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August 30, 2007

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I'm mystified.

I don't understand why sex in stalls is any more a homosexual issue than rape is a heterosexual issue. But the article does frame it as one.

Which leads me to ask: why are gay rights groups going down on this ship? If people are having sex in public places, that ought to be illegal. And if people are harassing others by communicating their intent to have sex, that ought to be illegal too.

I don't understand why sex in stalls is any more a homosexual issue than rape is a heterosexual issue.

Because public restrooms tend to be segregated by gender. (Except on Babylon 5.) Therefore, it rarely happens that a man and a woman are sitting next to each other in a public restroom and the man starts making signals at the woman under the wall of the cubicle that he'd like to have sex with her.

Which leads me to ask: why are gay rights groups going down on this ship?

Why is Craig being asked to resign when Vitter isn't?

If people are having sex in public places, that ought to be illegal. And if people are harassing others by communicating their intent to have sex, that ought to be illegal too.

Oddly enough, women tend to find that if they report to the police that a man propositioned them in a public place, making them feel uncomfortable, threatened, and harassed, the police will then tend not to station an undercover policewoman at the place where the harassment occurred, and arrest any man who says anything that could be interpreted as a sexual come-on.

But men not only believe they're entitled to have sex: heterosexual men also tend to believe they're entitled not to be propositioned by other men. Odd how that works out: it tends to overlap that the men who are most vehement that they can't possibly feel flattered/just say no to men who proposition them for sex, get most vehement that women should feel flattered/just say no to men who proposition them...

Jes, I'm in general agreement with you, except that I think there's a critical distinction between the general horndog invitation experienced by a great many women on a daily basis, and invitations of the kind Sen Craig is said to have issued: the venue for the proposed sexual encounter. The problem with Sen. Craig like behavior isn't that men are being invited to have sex, and it isn't that men who aren't interested are offended by the idea that someone might be inviting them to have sex.* It's about sex in a public place. Which is not what whistling construction workers, or 'hey, you'd be pretty if you smiled' hangers-out seem to have in mind.

* I've no doubt they'd be offended, if they knew, but doubt they do. I have no way to know whether people in stalls next to me at MSP have been tapping their feet all the years I've changed planes there -- it's not on my radar (or sonar), and I think I'm absolutely typical in this.

Just for the record, when I wrote this, all I had in mind -- well, actually, 'mind' might be overstating it, it was late and I was for some reason still reading just a few more articles before I went to sleep -- was the thought: dear God, that's the dumbest opening to an article I've seen in years, at least in a major newspaper (as opposed to, say, a high school paper.) And the sentence 'Let's peer in, shall we?' just made me say: no, and then laugh out loud, to the mystification of the cats.

Which is to say: it was a very slight post on bad writing, not an oblique post on gay bathroom come-on signals. It didn't rise to that level of subtlety. It was late ;)

not an oblique post on gay bathroom come-on signals.

Hmmm...I'm betting no one's ever written that before.

Hmmm...I'm betting no one's ever written that before.

Try watching a CNN segment on cruising etiquette. Which, btw, left the misimpression that the practice came into being 'round the time of George Michael's bathroom incident.

Apparently the producer has never read Chip Delany's The Mad Man.

Also, what Jes said re: Vitters and GOP hypocrisy.

Over at The Corner, Jonah Goldberg parses accusations of hypocrisy against Craig vis a vis gay marriage.

"I'd like someone to walk very slowly through (the) argument that it's hypocritical to (A) indulge in anonymous gay sex in seedy locations and (B) oppose gay marriage. Last I checked, the common definition of hypocrisy involves saying one thing and doing another. Well, Craig wasn't trying to marry anybody in stall #3, was he?"

That's funny enough to let it stand alone, if I possessed the willpower to do so.

Thank God Craig didn't drop to his knees and offer a 3-carat engagement ring to the fella in the adjacent stall. That would have been bigamy. And, I think it's big of Goldberg to point it out.

Lucky too that Craig didn't invade the adjacent stall with several Marine divisions and 900 cruise missiles searching for weapons of mass destruction and to set up a functioning democracy as an example of American exceptionalism to the sports in the surrounding stalls. THAT would qualify as hypocrisy because it violates the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

What's fun about this event is not Craig's predicament, which must be awful. What's funny is the kama sutra of gymnastic political positioning undertaken by everyone and every institution comprising that voracious beast --- the American people.

Oh, and if this doesn't get Tucker Carlson the number one slot on the Beast's 50 Most Loathsome list for '07...

Something else that's rarely been written before: Goldberg has a point. Considering gay relationships both

1. Unsuitable as a basis for marriage, and
2. Best pursued in public restroom stalls

is perfectly consistent. I certainly feel justified in vehement disagreement with both.

jesus, kirchik just dropped to new levels in his post on finkelstein.

he never addresses the substance of the tenure case, which was a travesty. finkelstein was denied tenure on completely trumped up grounds, grounds that are never applied to other cases.

he does not address the substance of depaul's newest action, which appears to be a breach of contract.

it's just slime, slime, slime.

Let us peer in, shall we?

Yeah, I know that "R" is next to "E" on a QWERTY keyboard making it all to easy to inadvertently add it when typing hastily. Combined with overreliance on spell-checking and cursory to non-existent editing ("peew" would have been easily caught) and there you go. Better and more accurate typing would be nice too.

This reminds me of a story....

In college, I approached one of the stalls in the dormitory bathroom, and almost entered, but I hesitated - I wasn't 100% sure whether the stall was occupied, or not. I looked through the crack of the door, but in the bathroom half-darkness I still couldn't tell - I couldn't see anything but dark, but I thought I heard the barest noise. So, I stared and stared and peeked into the crack, and pondered.

Inside the stall, the newest member of the college basketball team, an incredibly-tall, gangly, dark-skinned African-American, was freaking out. Whatever I had in mind, he wanted no part.

Secrets and codes, and a world all unto itself....

Not to disrupt the light hearted mood of the thread but if you suffer from high blood pressure under no circumstances read Matt Tabbi's article on Iraq Contracting in the new rolling stone.

I'd recommend good alcohol levels for that. Then some parts of it could be considered funny (apart from the sick irony to name a company Custer Battles [after the founders not the big a little horny man])

Wow, that was a good read.

I haven't been able to stomach getting all the way through it. Have to take a break. Maybe the problem, as Harmut suggests, is lack of alcohol. I'll have to remedy that tonight at Drinking Liberally.

I am surprised I don't remember the congressional testimony about using bricks of $100 bills as footballs from earlier. Seems like something like that would have made a big splash in the media, or at least the blogs.

Seems like something like that would have made a big splash in the media, or at least the blogs.

The late, lamented Body and Soul had extensive coverage of Custer Battles and many of the other contracting and "reconstruction" scandals from early on.

In fact, for people who have been following these issues closely, there's almost no new reporting in Taibbi's piece, but it's a gripping roundup for everyone else.

Well, I'd certainly heard of much of it, including the literally, er, crappy construction, but for whatever reason I don't remember hearing about the $100,000 footballs. I didn't read Body and Soul often.

I don't remember hearing about the $100,000 footballs.

I seem to remember that from one of the reviews of "Imperial Life in the Emerald City" I think.

I don't think any one is to blame for not keeping track of all the outrages in Iraq such as contracting, military supplies, medical care, deployments, torture, incompetence. Like the movie "Battlefield Earth" (which I had the misfortune of seeing on TV this weekend) it hard to even begin to explain how wrong it is. You get lost just trying to decide where to start.

Nell is correct that most of the stuff has been reported before but this piece put so much of it together that is gets a new quality. It's essentially the same with other bad news that we got used to in small doses* but have the potential to shock us, if combined. The Administration (and the willing accomplices in the media) put a lot of effort into keeping all those things isolated, so they can be portrayed as accidents, bad apples etc.

* e.g. car accidents, rape, people dying from alcoholism/smoking...

I was just flipping around channels and stopped on FOX long enough to hear Charles Krauthammer say (paraphrasing): Thank goodness for people like Barney Frank and Andrew Sullivan who have come out and given a good example to young people because no one should have to keep that part of them hidden. Way paraphrasing, that’s the best I can recall. Still it was a “wow” moment.

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