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December 27, 2010

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A good post that, on its own, could use some spelling out of the differences between rape and rape culture. The link provided describing rape culture is very helpful.

This comment ties in with something I've seen from at least one doubting officer: that the type of person (usually male) who can be trained to kill, will not take well to homosexuals being around. Note that we are talking, in practice, about a fairly small fraction of the military (but largest in the Marines): most people do not serve in combat, especially at the level of directly shooting at other people. The WWII experience with a large conscript army showed that many of the infantry could never bring themselves to fire.

I have no idea how sound this thinking is, but it seems to me to be a separate line of argument from the "small-unit cohesion" one.

Still does not answer the question why it is allegedly worse that now gays can be known while before they were anonymous. The alternatives should be either no gays or open gays. Would not from that point of view the suspicion that a unit member is gay without knowing for sure be much more undermining the cohesion? Would the same guys that would not tolerate gays in their unit 'allow' 100% gay units (I assume not just with the hidden intent to use them as cannonfodder like they did with blacks)?
I also thought that any sexual relationships 'inside' were banned anyway (hetero as well as homo).
It's interesting how different countries handle the topic of sex of deployed troops. In Bosnia the French had official supervised brothels, the Germans had a 'don't get caught' policy*, while US troops were run by puritans.

*no formal ban but brothel stories were considered embarassing by the political leadership ('what if a married man is caught in one?')

This post may be guilty of over-analysis, perhaps by several orders of magnitude. Military people are, for the most party conservative, conservative socially and in responding to change. Sure, there are the adrenalin-charged, psychotic outliers, which is unavoidable, but the balance constituting the huge majority simply are ignorant and fearful of a new dynamic within their units, a dynamic they don't understand and aren't really interested in understanding.

In civilian life, most heterosexuals do not encounter overtly homosexual behavior, largely because they live, work and play in heterosexual environments. Most heterosexuals are disinterested in experiencing, seeing, hearing about or discussing homosexual intimacy (though many straight men seem fine with lesbian activity). A concern some, perhaps many military people have, is the fear of having to deal with homosexual intimacy up close and personal. Whether this fear materializes or is laid to rest by the passage of time remains to be seen.

I think the "rape culture" is, itself, at least partly a function of the CO as well. Even in a combat unit, if the CO is having none of it, the unit will function just fine without it. But if the CO thinks that the attitude Dr. S (and avedis) describe is OK, the unit will also function fine...as long as it doesn't have to deal with a) women or b) [known] homosexuals inside the unit.

Which, it occurs to me, suggests that the Marine Corps may have a bigger problem dealing with integrating openly homosexual troops than the other services precisely because their Commandant has a problem with the idea. But fortunately (again assuming that the CO is critical) that is a problem which can be addressed by a new, and more accepting, CO. No doubt that will, at least initially, be denounced as "requiring political correctness" -- but then, any action which runs counter to someone's personal beliefs is open to that charge.

This is a very interesting post. I would like to point out that, IMO, the comparison to integrating blacks is a closer comparison than to integrating women.

Women were, and in many ways still are, integrated over a long period of time and were initially support and rear echelon positions AND, more importantly, were segregated in the living spaces.

The integration of women in forward positions is in, IMO, some ways less problematic because they are still segregated in any place where it is feasible.

The "18-24" hormonal culture was, and is, a challenge for non fraternization policies in the military, and gays will be living in the same barracks and tents. So, for those who are uncomfortable with gay intimacy, it will be a bigger problem than integrating women.

Rambling a little, but my point is that it isn't directly comparable to some of those things it is being compared to.


In civilian life, most heterosexuals do not encounter overtly homosexual behavior, largely because they live, work and play in heterosexual environments. Most heterosexuals are disinterested in experiencing, seeing, hearing about or discussing homosexual intimacy

I think there are a few words here that need some unpacking.

It's likely true that "most" heterosexuals don't have a lot of exposure to "overtly" homosexual behavior because their exposure to overtly sexual behavior of any kind is gonna be kind of self-selected to hetero. Because they are hetero.

But my guess is that "most" heterosexual people have a lot of contact with homosexual people. They just aren't doing so in a sexual context. Just like they don't have contact with most of the hetero people they know in a sexual context.

If gays in the military immediately begin hooking up right and left in barracks, we'll have a problem. Most likely, they will not do that, because that would in fact create a problem for their unit and their mission. If some do, they will probably have a very short military career.

Just like straight people, gays are fully capable of distinguishing between the private and public spheres. Just like straight people, they are fully capable of establishing and respecting reasonable social boundaries and etiquette between themselves and other people. Just like straight people, gays are able to restrain themselves from behaving sexually toward other people when that is neither wanted nor appropriate.

If folks are not interested in experiencing or being exposed to the details of homosexual intimacy, all they need do is mind their own business.

Most heterosexuals are disinterested in experiencing, seeing, hearing about or discussing homosexual intimacy

And you were elected to speak for them, were you?

I have little to contribute to this discussion, except to mention that the recruiter described in Anthony Swofford's book "Jarhead" seemed like an illustration of Dr. Science's thesis, though maybe a "prostitution culture" would be more accurate than a "rape culture" if you go by that book. As I recall the recruiter put a lot of emphasis on the abundance of overseas postitutes as one of the big selling points -- which turned out not to apply in Kuwait. Here's a link to the most "helpful" critical review of the book at Amazon--the critic thinks Anthony is a liar on some points, but seems to agree with Swofford's description of the raunchiness of Marine culture. In particular, he says he can count on one hand the number of Marines he knew who stayed faithful to their wives when they went to Okinawa.

link

Of course this was 20 years ago.

And here is a link to the military prostitution issue --

military prostitution and the US military in Asia

Though come to think of it, the line between prostitution and rape is very blurry and often non-existent. What the article I linked to above describes was essentially a system of sexual slavery which was tacitly supported by the US, but that is beginning to change.

Dr Science, Thank you for organizing my argument for me. I think you did a very good job.

One quibble; I wouldn't want anyone to get the idea that the Marines condone rape. They don't.

I will point out an interesting and possible germane aside. Many women in the military are, as my Navy daughter was shocked to realize "a bunch of sluts" (her words). Some women in the armed forces actually take advantage of the mens' pent up libido and prostitute themselves for extra cash.

In our previous discussion re; repeal of DADT some commentors were tossing out various articles in the UCMJ like it is going to have an impact on post repeal sexual behavior. All of the relevant articles are violated with consequence every day.

Sorry to go off course. Just wanted to slide that in.

At the risk of engaging in difficult to verify stereotypes--I'd say that the Marines are the most publicly resistant branch because they are the ones with the largest percentage of homosexuals. And this directly ties in with Doctor Science's hypothesis. The Marines I know who are gay all have stories about getting into the Marines about proving, either to themselves or to others, that they were *real men*.

I would be resistant to call the Marine culture a rape culture in general, but I would say that certain permutations of it do revolve around such ideas and that the culture can be permissive of those permutations.

That may sound like a distinction without a difference, but I think it is crucial. Contra avendis, the Marine culture is surprisingly non-interested in women one way or another. If I were to attribute cultural focusing concepts to the Marines, they would include manliness proven through toughness, endurance, and a resistance to physical pain. Being able to get a woman is assumed, not highlighted, in the core culture. The Marines are really very homo-social, in the sense that they are a hyper-male culture which not much interested in women, rather than a rape culture, which is *very* interested in women and their place. The kind of rape culture you describe can easily fit into the core Marine culture, because the input of women's viewpoints is so rarely sought or seen.

Essentially I think that military culture is more focused on homo-social aspects of what it is to be a man than on woman-oriented subjects (like getting a woman). I'll admit that many feminist scholars suggest that such a thing is impossible--that a male homo-social culture must by definition be centered around opposition to the female. On some levels of abstraction that may be true, but in general I think it isn't (for various reasons which would be well off topic at this point).

But because I don't accept that frame of reference, it is easier for me to believe that something which challenges the getting chicks side of manliness which avendis seems to be worried about, isn't actually a challenge to the overall core values and core structures of how the military makes things work. Also, it has been tried before in other military structures with good success.

Just wanted to slide that in.

Dude, yellow light.

"Dude, yellow light."

LOL

also, I meant to say "...violated without consequence..."

Needless to say, I disagree with with Sebastian. He is way over-emphasizing a certain jar headed subset of the corps.

I agree with avedis in so far as IMO the racial integration of the military has been a lot more successful than the gender integration of the military and if the DADT repeal is successful enough I think we might finally have successful gender integration because the culture will have changed enough.

I would consider successful gender integration to be when I someone like me ten years ago would not have made the decision not to go to West Point based on an entirely reasonable fear of rape and sexual assault that had nothing to do with the "other side". (There were other reasons I might not have ended up going - but that one stopped consideration of the others.) And when women are in the combat forces.

I think it's one of those interesting and peculiar things about gender discrimination/oppression. Because almost all men love at least some women the oppression of women as a group is never as bad as certain other groups (i.e. the worst case scenarios - genocide etc.) - there are always options for a happy life as a woman (if you are lucky enough) in any society that is functional - but perhaps because of this it can be a lot harder to change than other discrimination.

I'm extremely happy about the repeal of DADT and hopeful for what it will mean for homosexual military members, hopeful for what it will do to the military culture and hopeful for what it will do for women in the military.

Anyone with any knowledge of history and other cultures has to concede that there are a variety of military cultures that can produce an effective military. I don't think it's too much to hope that ours can do without a rape culture that is so corrosive to 50% of our population.

avedis is, as we used to say in the military -- too stupid to pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel. He sounds like a complete tool whose understanding of the military comes from bad movies, TV shows, and a few people who feel that caricature fits their political agenda.

But it sure as hell isn't the military I was in. Sure, there were a few tools there. But most every straight guy I knew was looking for the right girl or married. There were very few "players" and only a couple numb-nuts (out of 40-or-so) that would even 'kid' that way...

MosesZD, Yawn.....what outfit were you in? The onward christian soldiers brigade?

From the link provided by Donald Johnson (upthread);

[a former Marine writes in regards to Swothords "Jarhead"]Wow, surprised at all the emotion here. I didn't think this many people read books like this.

Couple of bullet points after reading the book and the reviews.

1. Swofford really downplays the honor of being a marine sniper. I was a line company machinegunner in 2/5 and all of the snipers I knew were a cut above. Not only that but if someone was deemed immature they would be dropped back to their line company platoon, no matter how well they did in sniper school.

2. I agree that the book is rife with innacuracies, exaggerations and downright lies. Then again, it is a memoir, not a history book.

3. The story about the guy watching a videotape from home that shows his wife having sex with another guy is the biggest urban legend in the Corps. Second-place going to the oft-repeated Mr. Rogers was a sniper story.

4. I am not wanting to sound like a tough guy but I don't know once person who pissed their pants in combat or talked about being afraid. By the time you've gone through boot camp, SOI a work-up for deployment and a trip to Oki, you're going to be ready to eat nails, if for no other reason than that all of the hard and miserable training has made you mean.

Pissing your pants in boot camp is very common because of all the forced hydration and few chances to use the bathroom.

5. His whining is actually pretty common, especially in the grunts. I know I'm guilty of it. What is uncommon is his lack of sense of humor. The funniest people I met were in the Marines. if you don't have a sense of humor, you won't be able to laugh off all of the bad things that happen to you.

6. Raunchy tales of whoring and drinking are 100% accurate.

7. His story about pulling a rifle on another Marine is probably false. Marines like to screw around and bend the rules but he went way past the line. No one I knew would have put up with that and not reported it.

8. His lack of aggressiveness is pretty shocking. When he talks about his buddies moaning that they are going to die before any mission is hard to beleive. The Marines I fought beside were all raring to go. If you've spent three years training to do something, you want to do it no matter how dangerous it was.

9. The infidelity of Marine wives and girlfriends is sadly true. then again, I can count on one hand the guys I knew who stayed faithful when we went to Oki.

10. The love/hate of the Marine Corps is a very tense subject for all Marines. When he talked about being embarrassed by other Marines while out in town, I was right there with him. I avoided Marines like the plague whenever I was on libbo. I started counting the days until I got out when I still had a year left, but I am more proud of being a Marine than anything else. It's a very strange life, being a Marine."

Yep. That about covers it.

Military people are, for the most party conservative

I'm not sure I'd take that as a given, but: so what if they were? It's not as if repealing DADT makes for mandatory gay-porn video night in the barracks.

If you're threatened by the presence of a gay person in your unit (so to speak), maybe you need to get out more, and maybe consider that having a gay person fighting alongside of you doesn't mean the gay rubs off on you. Because I'm pretty sure that it doesn't.

Here's another link. I recommend that it be read to flesh out some of what I - and now Dr S - am saying. It is a reply to a USMC Captain that didn't like Swofford's depiction of the Corps, by a man who served with Swofford.

"Behind the facade erected to present a professional face, 95% of us were distorted, in terms of civilian or proper mores. To put it more bluntly, one of the common cadences went "We're gonna rape/ kill/ pillage and burn - We're gonna rape/ kill/ pillage and burn - and eat the babies!"

"...the likelihood of a gay person surviving in that environment would be slim indeed..."
http://www.grose.us/gulfdir/jhemail1.htm

I'm not sure I'd take that as a given, but: so what if they were? It's not as if repealing DADT makes for mandatory gay-porn video night in the barracks.

If you're threatened by the presence of a gay person in your unit (so to speak), maybe you need to get out more, and maybe consider that having a gay person fighting alongside of you doesn't mean the gay rubs off on you. Because I'm pretty sure that it doesn't.

First, "party" should have been "part". Otherwise, I stand by my statement. The issue isn't fighting side by side, and it isn't living in close proximity, although there are surely those who find that troubling. As you say, so what? Get over it. My comment expressly goes more to overtly sexual behavior, which can be and often does fall far short of outright sex--hand holding, snuggling, other forms of publicly acceptable or tolerated forms of affection. In civilian life, most of this is, by self-selection, confined to gay or straight environments, and so whatever reaction that might arise is forestalled. To reiterate my point, which was in response to Dr. S' over-done and largely fictional thesis on rape culture, is that the issue is more likely apprehensiveness about being personally confronted with same sex intimacy.

McKinneyTexas, you know, while I did thank Dr S for organizing my thoughts and presenting them well, I am with you on the term "rape culture" being over the top. I think normal heterosexual relationships involve a pursuit by the male and a certain prey characteristic on the part of the female. It all works out because, ultimately, the female can reject the male,It is this way with all animals and it is part of the normal healthy mating game played by socialized humans. I think that the author of the linked article is a little radical and a little bitter - just look at her - because she is not asble to play that game. She wants to be appreciate for her intellect, alone, or something. Good luck with that.

I think that the author of the linked article is a little radical and a little bitter - just look at her - because she is not asble to play that game.

You're a real schmuck, you know that? Until you're willing to slap your and your wife's pictures up, Beau Brummel, keep this shit to yourself.

BTW, stuff like, "That ugly b*tch is just bitter because she can't get a man" is part and parcel of rape culture. Way to score an own-goal.

It all works out because, ultimately, the female can reject the male

If that were true, we wouldn't have a word for "rape," would we?

I think that the author of the linked article is a little radical and a little bitter - just look at her - because she is not asble to play that game.

"Just look at her"? Wow. Am I reading you correctly? That remark's as offensive as the right-wingers' insistence that all homosexuals only want to ravish our poor heterosexual soldier boys.

Itals gone?

As for the assertion that Seb is exaggerating the whole gays in the Corps thing, I gotta say that every Marine I've talked to about it says that they knew gay Marines and didn't care.

Second, and unrelated point -- the single biggest source of opposition to the repeal of DADT and the faction most beholden to 'unit cohesion' ploy from what I have been able to gather is the Evangelical Christian types in the officer corps who see the units under their command as their God-appointed mission. Openly gay servicemen and servicewomen can't ever be Christian soldiers in their eyes. They have chosen a 'lifestyle' over 'proper service'.

I guess in this framework the whole 'rape culture' thing (which need not, after all, be a literal rape so much as a dominance display) finds its analogue in 'conversion'. The figure of the unconverted sinner is every bit as much of an objectification of the individual as the typical sexual target.

"I guess in this framework the whole 'rape culture' thing (which need not, after all, be a literal rape so much as a dominance display) finds its analogue in 'conversion'."

Everyone in politics is trying to convert someone to something. Yep, libs as much as anyone.

So is Obama "raping" the armed forces with this repeal? Is he "raping" General Amos who expressed his lack of entheusiasm for the repeal?

By your definition I think he is.

you guys are too much.

"It all works out because, ultimately, the female can reject the male

If that were true, we wouldn't have a word for "rape," would we?"

Phil, on earth rape occurs when someone, usually a man, decides he isn't going to play by the rules anymore and will just forceably take what he wants (sex) even if the (usually) female doesn't want it. It is a crime. Earthlings have constructed elaborate - and occassionally functional - systems of justice to which those who choose to violate the game are remanded, to be tried and, if found guilty, sentenced to punishment.

I sense an objection to the whole natural earthly game on your part. Doesn't surprise me.

At this point, I don't really care what you think, other than you seem to me to be representative of a mindset from another world and, as such, of scientific value. Your perspectives should be recorded.

So, with that in mind, how, exactly, are males and females....oooops sorry to discriminate......carbon based life forms.... in your world....supposed to hook up? How does that happen where you come from? Is there a mating game? a little dance, if you will? is marriage pre-arranged? do they just recognize their mates at first sight? Do they have one life long mate? more than one? or is there something akin to a spawning season?Thanks

Forget the "just look at her" comment. I lost it at the whole my daughter says many women in the military are there for the sex and are prostituting themselves.

I don't know if it is for real or a bad joke but either way the act is a sad one.

At this point, I don't really care what you think

That makes it quite easy for the rest of us to figure out exactly how much of our time we want to invest in a conversation with you.

Enjoy your fifteen minutes of ObWi notoriety.

RogueDem, It is sad and it's the truth. It's been going on since women began serving, but it got a lot worse starting in the mid '80s.

I never completely joke. And I'm not joking at all about this because it is so disturbing to me.

Like I keep saying, you guys don't know anything about military life. But you sure want to make decisions that impact it.

All you hear is the sanitized stories; from both the left and right.

I provided a link upthread that meshes with I saw and experienced. Somone else provided another one. Did you read them?

If all you have available for gathering information is google, then use it. Google the topics I bring up. Don't just read the first hit on a topic, read a bunch of them.

Then come back and let me know if you still think I'm a troll.

I'm telling you the truth and I'm sorry it's fouling your atmoshere. I thought you guys were into expanding your understanding.




"My comment expressly goes more to overtly sexual behavior, which can be and often does fall far short of outright sex--hand holding, snuggling, other forms of publicly acceptable or tolerated forms of affection. In civilian life, most of this is, by self-selection, confined to gay or straight environments, and so whatever reaction that might arise is forestalled. "

The fraternization rules certainly aren't being repealed. There won't be much of that kind of stuff to react to in the barracks or wherever.

re; fraternization, "There won't be much of that kind of stuff to react to in the barracks or wherever"

Really?

http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/10/12/171046.shtml

and when the gays are overseas under the same conditions?

</i>

avedis - the CMR that was cited in that story is a partisan organization with a conservative social agenda and I didn't see anything in there that I would trust much. The article was all money quotes and no real meat. It fits with the websites overall bias.

Newsmax would not be my high on my list of places to go for reputable cites, but knock yourself out.

So, that's how it is.

I don't need newsmax or any other media outlet because I know from first hand experience.

Sorry, I don't get the weekly liberal briefing. I don't know what sources are lib approved.

But the truth is you guys will just refuse to look into the issue because it's inconvenient to your cause or, if you pretend to, will only select those reports that confirm your bias.

Aren't these the behaviors you're griping that conservatives employ?

Like I've been saying, liberals or conservatives, left/right; same snot from different nostrils.

"I don't need newsmax or any other media outlet because I know from first hand experience."

No, because we're aware that fraternization gets punished, is frowned on, and ends up not being a huge deal because it is tightly control. Nothing you said suggests that will be different for gay people. Your cites only prove what you think in your own mind.

[...] I suspect that keeping combat troops sexually frustrated is one of the ways traditional military machismo helps keep them obedient.
This is quite a claim to make without supporting it. Some cites?

McKinneyTexas:

In civilian life, most heterosexuals do not encounter overtly homosexual behavior, largely because they live, work and play in heterosexual environments.
This is quite a claim to make without supporting it. Some cites?

Most heterosexuals are disinterested in experiencing, seeing, hearing about or discussing homosexual intimacy (though many straight men seem fine with lesbian activity).
Cite? Or should we just take your word for it?

Marty:

[...] I would like to point out that, IMO, the comparison to integrating blacks is a closer comparison than to integrating women.
Marty, I can provide a cite to what a thousand random people's opinion is. Or ten random people. Would you find that persuasive or interesting?

If so, why? If not, is there something unique about your unsupported opinion? If not, and you're not expecting anyone to find unsupported opinions persuasive or interesting, what is your expectation of how people should respond to cites to someone else's imagination?

Phil:

You're a real schmuck, you know that?
You're coloring outside the lines there, Phil. Please don't. Thanks.

Phil:

Itals gone?
Ask Doctor Science, Eric Martin, or Slart, or anyone else with the password. I'd love to help. Really, I would.

But I can't. I'd advise writing the kitty, but I have reason to believe that would be no more useful. But maybe someone will suddenly start answering. The future is unknown.

It's a problem that shouldn't exist, and could easily be fixed if those who could fix it desired to.

MosesZD:

avedis is, as we used to say in the military -- too stupid to pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel. He sounds like a complete tool whose understanding of the military comes from bad movies, TV shows, and a few people who feel that caricature fits their political agenda.

avedis:

[...] MosesZD, Yawn.....what outfit were you in? The onward christian soldiers brigade?

For the benefit of everyone reading this or any thread on Obsidian Wings: the Posting Rules:

Be reasonably civil.

No profanity. For the record, 'hell', 'damn' and 'pissed' are not considered 'profanity' for the purposes of this rule; also for the record, the more offensive racial slurs and epithets will be deemed to 'profanity' for the purposes of this rule

Don't disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.

Do not consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake.

[...]

Lastly, just a reminder that Left and Right have very broad definitions and that people are going to take it personally if you inform them that of course all Xs eat babies, should they themselves be Xs (or Ys trying to keep things cool).

[...]

We have no desire to censor people whose views we disagree with. However, there is a difference between stating and defending an unpopular position on the one hand, and repeated drive-by insults on the other, and the fact that we welcome the first does not mean that we must accept the second. We therefore reserve the right to warn and, if necessary, ban commenters who show a consistent pattern of blatant disrespect toward groups of people (e.g., people of a given race, military status, sexual orientation, or religion), when that disrespect is coupled with an apparent lack of interest in providing evidence for one's views or engaging in reasoned argument about them.

The Banning Rules:
[...] # Any ObWi author can recommend that a commenter be banned and should do so via email to the all other authors.
# One writer (but only one) from the other side of the fence must agree to the ban for it to move forward [...] To avoid the delay our busy lives can cause in moving quickly when a commenter is disrupting an ongoing thread, any writer can implement an immediate temporary ban (and declare it as such) until a banning request is resolved behind the scenes.
This is a warning to all.

Play nicely.

McKinneyTexas:

[...] My comment expressly goes more to overtly sexual behavior, which can be and often does fall far short of outright sex--hand holding, snuggling, other forms of publicly acceptable or tolerated forms of affection. In civilian life, most of this is, by self-selection, confined to gay or straight environments, and so whatever reaction that might arise is forestalled. Cite?

Let me clarify that when I ask for a cite, it's reasonably possible that if you don't provide one, I will. Facts are useful, and terribly easy to find and present. There's this whole "internet" thing that's useful in this regard.

People will draw whatever conclusions they will between someone who can cite facts, and those who cite the inside of their heads and their imaginations.

What one prefers is an individual choice.

But if people think citing the inside of their head is persuasive, I ask them, yet again: how persuasive do you find a simple assertion?

Of course, maybe people who can only cite what's inside their head actually do simply believe anything they're told.

I wouldn't know. I'm inclined to doubt it, but I do wonder why some people seem to think that "my opinion is" is persuasive to anyone. So let me ask: if you use that line, why are you doing so? What do you think you're accomplishing? What grounds do you have to believe that you're accomplishing something?

Grounds you can cite.

Lastly: people offer cites and ask others to read them. We like that.

But it only works if it goes both ways.

Respect is earned. You want me to read your cite? Absolutely. So long as you read mine.

If not: fine. I speak only for myself in this.

However, cites involve specific links to specific information

You can, hey, google it. That's all you need to know, right?

No.

Assertions that people should just go use the internet to selectively find that which someone else has selectively found, or looked for, are, again as useful in one direction as they are in another.

Do you find "go read via google" or "go read via the library" persuasive?

Why do people think others will be persuaded by means they are not?

Could someone who uses this technique explain why they bother? Thanks, if so.

This is funny as a sketch. On this blog, some of us know it for what it is.

LOL-ing at whatever definition of avedis's "you guys" is supposed to encompass me, Sebastian, russell, Slarti and whomever else. I doubt that the four of us could agree what to get on a pizza, let alone a bunch of other things, but somehow, because we all disagree with this yutz, we're groupable as "you guys."

(Which is apparently supposed to be "liberals" who get a "weekly briefing." Welcome, Sebastian! Sorry we didn't make a cake.)

Gary, "schmuck" is about as civil as I can reasonably be when someone busts out, "No wonder she hates men, just look at her." I'm only half-surprised he didn't call her a lesbian, too.

Gary,

You ask for cites. When they are provided no one reads them or if they do read them, but the content is contra their priors, the cite is dismissed or ignored. I suppose there could be cite wars ad infinitum. I post mine, you post yours, I discredit yours, you discredit mine, I find another, you find another......

The hyprocisy here is palpable. The support of the joint chiefs for the repeal of DADT is cited, by backers here, as evidence of the goodness of the act. The joint chiefs?!!?? These are the same politicians in uniform that folks like you (correctly IMO) have identified as having helped lie us into and then perpetuate two pointless and unwinnable wars. You accuse me of "mind reading", but you have the ability to discern when the joint chiefs are actually being honest and when they are not?

As far as I can see you have no more interest in understanding military culture than your ideological opponents do. You both seem to harbor very sanatized and, again, very selective perspectives. You both just want to use the young men and women in uniform as tools for advancement of your ideologies; no matter how misguided those may be. You both, by and large, have never served. There is a reason that the military so often views civilians with contempt. I just explained it in part.

You're helping the military by allowing a few thousand closeted homosexuals come out without risk of reprisal? In the big scheme of things this is pretty small pototos even if your hypothesis is correct. You really want to help to men and women in the service? Don't praise that President of yours for this "win". Don't let this boost his liberal creds as he wants it to do. His creds should only get a deserved boost when he brings all of the troops home and puts a stop to the senseless waste of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Or put the same time, effort and dollars spent lobbying for the repeal ( concerning what tiny % of the entire force?) into buying the combat troops the equipment they need. The SAWs are about worn out, There is a need for more body armor......you know; sometimes it is the little things that count......ask some troops what it is they need when they are deployed. They'll tell you and they would be more appreciative of you rising to those requests than focussing on DADT.

My take away is that people here have priors that are impervious to change and that they will resort to any tactic to maintain their defensive perimeter.

I won't be posting comments here anymore. There is no point.

Looks like "mission accomplished" for avedis. Maybe overly polite to provide him with a platform with this post. These are cultural issues, not especially inherent or universal. This reminds me - would anyone know whether this Theban "Band of 300" is something historically accurate, I just came accross it in a forum discussion and forgot to google about it. Anyway, this is a non-issue, what we are only talking about is whether an organization willing to change. It is perfectly able to change without hampering its performance, but it might not be willing to change. Nothing is stopping it though, and I guess it inevitably will eventually change and people will think us strange for even debating the issue. So there we go.

the Marines are most gender-conformist and may well have even more of a traditional rape culture than the other services

If the US military is indeed permeated by rape culture, how can one be in favor of letting its members loose on people in foreign countries? In this case the only moral stance would be an immediate, complete and worldwide disengagement of the US military. Or does it not matter so much because the victims are foreigners and "such things happen in war"?

I doubt that the four of us could agree what to get on a pizza

Artichoke hearts and black olives for me. Or, good old 'roni gets it done.

I won't be posting comments here anymore. There is no point.

Bye bye.

The fraternization rules certainly aren't being repealed. There won't be much of that kind of stuff to react to in the barracks or wherever.

No, because we're aware that fraternization gets punished, is frowned on, and ends up not being a huge deal because it is tightly control.

Sebastian: I think your faith in the fraternization rules is misplaced/overly-optimistic. A rough parallel would be speeding here in Texas. With a few exceptions (school zones), it isn't really speeding unless you are going more than 10 miles over the posted limit. If every instance of a couple holding hands, say while in their civilian clothes en route to leaving the base, was brought up on charges, the services would be too busy dealing with these issues to fight or do anything else.

Low levels of horizontal fraternization are inherently unavoidable with hormone charged kids running around. It is tolerated, not encouraged, but not dealt with administratively absent some level of aggravated circumstance (I don't know what the criteria is and it probably varies from unit to unit).

The very difficult part of this discussion is addressing the notion that while more straight people today than ever before are fine with repealing DADT, fine with gay marriage/civil union, social and legal equality, fine with so many things that were universally viewed as perversion when I was a kid, there remains--and will remain for some time, maybe for quite some time--a fairly bright line between acceptance of different orientations and receptivity to observing or other proximity to acts of same sex intimacy, even low level acts of intimacy.

I don't need a study to reach this conclusion--I am straight, have been around straight males all of my life and have discussed this issue with 100's of straight males for years. The view is so widely held as to be virtually universal. Same sex intimacy is the bright line that straight men won't cross. It's part of the wiring. It's visceral. It's what made it easy for straight males to view homosexuality as a disease or a perversion, when really it was and always will be simply a different systemic imperative that a straight male is no more free to throw off than is a gay male.

McKinneyTexas:

In civilian life, most heterosexuals do not encounter overtly homosexual behavior, largely because they live, work and play in heterosexual environments.

This is quite a claim to make without supporting it. Some cites?

McKinneyTexas:

[...] My comment expressly goes more to overtly sexual behavior, which can be and often does fall far short of outright sex--hand holding, snuggling, other forms of publicly acceptable or tolerated forms of affection. In civilian life, most of this is, by self-selection, confined to gay or straight environments, and so whatever reaction that might arise is forestalled. Cite?

Let me clarify that when I ask for a cite, it's reasonably possible that if you don't provide one, I will. Facts are useful, and terribly easy to find and present. There's this whole "internet" thing that's useful in this regard.

Gary, I don't need a study to believe any of the following to be true:

1. Traditional, non-religious conservatives generally favor, in theory, smaller gov't and less gov't spending.
2. Traditional conservatives' actions are often in direct contradiction to their expressed beliefs.
3. Roman Catholic theology holds that, in communion, the communicant is actually eating Christ's flesh. Many RC communicants either don't think if it this way or actually view it differently. Many others do.
4. The US office corps is predominantly conservative in its outlook.
5. Straight males are attracted to women, straight women to men. There are no exceptions. There are bisexuals, but no exceptions.
6. Men are generally stronger than women. There are many exceptions, but this is the general rule.
7. Female sexuality is more complex than male sexuality.
8. People, for the most part, exercise choice and judgment as to who they interact with outside of the workplace, where they go in their free time and who they are intimate with.
9. The majority if not the vast majority of straight men do not voluntarily put themselves in a place where encountering male same sex intimacy on any level is reasonably foreseeable, except possibly a fleeting instance such as in a play or a movie.

P.S. I tried to ditch the italics and couldn't.

"I don't need a study to reach this conclusion--I am straight, have been around straight males all of my life and have discussed this issue with 100's of straight males for years."

You and your hundreds of straight friends sit around and discuss gay male sex?

"If the US military is indeed permeated by rape culture, how can one be in favor of letting its members loose on people in foreign countries?"

That's the question that interests me the most--the link I posted above ( military prostitution and the us military in asia )
talks about this and that link also gives this link to a NYT story about prostitution in Korea and how the US seemingly collaborated with the rightwing dictatorship in Korea in the 60's through the 80's in supporting it.

NYT story about Korean prostitutes

It sounds like there is less toleration for this sort of thing now. It took long enough.

OK, I have no idea how to make it stop. Any suggestions?

Looks OK to me now.

"If the US military is indeed permeated by rape culture, how can one be in favor of letting its members loose on people in foreign countries?"

I suspect that the people who believe the former are not the people who support the latter.

Yay success! I used my Superpowers to edit the comment with the extra tag.

@McKinneyTexas:

The view is so widely held as to be virtually universal. Same sex intimacy is the bright line that straight men won't cross. It's part of the wiring. It's visceral. It's what made it easy for straight males to view homosexuality as a disease or a perversion, when really it was and always will be simply a different systemic imperative that a straight male is no more free to throw off than is a gay male.

Of all the things in this thread, I'd say that assertion needs a cite more than any other. Because it's completely contrary to my experience, and, I'll wager, the experience of many other people on this site.

I've met many, many straight men who have no visceral reaction to two gay men holding hands, cuddling, or kissing one another. Not to the thought of it, not to the sight of it.

My closest friend (straight, male, raised in Holland) received a passionate declaration from a gay friend when they were both 20, and reacted with sympathy and regret that he was straight and unable to reciprocate. No fear, no horror, no disgust.

I believe it's cultural, not inbred. Nurture, not nature. You've been trained to fear and hate this aspect of human sexuality. And it's entirely possible to overcome that kind of upbringing, or to refuse to pass it on to the next generation. And there's no cause to inflict more suffering on gays just because you, personally, were raised to freak out about them.

Sorry I haven't had much time for joining this discussion, guys -- yesterday was Shovel Day, today is Yule Dinner Day (now that people were finally able to travel down from New England), which means Cooking Day. I'll try to reply to comments roughly starting from the top.

Dan:

Yes, one of the things I'm finding hardest about this kind of blogging is making my posts short enough to be readable and timely. I'm glad you found the Shakesville material a good supplement.

there remains--and will remain for some time, maybe for quite some time--a fairly bright line between acceptance of different orientations and receptivity to observing or other proximity to acts of same sex intimacy, even low level acts of intimacy.

Just to follow up a bit on evilrooster's point....

McK, you and I are of approximately the same generation. Young people now are less squeamish / freaked out / uncomfortable with the sort of normal, quotidian expressions of affection that we're talking about here -- holding hands, arms around each other, kiss hello or goodbye -- between people of the same sex than folks our age were when we were young.

As you say, I don't need a survey or a poll to figure this out, I can see it with my own eyes.

The folks entering the service are, on average, likely more conservative than not, but they're still part of a generation that is just less viscerally bugged by homosexuality than ours was.

DCA:

The WWII experience with a large conscript army showed that many of the infantry could never bring themselves to fire.

I remember that, but I'm pretty sure I've seen something (google fail) about how this is *not* the case for recent generations of recruits. Video games, in particular, are blamed/credited with getting people used to pointing and shooting at realistic human figures.

the type of person (usually male) who can be trained to kill, will not take well to homosexuals being around

I've also heard this kind of statement, but it doesn't actually make *sense*. What is supposed to be the logical or psychological connection between "capable of killing" and "will not tolerate gays"? I can come up with theories, but they are pretty theoretical.

S. L. A. Marshall first made the claim that infantry troops in WWII seldom fired their weapons, even when being shot at. There's some doubt about the quality of Marshall's research.

Hartmut:

Still does not answer the question why it is allegedly worse that now gays can be known while before they were anonymous.

One thing IME that straight (civilian) men often say, in explaining why gay men make them uncomfortable, is "What if he hits on me?"

You'll notice how this phrasing immediately makes sexual interest a form of aggression. That's part of rape culture: as avedis says, men are predators and women are prey. So if you're a Traditional Manly Man™, for another man to express sexual interest in you is for him to say: You're prey. You're vulnerable, you're rapeable.

This is what they mean by "breaks down unit cohesion" -- if you have gays (or women) and you *don't* change the underlying premises of a rape culture, then people in the unit will be prey *for each other*. And that is, in fact, what happened to one of the female vets I know (Air Force, in this case).

You know, it's kind of interesting. Gay men (and women) have been integrated into the Canadian military for a long time now. Somehow this hasn't turned out to be a big problem for unit cohesion/readiness/whatever. Not only that, but I feel I should point out that these integrated units have been in Kandahar for years, and have been estimated to have been very effective.

This isn't a problem of military culture. It's a problem of military culture in the US... which means it's really a problem of US culture. Colour me shocked.

Donald,
Na Young Lee has an article in Feminist Studies that goes into more detail about how the Japanese system provided the basis and how domestic pressures coupled with a US refusal to contemplate licensed prostitution, led to a half solution. A similar system was set up in Japan immediately after the war, by Japanese, called the RAA or the Recreation and Amusement Association.

Rape culture, or whatever you want to call it, is just the inevitable realization of what the military is really all about -- raw power. (Shock and Awe, anyone?) That certainly doesn't make it acceptable, though, and the longer it is tolerated (or ignored or used as a cudgel over others), the longer that we're no better than animals.

re: firing percentages. Hartmut is correct that S.L.A. Marshall is the usual source of those figures. More recently those figures gained wider circulation through Dave Grossman's On Killing, which repeats and expands upon Marshall's assertion.

Marshall's figure of a 20% firing rate seems to have been arrived at through intuition and heuristics because Marshall does not seem to have kept detailed notes and did no quantitative work at all in his after action reporting.

Grossman asserts that the military raised the firing rate amongst conscripted troops through systematic operant conditioning and the adoption of silhouette targets after WWII. He also argues that our military has no issues with firing rates now because most of the people in combat are "sheepdogs" who have no qualms about using violence to protect the "sheep" from the "wolves".

Grossman's research is much read and cited and he claims to have data beyond Marshall that backs up his assertions, but I have not found any of it in a couple years of research. What's more, in one of his letters home during his training for WWII Louis Simpson clearly describes going through full on tactical simulations with pop-up silhouette targets while he was still in tank training before joining the 101st.

On the other hand, Donald Burgett describes seeing soldiers even in the 101st that chose not to fire at other human beings in The Road to Arnhem.

My own conclusion using the same methods as Marshall -- lots of research and talking to people -- is that Marshall is way low in his estimate and that Grossman overstates his case. I also think that the decision to fire is situational and highly dependent on stress levels and the length of time the person has been in continuous combat posture.

If anyone has quantitative evidence for or against this I'd be really interested to see it.

polyorchnid octopunch:

Do you have data/anecdata about the treatment of women and/or homosexuals in the Canadian forces? Are there some regions of Canada that have proportionately more people in the armed services, similar to the well-known US pattern where the states of the Confederacy are over-represented in the military?

polyorchnid, yes indeed, and in the UK's armed forces, and in many others. It is an American problem.

You and your hundreds of straight friends sit around and discuss gay male sex?

Not gay sex. The topic comes up in discussions of gays in the military and gay marriage/civil union, changing attitudes toward gays and the overt bigotry against gays used for political purposes. The discussion often spills over into why some men are gay and most aren't. A fair number of people believe it's a choice. My reply is, "Fine, choose it. Just try to choose it. Just put the thought in your head." My follow up is: "If it's choice, then implicitly, it's one anyone can make. But, in fact, it's not a choice at all. If it was, horny young guys would be overwhelmingly bisexual." The end game to these discussions, regardless of how many minds are changed, is that while the notion of sex with another man is foreign and unappealing, the same is 'likely (logically)' true for gay men at some level regarding sex with women.

I put 'likely (logically)' in quotes because I have no idea what consensus, if any, there is among gay men and their views of sexual intimacy with women. I suspect--and my suspicion is likely rife with errors great and small--that a significant number of gay men of my generation have tried to be intimate with women because, to one degree or another, they wanted to 'fit in'. I have no idea what their innermost reaction was--indifference, aversion, I have no clue. I also sense that, growing up in a world inundated with heterosexual imagery, gay people are far more acclimatized, if that is the right word, to hetero activity. But this is just supposition.

FWIW, some years back, once I clued in on the absence of choice, the notion of treating people differently because of innate characteristics that impact no one other than themselves simply wasn't fair. What I found out to be true for me turns out to be true for a lot of people who's views have changed: it turns out we know a lot of gay people and the fact of being gay is 99.999% irrelevant to any aspect of our relationship. The closet seems to be getting smaller everyday. Not fast enough, but it's happening and the result is what one would hope for, which is a significant change in attitude.


I've met many, many straight men who have no visceral reaction to two gay men holding hands, cuddling, or kissing one another. Not to the thought of it, not to the sight of it.

Well, I question this statement—not your belief in it—but the validity of your observation. First, it's unlikely that you know a representative number of straight men who (1) regularly or even irregularly encounter gay male intimacy and who (2) talk about it and (3) you are likely considerably younger than me. But if you do, I suspect that your cohort is a small subset of the straight male community who's professions or social or recreational interests put them in more regular contact with significant numbers of gay men, and thus experience a level of socialization that is not widespread.

You've been trained to fear and hate this aspect of human sexuality. And it's entirely possible to overcome that kind of upbringing, or to refuse to pass it on to the next generation. And there's no cause to inflict more suffering on gays just because you, personally, were raised to freak out about them.

You are incorrect in each of these statements. I didn't know what a homosexual was until I was in college. No one taught me anything, good or bad, about gay people. The general take on homosexuality then, quite some time ago, was that it was a deviancy. Homosexuality was rarely a topic of conversation until fairly recently.

I can't overcome my wiring. I am simply not interested in male same sex intimacy, nor is male same sex intimacy something I or any other straight male wishes to be exposed to. I know of no straight men who feel differently. Tolerance is a different item and tolerance levels vary individually by person and by circumstance.

As for inflicting anything on anyone, what I don't do is impute from grossly insufficient data (1) how someone was raised or (2) a desire on anyone's part to inflict anything on anyone else. My arm isn't long enough to pat myself on the back, at least not very hard, but from my time as a dorm RA through my eventually seeing the other side of gay equality, I can look back on every interaction I've had with gay men and women and not regret a thing I've said or done. Not one thing. Whatever private views I've had, or still have, do not affect the way I was, in fact, raised, which was to respect and deal decently with anyone and everyone, particularly their privacy.

McK, you and I are of approximately the same generation. Young people now are less squeamish / freaked out / uncomfortable with the sort of normal, quotidian expressions of affection that we're talking about here -- holding hands, arms around each other, kiss hello or goodbye -- between people of the same sex than folks our age were when we were young.
As you say, I don't need a survey or a poll to figure this out, I can see it with my own eyes.
The folks entering the service are, on average, likely more conservative than not, but they're still part of a generation that is just less viscerally bugged by homosexuality than ours was.

I see this, as well. One of my daughter's best friends, going back to high school (she's 28), is gay. My son's suite mate in college came out to his seven off-the-charts straight suite mates, and the unanimous consensus was that we were friends yesterday and today, nothing has changed. They remain friends to this day. The closer people are on a daily basis to gay friends socially, the more the wiring will soften at the edges. But, the wiring is still there.

One thing IME that straight (civilian) men often say, in explaining why gay men make them uncomfortable, is "What if he hits on me?"
You'll notice how this phrasing immediately makes sexual interest a form of aggression. That's part of rape culture: as avedis says, men are predators and women are prey. So if you're a Traditional Manly Man™, for another man to express sexual interest in you is for him to say: You're prey. You're vulnerable, you're rapeable.

There are two parts here, the gay part and the rape culture part. One the gay part, as a general observation (and personal experience), straight men who are uncomfortable around gay men and who are not irretrievably bigoted are that way because of lack of exposure and ignorance. I have been hit on, aggressively, by a gay man once. I didn't like it. But that is one time, many years ago, out of hundreds, maybe north of a thousand, of times I've dealt with openly gay men professionally or socially. My experience with gay men, mostly of my generation, is that there are plenty of things to talk about besides sex and since we don't have anything in common in the sex department, there's no point in bringing it up. So, I see ignorance and perhaps an inflated view of one's desirability as the main issue here.

Next, the rape culture thing. Jesus. People are different, including men. Some men are a**holes, some are socially inept, and many men, particularly young men, are clumsy—usually very clumsy—around women. A minority of men do prey on women. Their methods vary from manipulation to physical force. A minority of women are sexually aggressive. However, we don't speak of the Slut Culture when talking about women in any walk of life. We don't because it isn't there. The expression "hitting on" only implies violence to someone predisposed to see men as the only sexual aggressors and to see that type of behavior as typical. It is current vernacular for "approaching" or "flirting". Kids today "dump" or "get dumped". We used to say "broke up with." This is not some kind of heavily freighted, Freudian turn of phrase. Boorishness, shallow, insensitive opportunists who piss women off is a larger class of male. Rape Culture? Not here, not now.

avedis wrote:

Many women in the military are, as my Navy daughter was shocked to realize "a bunch of sluts" (her words). Some women in the armed forces actually take advantage of the mens' pent up libido and prostitute themselves for extra cash.

I am extremely surprised by this, and suspect that you misinterpreted what your daughter said. Generally speaking, "slut" is the *opposite* of "whore" -- a slut is a woman who has sex for *fun*, for her own pleasure; a whore is a woman who has sex for material gain with men in whom she has no actual sexual interest. I assume the Navy women your daughter encountered (and I totally believe her) are, in male terms, "players" -- they're taking advantage of an unbalanced sex ratio to have sex with a variety of men with no strings attached.

I don't think you understand what people are talking about when they use the words "rape culture."

However, we don't speak of the Slut Culture when talking about women in any walk of life.

No, we engage in Slut Shaming instead, as sexual aggressiveness is reserved for men.

In any case, see if you can suss out for yourself some differences between promiscuity and sexual violence (or violent sexuality). I bet you don't even need any hints.

we don't speak of the Slut Culture when talking about women in any walk of life.

Sure we do. We just call it something else.

OK, I have no idea how to make it stop. Any suggestions?

Just for the record, although I can't recall the exact minimum number of tags to close open tags (which cleek has specified from time to time, down through the ages), the following (somewhat overkill) combination is what I used upthread, which seemed to do it from my (Firefoxy) perspective:

<p><p><\i><\p><\p>

<\i>

Doctor Science:

OK, I have no idea how to make it stop. Any suggestions?

1. Go to Typepad Dashboard.

2. Unver "Manage My Blog," click "Obsidian Wings."

3. At the top of the page you should now see the menu choices of:
* Compose
* Overview
* Posts
* Comments

Click "Comments."

4. You should now see all comments in chronological order, but also sortable as is either obvious to you or irrelevant.

Close any unclosed tag within a comment by editing the comment.

That's the only way to fully fix an unclosed tag made in a comment so that all browsers will apply the now properly closed tags.

Attempting to do it via additional comments will only work on certain browsers under certain conditions. It won't do the job.

Please feel free to email me with any questions about Typepad at gary underscore farber at yahoo com, or in a thread, as you like, but I'm far more apt to see email.

If you ask anything excessively ambitious, keep in mind that all I know about Typepad is that I've spent the time I have posting. I haven't read any Typepad Help yet, but certainly will as necessary.

As I seem to have an aptitude for such, and looking at GUIs and grokking them, and I very much would like to learn more about Typepad, I truly do desire to be asked useful questions that would give me an excuse to invest more time in reading/playing with the software, as time and priorities allow.

I know fully well that everyone's time is limited, and time available to learn posting software isn't going to easily fit into anyone else's schedule. I'm delighted to help wherever I can.

I live to serve.

novakant:

[...] If the US military is indeed permeated by rape culture, how can one be in favor of letting its members loose on people in foreign countries? In this case the only moral stance would be an immediate, complete and worldwide disengagement of the US military.
Could you suggest a timeframe in which you believe this can practically be accomplished?

Thanks!

Russell, I'm pretty omnivorous, but I've yet to develop a fondness for either olives of any kind, or anchovies.

I love chopped beef, but dislike beef in other than tiny sized bits. Similarly, I prefer dark meat on chicken, and fork-sized white meat.

The prior 'graph isn't particularly relevant to pizza, but the above are almost the entirety of my food dislikes of food I have yet tried, unless we start listing outliers in America such as lutefisk, and... doubtless other foods.

But familiarity breeds new habits when necessary, or possible.

I'm great with pizza with any topping, though if we're ordering, I'll mention preferences if asked, and otherwise go with the majority. I have no problems picking anchovies or olives out, and besides, next time I'll try them again, and maybe I'll decide I like them. I bet myself I can make myself.

Maybe I will next time.

I try to re-examine all my prejudices whenever I'm reminded I should.

And the past has taught me that the few prejudices against foods that I once had, when tried again, I later realized were silly mental habits/memories of childhood, no longer operative. (There are sound and known neurological reasons for this, which I won't bore anyone with.)

Thus I once wasn't wild about raw tomato. Until decades ago, I thought, hey, wait, I haven't retried that in years. And, yeah, tastes from childhood, as the research shows, differ from adult tastes, mouth sensations, reflexes, habit, and so on.

Tomatos are fine.

And even adults can change tastes under a variety of circumstances.

My problem with large hunks of meat are that as a child, I used to choke on them a lot. I still have leftover gag reflex. I could overcome it, if I tried, but it's not a high priority.

Habits are overcomeable via practicing new ones. When or if a person is capable of it, interested, and open, and did I mention capable?

Allergies and physical/chemical reactions are, of course, another matter. Each individual's body, brain, and mind is unique.

Feel free to put up an open thread on pizza preferences. :-)

It could be useful information for future gatherings!

http://www.palmcenter.org/files/active/0/Canada5.pdf is a good start for Canadian reactions to allowing gay service members.

It should be noted that in both the UK and Canada that there were fairly common fears such as expressed by avedis, and that in the end those fears weren't realised. I see no reason why we should be different.

perhaps an inflated view of one's desirability

Indeed. What I keep thinking is "They're just not that into you."

And the past has taught me that the few prejudices against foods that I once had, when tried again, I later realized were silly mental habits/memories of childhood, no longer operative.

I thought for years that I didn't like fish or vegetables. Then I found out that I just didn't like the way my mother cooked them.

McKinneyTexas: Happy 2011!

Sebastian: I think your faith in the fraternization rules is misplaced/overly-optimistic. A rough parallel would be speeding here in Texas. With a few exceptions (school zones), it isn't really speeding unless you are going more than 10 miles over the posted limit. If every instance of a couple holding hands, say while in their civilian clothes en route to leaving the base, was brought up on charges, the services would be too busy dealing with these issues to fight or do anything else.
How do you compare this to women and men serving together as they have done for years?
[...] Gary, I don't need a study to believe any of the following to be true: [...] 5. Straight males are attracted to women, straight women to men. There are no exceptions.
I know you believe it to be true, and I know you believe you don't need a study on it, but it is, in fact, untrue. Would you like some cites to prove it as a matter of fact?

Try the Kinsey scale!

Learn about Asexuality.

Learn about Intersexuality.

None of this is academic; I have a number of friends I've personally known for decades who have written about their lives, and will tell you in person, if you meet them. I can point to many more such individuals, who add up to significant numbers in society, if little-noticed by those who don't notice.

I highly recommend Raphael Carter and Raphael's novel, The Fortunate Fall.

Hope you've had a lovely Christmas!

Sure we do. We just call it something else.

I don't think the hook up thing is used to define solely women.

@McKinneyTexas:

I think we're into dueling anecdotes here. You don't think that I know what I say I know. I don't think that what you call hard-wired is hard-wired.

I still say, if you want to tell me that dislike (rather than indifference) is the hard-wired reaction of men to seeing sexual behavior that doesn't interest them, then you're going to need some good, reliable sociological studies to back it up. Otherwise I'm going to believe that, without explicitly teaching you about homosexuality, your formative influences instilled this reaction in you.

And I'll thank you not to tell me off about making assumptions about you when you made them about me any my sources.

And I'll thank you not to tell me off about making assumptions about you when you made them about me any my sources.

Fair point up to a point, the difference being that I was value-neutral about you and your sources.

the difference being that I was value-neutral about you and your sources.

I think that depends how much, and what sort of, value we put on intellectual honesty. I know how it came across to me when you told me I was overstating or misinterpreting what I know and you do not.

Just in time for New Year's, here's a perfect example of rape culture and slut-shaming all in one!

".. I assume the Navy women your daughter encountered (and I totally believe her) are, in male terms, "players" -- they're taking advantage of an unbalanced sex ratio to have sex with a variety of men with no strings attached."

Dr S, since you directly addressed me and because I find you both intelligent and open minded, I will reply to you (and you alone).

She meant both types of behavior. Primarily, females "hooking up" with numerous males (also in uniform). However, it should not be too surprising that some enterprising females realize that there exists a prime opportunity to make a buck.....so much for reliance on antifraternization laws. BTW I have seen this behavior myself 20 years ago. I know of several other former service men that report the same.

Dr. S, you were so very close to understanding the issue. This whole rape culture discussion is an unfortunate distraction.

You see in combat units - and I emphasize 'combat' - men have to stay tough; always. The training is brutal. Everyone is hurting physically, everyone is exhausted mentally and emotionally as well. Everyone wants to quit at some point. Everyone is sick and tired of the BS. But they keep going because if the other guy is doing it then so can I and the other guy is looking to me for the same motivation. This is an important element of unit cohesion. Each man keeps the other strong. Bad news from home? Yeah I hear you man. Ok. Let's get past it. F___k it. It don't mean nothing.

Then there is actual combat itself. Even more brutal and dehumanizing. Even a greater need to have your bro.s staying hard and for you to stay hard for them. And everyone is afraid. But you can't express that. Fear in combat is death. It can spread like wildfire through a unit. Everyone is watching everyone else. Hey, if he can keep doing it under these circumstances, then I can keep doing it to. You laugh or shrug off at the sickness, the sh!t, the gore and... the unspeakable...taking another human's life... and your bro.s help you laugh about it or shrug it off.

As the prayer goes, "Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil for I am the bad motherf___er in the valley". Your bro.s reinforce that you are a bad motherf____er and you reinforce that they are bad motherf____ers.

It's like prison rules. There's no room for an iota of weakness. And everyone's watching. And these are young impressionable men.

We do the F____ing; We don't get f___ed.

We are the ultimate hunters. We hunt and kill humans. We even take, like hunters, trophies from our kills.

This is survival, existential and mental, and it's combat effectiveness.

So now there's a gay in the unit. Under the repeal he can be openly gay. maybe he's looking at you like maybe he likes you. Why? Is there something about me that suggests weakness? I'm like a prey to you? You want to f__k me? well f___k you. I need to do something to reassert that I am all man by our definition. I may kick your ass. I may kill you. Whatever, you are not my bro. You are not giving me the support I need from my bro.s and they need from me.

Is this clear enough? Like I said, I think you got it. Just wanted to add some nuance.

avedis - "Dr. S, you were so very close to understanding the issue. This whole rape culture discussion is an unfortunate distraction....

...it's like prison rules."

Looks like an own goal to me.

So, avedis, about all those other militaries that are integrated. Are you arguing that the IDF has gone soft since 1993? Do you argue that the SAS cannot be effective combat troops because integration has ruined their unit cohesion?

It's not that I don't believe what you are saying here is not representative of some mainstream portion of combat troops. What you have said here is neither shocking nor novel. But neither is it in any way a necessary element of esprit de corps or of coping with combat stress. It's not nature, it's *a* military culture, and it can -- and will -- change.

so, my data/anecdata links won't work; sorry. I'm not sure what went wrong. I'll just put the original links here.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/how-the-forces-finally-learnt-to-take-pride-1762057.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/dec/11/gay-soldier-ben-rakestrow

www.proud2serve.net

Doctor Science, thank you for an excellent and thought-provoking analogy; I hadn't considered the problem from that angle before.

"maybe he's looking at you like maybe he likes you. Why? Is there something about me that suggests weakness?"

Let's unpack this syllogism. Gay men only scope out men who are weak. Being scoped out by a gay man therefore makes you doubt your manhood.

Why is this?

If I posit, according to your proposition, that gay men in combat are, unlike other men in combat, likely to have time and energy to scope out their brothers, doesn't that make them more manly than the men who are too busy trying to stay alive?

I cannot resist mentioning that one of the best-selling porn videotapes sold by Good Vibrations is called Bend over Boyfriend, which teaches heterosexual couples how a woman can penetrate a man (with non-manufacturer-supplied equipment, obvs.) Redbook, a mainstream women's magazine, listed the practice as one of "5 sexy things he's longing for you to try in bed."

It's at least possible that some of those manly heterosexuals in the armed forces are "taking it up the ass"... from female partners.

nous, the IDF is a different situation. Universal conscript and fighting right at home. Have they gone soft? Yes. They have had their asses handed to them in recent engagements. They wouldn't even be half of what they are without our support.

SAS? Good outfit. How many openly gays serving in it? But there still not US Marines.

Madame Hardy, I'm also talking about pre-combat training. I could care less about your kinky nonsense. It doesn't shock me, if that's your aim.

I have to go make gravy and be festive, so I am just warning you-all to KEEP IT NICE. We're discussing issues that are EXTREMELY sensitive to many people in many ways, so please, think twice before you guess about anyone's moral character.

avedis,

I really think you're the one not getting it. What you say is exactly the point.

Can you understand that the culture and viewpoint of the men you are describing the "I f.ck, I don't get f..ked" makes me, as a woman, react exactly the same way these men react to the idea of a gay man looking at them? It pisses me off, it freaks me out, it makes me want a gun on me. Because it's a threat and it feels threatening.

We are looking at the same mechanism, both acknowledging that the issue are these men see women as prey/weak and hate the idea of being prey/weak - but you think the answer is to refrain from making these men feel prey/weak and I (we if I might presume) feel that we should dismantle "sexual partner of a man" as equivalent to prey/weak.

And in my universe mating still happens because instead of approaching a potential mate with the attitude of "you will get f.cked" they frequently approach with the attitude of "do you want to f.ck together?" an entirely different thing. Or, you know, like all those navy girls, the women frequently approach and make the same offer.

Arcinian,

I can completely understand where you are coming from. I think that men that exclusively hold and display these attitudes in civilian life are offensive. I can understand why would you find them to be more than unattractive; even frightening.

But we are not talking about civilian life. We are talking about men whose sole mission is to excell under the most extreme adverse conditions to kill and achieve the mission or die trying. I think that too many people in modern civilian America underestimate what this means. Which is one of the issues that gets me so upset with some people posting comments here. It's like they can't or won't even consider what it means to be in training for and then in combat.

Success in extreme situations calls for extreme personalities or mindsets. I am sure that if you were looking for a man to spend social and perhaps intimate time with, you might select an artist or musician or intelligent and sensitive college professor........but would you really select any of those guys to drop out of a helicopter and mercillesly shoot up an al qaeda stronghold?

There are reasons that combat troops often find adjustment to civilian life difficult. One is that they do have to ease off that edge they've been living on. The edge is mental, physical and psychological.

It's one of the costs of war. Training young men to be what you find abhorent is a necessity to ensuring success. I think people forget that when they start waving the flag and calling for our troops to go get this or that bunch of "enemies".

That being said, I do think that the prey/hunter model, to a much lesser, kinder/gentler extent, is a part of traditional male/female mating rituals. There are women that are....well maybe a little old fashioned...in that they do want to be pursued (again, gently). I know times are a changin'. Still, why can't people that really do enjoy this paradigm do so without some women's studies prof targeting them?

One more thing, Arician, since I think we are engaged in a mutually respectful exchange........someone will suggest that these men can be trained to have a different mindset (it's already been suggested by someone here that they can be ordered to have a different mindset).

I don't think so. The USMC has found that instilling and reinforcing this mindset is an ingredient for successfully perpetuating the finest and proudest fighting outfit in the world. It has worked for over 200 years. I don't think that it would be a good idea to start messing with a proven formula. Certainly not now. Maybe never.

I'm not a women's studies professor and I'm not targeting anyone. If I have my way everyone should be entirely free to engage in any kind of mating dance they prefer. I'm not even saying that men with a mindset that frightens and causes revulsion in me should not exist.

I'm saying that I do not want my military, the military of my country, to encourage and tolerate a culture that is entirely full of such men and treat it as necessary.

And I do not believe it is necessary.

Which I guess is where we disagree - you think this kind of mindset is linked in some way to the ability to kill other human beings and experiencing other physical hardship and I do not think it is. You can put me in any extreme conditions you like - and I'm not going to regard consensual sex as a win/lose proposition that requires prey and predator and I firmly believe that to be true for several men I know intimately. I do think that both I and they would be twisted and perhaps broken by battle, certainly changed dramatically but whatever pathologies and extremes would result from such an experience I firmly believe it wouldn't be that one. The extremes that get brought out in us have to be in us to begin with and while I have a lot of unpleasant things in me that's not one of them. And I know men for whom I believe that's true as well. And I do not think that everyone without that mindset is 'not cut out for war' or some such.

It's not even that it (prey/predator mindset) is the worst thing I can imagine - but to treat it as necessary and desirable and part and parcel of combat - no.

What do you think goes on in the heads of women who end up in combat zones? You have to concede that there have always been women who underwent extreme physical hardships and women who've killed others and gone on dangerous missions (from slavery to guerilla wars to militaries of other countries). Do you think they too have that mindset and what? cast men as prey? never want/have sex at all?

It's funny but I think you are arguing against yourself in a sense. You want people to have more regard for the cost of war to our soldiers but I think that increased regard is linked to a mindset you advocate as natural/necessary. That is, if that mindset changed I think you'd find the military used less and more sensibly/carefully.

Because if I think of the military as "other" as those "violent crazy people who are different than you and I" it is one thing. But if I think of the military as ours and necessary and as potentially me and entirely human it is something else. I would be willing to step on a battlefield for some things - the current war in Afghanistan isn't one of them. I don't want to send human beings to do what I wouldn't and I do believe that combat soldiers are entirely and heartbreakingly human with all the darkness and potential of that humanity. And some of those combat soldiers are gay and some should be women - because we are all human together and we should be working together because we live together in one society and we want this society to get better.

"We are talking about men whose sole mission...."

I need to make that a stronger and truer statement. It's not their sole mission. It's their sole purpose in life.

A Marine be killed in action, he is told, but he will live for ever because the Corps lives forever. The indoctrination is meant to be absolute.

Jarheads truly are mutants from a civilian perspective, but that's what makes them so good at what they do.

Could you suggest a timeframe in which you believe this can practically be accomplished?

Well, I suppose if a host country canceled or renegotiated a SOFA, this would go rather quickly. Also, not fighting any more wars would be a start and a good idea in general.

Some post scripts.

The idea of our military as a group that doesn't see me as entirely human is very scary. And no, that isn't who I want defending me.

I don't expect ending DADT to magically transform everyone in the military but I don't think everyone is how you describe them and I think people will adjust and small changes will be made and things will change.

I don't expect this to make the military or combat troops nicer or softer I just expect it to make it more equal, to make a culture where homosexuals and women can be an "us".

Sorry to get personal but it is easy to think there is nothing wrong with the traditional approach when you are male and straight.

Hey, no problem, Arcinian. I think you have been one of the few respectful commentors here. I am ok with people disagreeing with me as long as they actually listen to what I am saying; which I can tell you have. And, I really do try to understand where you and other women are coming from on this. I do appreciate your position.


"I'm saying that I do not want my military, the military of my country, to encourage and tolerate a culture that is entirely full of such men and treat it as necessary."

I can understand you not wanting that. However, it's always been there. You can't wish it away. The military tends to recognize that you would find all of this unappealing and troops are trained to put on a polite face in front of you and the ugliness is largely kept out of sight and out of the media.

"Which I guess is where we disagree - you think this kind of mindset is linked in some way to the ability to kill other human beings and experiencing other physical hardship and I do not think it is."

Yes. This is where we disagree - or, more importantly , where you and the Marine Corps disagree.

I still think you are underestimating the degree of hardship and the mindset that is needed to counter that. It's not being able to kill in one quick action. It's being able to do it under extreme conditions reliably, efficiently and repeatedly any time any where.... like they are shooting back at you, people, your buddies, are getting killed and then being able to get up the next day and do it all over again...perhaps for days on end with no sleep, in the cold, in the rain, in the scorching heat, little or no food, potentially month after month...and there's all the stifling boredom in between.

....in probably every recruit platoon there's some poor guy who calls his rifle a "gun" (big mistake). The lesson administered by the DI almost always involves a comparison....the recruit drops his skivies, holds his penis in one hand and his rifle in the other...this is my rifle (presenting the rifle)....this is my gun (presenting his penis)...this one's for killing, this one's for fun...

.....I don't know, you've got young men (no women) with a lot of libido, weapons, close living quarters, a need to build unit cohesion and team work, a need to break down individuality, a need to instill absolute discipline...a need to inspire a warrior spirit (complete with the ability to kill)....did I mention libido which will go unstatisfied potentially for many months on end.....

If you can think of a better way to handle this mix and channel it to the desired outcome - which is to accomplish the mission efficiently under any circumstances - then you have a lucrative consulting job at the Pentagon waiting for you ;-)

Your question about women in combat gives me pause for thought. I don't know how they handle it. There are few women who have ever been at the point of the spear (no 2x entendre intended). It would be interesting to see a psych profile. I suspect the sample size is too small and that the cultures where this occurs too different to get a good understanding. I have met, in my day, some tough women that are every bit, if not more, sexually predatory as the worst males. Maybe your women warriors cut from that cloth....I knew an NCO who had been in Vietnam. He told me a story wherein an indig female approached him, stripped down and had sex with him. She was the initiator and "aggressor". A few days later a squad led by the same NCO was ambushed. They fought their way out of it. They examined the bodies of the VC that had been killed. Among them was the same woman (she had been armed and had been shooting). True story? I think so. What does it mean in regards to our discussion? I don't know. Maybe something, maybe nothing.

I have enjoyed our exchange. I am afraid that we are at an empasse, but willing to talk more if you want to.

"Well, I suppose if a host country canceled or renegotiated a SOFA, this would go rather quickly. Also, not fighting any more wars would be a start and a good idea in general."

Cheers! I'll drink to that.

http://www.counterpunch.org/white05292004.html

if anyone doubts my cred.s or thinks I am skewed.

won't be posting comments here anymore. There is no point.

Posted by: avedis | December 28, 2010 at 07:09 AM

Ok, then.

Posted by: avedis | December 28, 2010 at 03:58 PM

Posted by: avedis | December 28, 2010 at 06:01 PM

Posted by: avedis | December 28, 2010 at 07:03 PM

Posted by: avedis | December 28, 2010 at 07:23 PM

Posted by: avedis | December 28, 2010 at 07:32 PM

Posted by: avedis | December 28, 2010 at 08:30 PM

Posted by: avedis | December 28, 2010 at 08:36 PM

Posted by: avedis | December 28, 2010 at 09:09 PM

Wait, what?

novakant:

Also, not fighting any more wars would be a start and a good idea in general.
Agree!

Wait, what?

Slow day on the horse farm.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Whatnot


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