Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Prejudice, the 82nd Airborne and Brokeback Mountain

Let's talk about homosexuality for a moment.

First, let's consider the Christian perspective. That's the excuse that a lot of people choose to structure their personal dislike of homosexuals around. "It's in the Bible! God hates fags!" Of course, there are a number of answers to that. The easiest is to find out if they ever eat pork or shellfish, or mix two different fabrics together. Those are also banned by the Bible, but very few people pay attention to those issues.

Secondly, let me give you two other Bible quotes. Matthew 7:1-3. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

That's the King James version. I may not be especially religious, but I've always preferred the poetry of that language.

Here's an even better verse, though. Mark 12:29-31. “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Seems pretty plain to me. (Even if King James thought "there is none other commandment" was proper sentence structure...) Like I said, I'm not all that religious. But if you're going to claim to be a Christian, shouldn't you pull the rules for your life from the New Testament instead of the old one? Otherwise, you should just convert to Judaism.

But the military has fallen fully in line with the bad Christians who make up the "Religious Right," and the ban on gays in the military is fully in effect. I actually had a briefing from the Legal Office a few years before I retired (shortly after Dubya was elected), where the military lawyer tried to explain that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" was not official military policy. But, you don't ask somebody what his sexual preference was, and if they don't tell you that they're gay, then you don't go after them to find out if they're gay.

I'm serious. He was doing his best Scotty McClellan, trying to tell us that, although "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" was not policy, you still weren't allowed to ask or pursue, and the homosexuals who didn't tell would be just fine. Honest.

And what has this led to? What we have, just under a month ago, is seven members of the 82nd Airborne, one of the Army’s most elite units (no, really, “most elite” makes sense. It does. It just seems redundant because you don’t think like the military does. See, they took the phrase “elite unit,” and instead of it being descriptive – “elite” – of the group of people – “unit” – they drained all of the meaning out of it, so that “elite unit” is now a philosophical construction, and the best of the people in that group… oh, never mind. Just trust me, they understand it)…

Where was I again?

Oh, right. Anyway, what we have is seven members of the 82nd Airborne, a group of Special Forces paratroopers (I really want to go off on a tangent about “special education,” but I’m too easily distracted anyway) are getting kicked out of the military for making videos that were simultaneously both pornographic and homosexual.

Now, let’s be real for a second. If these guys can still fight and kill, what excuse is there for kicking them out of the Special Forces? After all, they proved that they can work as a team, right? But the military has this stupid prejudice against homosexuality, which probably stems from the fact that they’re pretty heavily repressed themselves.

I mean, look at them. Big leather boots, polished like mirrors... crisp, starched uniforms... berets perched on their closely-shaven skulls... working out all the time, so they’re obviously fixated on the male physique... Come on! It’s like they’re auditioning for the Village People twenty-four hours a day.

And because of this extreme self-loathing, the military has to kick out anyone who brings out a PING on their gaydar. Even if it means that they have to kick out every Arabic translator right before they invade an Arabic-speaking country, they aren’t going to let things like logic get in the way of their prejudice.

(In case you’re curious, they get around this little problem through the all-American habit of “out-sourcing.” When I was in Iraq, all of the translators I met, outside of a few locals hired as secretaries and the like, were contractors, hired at ten or twenty times the price of keeping the military translator and ignoring his sexual orientation. Makes sense, doesn’t it?)

But despite this hatred of all things gay, somewhere out there is a requisition form that might just include the line “Videotape, homosexual, one each.” Because… well, we’ll just let the news article speak for itself.

Military interrogators posing as FBI agents at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, wrapped terrorism suspects in an Israeli flag and forced them to watch homosexual pornography under strobe lights during interrogation sessions that lasted as long as 18 hours, according to one of a batch of FBI memos released Thursday.
That’s right. They set up an S&M disco in Guantanamo. And think about it for a minute. Somebody had to actually audition the videos. Somewhere out there, some colonel had a big stack of movies, probably smoking a big cigar (because, after all, sometimes a cigar isn’t just a cigar…), saying things like “Nope. Not gay enough. Next!”

And he had to watch them all the way through, right? You’ve got to make sure that it’s gay from top to bottom (so to speak). You can’t let any straight sex scenes sneak in, can you? Wouldn’t that ruin the effect of the movie?

And those prejudices can pop up in a number of places. Here's a question for you. It almost seems like it isn't related, but if you think about it for a while, maybe you'll see that it is. Because Hollywood has taken a number of hits lately from the right wing about how liberal they are. So did they cave in to pressure?

If a man is given the Best Director award, wouldn't you think that the only movie that he directed that year, a product of his vision and a tribute to his directing talents, would be the best film that year? Especially if the script is the "Best Adapted Screenplay?" (Not to mention that it had the "Best Original Score"...) Doesn't that seem to follow? So, we have Ang Lee, the Best Director, using the Best Screenplay (that was taken from another source), and setting it against the Best Original Music out there. But despite that, his film Brokeback Mountain was not the Best Picture?

It's just a thought.

1 comment:

imafrkshow said...

82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers are NOT SPECIAL FORCES. Special Forces is a whole different orginization - also part of the Army but are ELITE in what they do. Paratroopers from the 82nd are also elite in what we do but we are the bottom step of the Elite Ladder. i am a paratrooper in the 82nd ABN DIV but i have not earned the right to be called Special Forces.