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Tilting at Windmills

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December 28, 2010

DADT DEAD-ENDERS LATCH ONTO 'SHOWER ISSUE'.... With Congress already having passed a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and President Obama gladly putting his signature on the repeal legislation, I'm not sure what more conservatives hope to accomplish.

There was a political fight, and they lost. None of the leading anti-gay Republicans, not even John McCain, has any intention of trying to bring the DADT policy back. The right had a good run -- DADT survived 17 years -- but as of last week, it's over.

At least, it should be. Some dead-enders are not only still fighting, they're latching onto one angle in particular.

Groups opposed to the open service of gay and lesbian members of the military will continue to fear-monger about gay and straight service members showering together to sexualize the open service issue, Jarrod Chlapowski of Servicemembers United told TPM in an interview.

"I see that as being a talking point to just raise fears and draw attention to their general opposition to the issue and that's not something that I think will go away anytime soon," Chlapowski said.

Again, even if this were a good argument -- it's not, but if it were -- the talking point seems entirely too late. The fight is over and the good guys won.

But then there's the problem with the argument itself. It's likely some conservative pollster found that the "shower issue" was the most effective in some focus groups -- one anti-gay crusader called it a "huge issue" the other day -- but it's still awfully weak. Indeed, it's easily dismissed with one obvious-but-overlooked observation: straight servicemen and women have already been showering with gay and lesbian colleagues. DADT didn't forbid gays from joining the military; it forbid them from acknowledging their sexual orientation.

Gay troops have been showering alongside straight troops for quite a while. The same is true of professional athletes, students at dorms with communal showers, and gyms across the country.

It's a non-issue, and a pointless conservative effort.

Steve Benen 3:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Comments

I think in the interest of bi-partisanship, Harry Reid needs to appoint a sub-committee to look into this with the esteemed Sen. Larry Craig at the helm.

Posted by: mike reilly on December 28, 2010 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

How long before some murderer tries using the 'shower' defense?

Posted by: Michael7843853 on December 28, 2010 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

As for the discomfort some may feel about showering with a gay guy, isn't there another obvious issue here? How much discomfort do people feel when they are getting shot at? I'd suspect a lot more. If we are worried the feelings of our soldiers, maybe sending them into battle isn't the best idea.

Posted by: fostert on December 28, 2010 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, straight people need to get over themselves, even those in the military. Outside of the Hollywood crowd, I haven't seen all that many that are worth a second look, let alone cruising in the shower or sauna.

There used to be a gay group who did a song called "Give Me A Homosexual" that expounded on the differences between seducing a straight person with no experience and a gay person who knew what they were doing. Maybe it should be part of their training. :)

Posted by: Michael W on December 28, 2010 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that most of these "dead-enders" are also gay and lesbian. It seems that the one's on the right who make public with the most indignant comments about these social issues are either closeted (mostly congressmen and senators, and holier-than-thou evangelists), have been married several times (Rushole, Gingrich,etc.) are fairly stupid intellectually (Riely, Hannity, PALINaroundwithterrorists, etc.) period. Come to think of it have you ever seen Hannity with a date? Just saying'...

I bet someone in the blogisphere could do a list and post it. I bet.

Posted by: stevio on December 28, 2010 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

When ambushed by a Fucks Emus "reporter" suggesting the military should now, as DADT has been repealed, install separate showers for "gays" and "straights", Congressman Barney Frank asks:

"Do you think that gyms should have separate showers for gay and straight people? You seem to think that there’s something extraordinary about gay men showering. Do you think gyms should have separate showers for gay people and straight people?" Watch

"[T]hinks that there’s something extraordinary about gay men showering..." indeed.

Posted by: Ten Bears on December 28, 2010 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

The French would have an apt word for these people: douche.

Posted by: navamske on December 28, 2010 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

There's no other way to say it, the Republican Party's base is creepy in just about every way you can imagine. This creepy shower fixation is just another way to leverage support with the creeps who make up their creepy base.

I would not be surprised at all for some right wing jerk in uniform to fabricate some shower horror story and take it to talk radio and Fox News. In fact, that may turn into an actual plan of attack: relentlessly accuse gay servicemen of some imagined sexual indiscretion.

Posted by: SaintZak on December 28, 2010 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

how about cutting it back to one big shower? just think of the money the DOD could save on plumbing.

Posted by: mellowjohn on December 28, 2010 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone else remember the dreaded "unisex bathrooms" of during the ERA debate?

Phyllis Schlafly rode that single issue to national prominence.

Posted by: arkie on December 28, 2010 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

A central tenant of being a Republican is that you have to over play the macho card as a way of compensating for other inadequacies.

That's why closeted gays like Bush, Cheney, and McCain are always trying to act like the reincarnation of John Wayne. Not the pseudo-tough talk, with chin jutting, and what they think is a steely-eyed glare finished of with a ridiculous faked cowboy strut.

Take a look at the behavior of Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Ken Melman, and the guy who took a rent boy on vacation.

Then take a look at Mitch McConnel, John Boehner, Lindsey Graham, and John McLame

Posted by: Winkandanod on December 28, 2010 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

You would think they would be more concerned about the Halliburton shocker showers..but noooooo.

Posted by: Kill Bill on December 28, 2010 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Stevio's right. More republican projection. All them sweaty mens! But I imagine that most gays in the military won't declare themselves to be gay.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on December 28, 2010 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

There's another topic that is waiting for the right to throw on the fire: AIDS.

C-SPAN had a discussion last week on the morning call-in show. Blood transfusions are a more likely threat than shower groping.

Posted by: DAY on December 28, 2010 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think these people ever spend time in gym, as a guy that works out a lot I tell you nakedness does not breed attraction. Most guys are at their least attractive just after working out and other heavy exercise and one is too tired to do anything about it.

Most people over rate their attractiveness to gay members of the same sex and base their overhyped opposition to communal showers based on that.

Feel free to quote me.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on December 28, 2010 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Servicemembers"?? Paging Dr. Freud . . .

Posted by: Will Divide on December 28, 2010 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Some right-wing "journalist"-slash-prankster cornered Barney Frank last week with this latest winger "concern."

Barney turned him into mincemeat with just a few well-chosen words.

He made the same point, that gays and straights are showering together all the time even now. The horrors!!

Posted by: Gummo on December 28, 2010 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the Obvious

If you're uncomfortable showering around openly gay men, then the number of homosexuals in the shower area just went up by one.

Posted by: Rochester on December 28, 2010 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK
A central tenant of being a Republican is that you have to over play the macho card as a way of compensating for other inadequacies. . . . Take a look at the behavior of Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Ken Melman, and the guy who took a rent boy on vacation.

I'm guessing the rent boy was not the tenant.

Posted by: navamske on December 28, 2010 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

This is part of the 'perception is reality' meme...as long as we don't perceive them as being gay (when DADT was in effect), they don't exist, right?

Posted by: JWK on December 28, 2010 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Buh...buh...but if the straight guys KNOW that they're showering with a gay guy, then they'll feel all, you know, icky!

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on December 28, 2010 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Just give every soldier soap on a rope.

Posted by: Kill Bill on December 28, 2010 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Most people over rate their attractiveness to gay members of the same sex and base their overhyped opposition to communal showers based on that.

Feel free to quote me."
***

There's a post around somewhere in which the poster quoted a bumper sticker: 'Just because I'm gay doesn't mean you are hot!'

Alas, Barney Frank didn't quote that in his interview.

Posted by: Seould on December 28, 2010 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is driven by two basic fears:

1) closet cases fear teh gays will shower with them and find them attractive.

2) closet cases fear teh gays will shower with them and wont find them attractive.

Posted by: Eeyore on December 28, 2010 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think Eeyore won that one. :O

Posted by: Michael W on December 28, 2010 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Arkie beat me to it, but I don't think so much has changed since Schlafly used the unisex bathroom argument to take down the ERA. All these people need is one little catch phrase to sink their teeth into ("death panels" anyone) and they will dedicate their lives to destroying whatever it is they are afraid of.

I say time to start a Shower Watch List of all the times the loons bring it up.

Posted by: martin on December 28, 2010 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Arkie & Martin have a point - unisex bathrooms, death panels, death tax, partial birth abortion are all catch pharase deployed by the right to smash liberal causes. I suggest that we not take this lightly.

Barney Frank destroyed that bogus reporter a few days ago but most of the people I know are not as lingusitically nimble as Barney Frank.

Attack those public officials and commentators who raise this as an issue. These people are engaging in warfare against Americans who are serving honrably in the military. They are questioning the very honor and dignity of men and women in harms way over showers. They should be ashamed.

Bob O'Reilly (not related to Bill)

Posted by: Bob O'Reilly on December 28, 2010 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

There seems to be the unstated conclusion among the homophobes that in the absence of DADT hordes of gay men in the military will out themselves, and start leering, and salivating at the sight of their straight colleagues in the buff.

First of all, it is doubtful that most gay men and women will make a point of announcing their sexuality. It's straight men who brag about their testosterone driven pursuit of the opposite sex. Gay men may talk among themselves, in private, but I hardly think there will be open barracks talk by a gay guy about who he's most attracted to, assuming he's attracted to anyone, in his squad or company.

Second, gang showers have always provided an opportunity to check out the other guys, and straight guys do it all the time. They just don't admit it. Penis size seems to be the biggest issue as porn has instructed a whole generation of men that being hung like a horse is normal. Gang showers don't often reveal much about genital size, but there seem to be a lot of fantasizing going on among the homosexual homophobes.

Third, I happen to know a number of gay men who are so pee-shy they can't use a urinal in a public restroom if anyone else is present. They have to use a toilet stall, without the Larry Craig 'wide stance's, for privacy. The same is true for many straight men. Such privacy is not always available in the military, and one wonders if the military will now remove all urinals and replace them with privacy stalls to accommodate the more insecure among the troops.

Posted by: rrk1 on December 28, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

I think we are too defensive about the old stereotype that gay men are more sexualized than straight men. Why can't we just say, "so what?" If a straight man can't handle the possibility of some dude checking out his pee-pee in the shower, he certainly doesn't have the strength to defend his country.

Posted by: bobbo on December 28, 2010 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Reminds me of a quip by some feminist wit, that what heterosexual men really fear is that homosexual men will view them the way they view women - i.e., as a sex object rather than a person.

I think the guys most worried about this are the ones who treat women in a way that they, themselves, would not want to be treated. I.O.W., they're projecting.

Posted by: KarenJG on December 28, 2010 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

I was in the US Navy for 10 years, so presumably I took more or less 3650 showers (maybe a few less because the ship was sometimes on water hours which meant we were running low on fresh water and nobody got to shower until the fresh water tanks were full again). Somehow during all those showers I was never much tempted to ogle, much less proposition or attack any of my straight shipmates - no matter how attractive.

But maybe it wasn't really all that difficult. When I stepped into a shower, somewhere between 90% to 99% (depending on whose numbers you believe) of the people potentially showering with me were heterosexual - usually loudly, aggressively and outspokenly so. Somehow under these circumstances I never had much difficulty keeping my inclinations under control. Besides, nearby every base I was ever stationed at, there were any number of gay bars, dance clubs, etc. - usually well frequented by other service members - where I could find a date were I so inclined

Actually, I think all these guys who loudly complain that if gays are allowed to shower with straights then they should be allowed to shower with women should be allowed to try it. But lets make the comparison a little more realistic. I think they should be allowed (even encouraged?) to try sharing a shower with several dozen loudly, aggressively, outspoken lesbians preferably larger, heavier and uglier than they are (well scratch that last, I wouldn't wish that on anyone), anyone of whom would rip their head (either one) off if they even so much as glanced at them wrong.

So was that it? I kept my eyes to myself because I was too scared to look elsewhere? Not really. Am I really all that different from most other people when I say that somehow I've never been able to sustain much sexual interest in anyone (of any sex) that does not show at least a glimmer of sexual interest in me?

Posted by: jbowler on December 28, 2010 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

@jbowler: A retired navy man that I work with brought up the "then why not let the men shower with the women" argument with me the other day. I asked him "So, you'd have been willing to give up the macho male posturing bullshit in order to be shot down by a female navy buddy who said to you...hahahahahahaha"?

End of discussion.

Posted by: PJ on December 28, 2010 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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