape off the internet if you want – but I can't help thinking how easy it is to get busted in Minneapolis for going to the men's room without knowing the arcana of homosexual trysting. This touches on so many things; I don't know where to begin.
First of all I don't know if Sen. Craig is gay or not……and it's none of my business. In this case he was not lewd or threatening. He did not expose himself or intimidate anyone. It has been said that he got his due for legislating while being a hypocrite. I'm all in favour of holding lawmakers accountable to their own obnoxious laws. Good Idea. Let's hold him responsible for helping to federalise the law enforcement at airports, or helping to breakdown Habeas Corpus or the standard of Probable Cause. Let's hold him accountable to continuing the government's war against victimless crimes – crimes where victims don't press charges requesting the government to act as their agent for justice; but rather the government takes it upon itself to prosecute on behalf of uninjured, uninvolved parties. Let us hold him accountable for all these things – if he is responsible.
But in this case, is there any evidence that the Senator targeted homosexuals as a specific group by sponsoring or signing new laws specifically against them? Has he launched a malicious crusade against gays? Frankly I have been unaware of the career of the Senator from Idaho – other politicians have been much more in the lime light. Has he distinguished himself in comparison to other Republican Senators for targeting gays? I do know that Craig was targeted by gay activists who wanted to "out" him in revenge for supporting the Defense of Marriage act. Is this a case of targeting gays?
Frankly, the state and especially the federal government should withdraw completely from licensing marriage. Marriage licenses were introduced in the early nineteenth century to deal with a syphilis problem in urban areas. Penicillin rendered this point moot.
Marriage is a term defined by ones church and by custom. What individual churches do is between their priests or ministers and their members and God. It is against the first amendment for the federal government to dictate theology. Secular marriage customs go back to before recorded time, they differ from culture to culture, and their meanings can't be legislated away to appease some special interest group that doesn't like the definition of marriage as written in Webster's or the Book of Common Prayer. Even outspoken gays in years past like Plato or Oscar Wilde would not have deluded themselves into equating homosexuality with marriage. In fact they elevated homosexuality to a special, almost religious status of love, while equating marriage with ordinary normal biology.
While marriage ceremonies should be according to the creed and rites of ones particular church, other legal concerns in marriage such as legal relationships should come under contract law under terms drafted by the parties. Health insurance policies regarding same sex or opposite sex relationships should be dictated by the underwriter based on whether he considers them risk groups or not. Homosexuals, or anyone else, should be free to form mutually owned insurance corporations to pool their assets and expenses and provide healthcare without state interference. The same should apply to adoption.
What is also disturbing is the even more hypocritical, poltroonish behaviour of Sen. Craig's fellow Republicans. Their fear of being associated with him in any way has caused them to pile on this man. The cowardice and lack of honour on the part of elected officials is breathtaking. Supposedly these are members of his own party! I saw his two adult children interviewed on television. They clearly looked embarrassed, but they rallied around their father as a family should, and took his word over the specious, ambiguous accusations of the Minneapolis cop. They were disappointed and appalled that long time supposed friends in the Senate turned against him. His kids showed true class – and they kept any doubts or misgivings they had private.
But, there is a more troubling cultural aspect to this story. There is a flagrant collective push or trend to destroy all human dignity. When I hear the Craig tapes, I think that this is a total violation of this guy's dignity – lawmaker or not. This could be anyone. And what makes it worse is the spectacle. Imagine having everyone in America talk about your sitting on the toilette. But there is also this on-going trend of making ones sexuality a matter of public discussion. It is a kind of exhibitionism in this Oprah-fied, psycho-babbled culture. And it cultivates a sick interest in voyeurism that is rendered almost as normal behaviour. We are entertained by the degradation of other people. The extreme examples are the Jerry Springer type shows. This is a freak show culture; except that freak shows imply that there is a standard of normality. In our culture, freakish behaviour is normalized. It is as if the goal is to degrade man; that the real man, the true man, the ideal man – is the degraded man, man rendered ignoble and base. It is the notion of equality as defined by the lowest common denominator. And it is common indeed!
When Oscar Wilde was convicted of sodomy in Victorian England, homosexuality was a crime on paper only. It was rampant in the Pall Mall social clubs, and the colleges of Ox-Bridge especially amongst the aesthetics who were lampooned in Gilbert & Sullivan's operetta PATIENCE. Wilde himself was praised for literary works that all but openly talked about the "love that dare not speak its name". The establishment was loath to point the finger of buggery unless something else was involved. Wilde went to jail for being indiscreet about his relationship with the son of John Douglas, the 9th Marquess of Queensbury – the man who codified boxing rules. Lord Queensbury did not want Wilde cavorting with his son in a flagrant manner, openly in society. A feud developed between Wilde and Lord Queensbury which resulted in Wilde's suing Queensbury for slander. Queensbury's counter suit led to the arrest because it brought into the public eye something the British establishment wanted quiet. They wanted outwardly to manifest the bourgeois ideal. We live in a world much the opposite.
They say that hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. In ages past – before the 1960's – discretion was a key virtue. There was a belief that all of mankind were sinners of some kind, but that there was a basic social expectation that you behave in an upright manner in public, and at the same time assume the best in others unless experience proves otherwise. Is this a front? Yes. But putting up a front is basic to social interaction. We don't do whatever we please or say whatever we want in all situations. One doesn't talk the same way at a formal white-tie ball as one would in a duck blind or in the Racquet Club changing rooms. The presumption is that you assume formality until you get to know someone better.
The times in which we live are a total contravention to the above traditions of civility. And most other countries practice a more traditional, reserved form of civility. Look at the French. They have a looser code of sexual morality untouched by Puritanism but are more formal in their codes of civility and manners. They are not as familiar with strangers. They value privacy. In America, privacy is becoming almost meaningless.
The current trend amongst homosexual activists to "out" people is a war upon an individual's desire for quiet private dignity. It is sleazy (what used to be called "common") behaviour. It is mean and vindictive. It is anti-human. The current attack on Sen. Craig is also a cheap, anti-intellectual way to attack politicians.
As I said before, I don't know whether Sen. Craig is homosexual or not. There have been gay politicians in the past, and there will be more in the future. This isn't going away. Whether they choose to keep it private or go public as Rep Barney Frank D-Mass has done is their choice. Frankly, there is, as they say, "to much information" out there whether it is gay or straight. What Sen. Craig did in that men's room does not affect me. What he does as a legislator regarding the economy, government spending, the war in Iraq, government spying on U.S. citizens, meddlesome domestic regulations; does affect me. Politicians need to be attacked by what they do in public, not what they do in private – unless they are specifically arrested under their own bad law that they championed; and that remains to be seen in this case.
I wonder how many gay activists (most of whom are politically left) were outraged by Big Brother's current trend towards invading privacy? I'll bet they were! But how many of these activists of the left have applauded the government's intrusion into private associations with anti-discrimination laws? How many of these activists have applauded attempts to make public, behaviour that was meant to be private? If they are concerned about the government's invasion of privacy, they had better start by looking, not at the stars, but at themselves.
September 6, 2007