By lex, on January 8th, 2011
Diana West has an interesting take on the issue of Enterprise‘s CO:
As one retired vice admiral put it to the Post, “What bothers me is that Capt. Honors’ behavior set a standard that allowed for sexual innuendo.”
Funny. What bothers me is that Capt. Honors’ behavior didn’t set any standard at all.
This should come as little surprise. Perhaps the greatest triumph of the Left in the last 25 years has been the junking of military standards regarding the sexes, a set of traditional attitudes that was slow to dismantle itself in the wake of the 1960s sexual revolution. Indeed, the military could be, and was, seen as a bulwark against the social changes wrought by a metastasizing feminism in the civilian world that would go on to kill, among other things, such concepts as “mixed company” and its prohibitions on “bad language” and other social shields. These had allowed for the existence of now-lost refuges such as reticence and discretion, which, in turn, provided shelter for a kind of privacy and intimacy that is all but unimaginable in our over-exposed world of TMI (too much information).
There’s little doubt in my mind that our national culture has grown broadly more coarse and even vulgar in my lifetime, although to attribute that as a “triumph of the left” is, I think, to stretch too far. It is more an unintended consequence of a well-intended movement to minimize any official recognition of difference between the sexes. Men have been given permission to become more feminized, except of course in the military. There the women have to choose between femininity and “fitting in.” Which is harder than it looks.
In the Navy of my youth, bawdy humor was common in the ready rooms at all times, and on competitive display during foc’s’l follies celebrations at the end of a line period. Captains and admirals attended, were targets of japes and jests, which they generally accepted with good humor. They did not participate, as buffoonery was considered young men’s work. The duties of authority including the display of a certain distant gravitas.
When women came to sea in the wake of the Tailhook scandal, there was a period of integration where we tried to determine what were the new limits of acceptable behavior. There were excesses and reprisals, and eventually a kind of stability. The first gender integrated ship I ever served on seemed to be crewed entirely of women, although they were probably no more than 10% of the crew. In time the novelty wore off and all I saw were sailors: Tired, often dirty and universally homesick.
While that was going on, sitting presidents mused about what the meaning of “is” might be in a certain context having to do with Oval Office interns, and the broader culture threw off their slouching and started to race towards Gomorrah. The pundit class ignores this phenomenon but watches with morbid fascination as a senior US naval officer entertains an eager audience of 5000 in a manner more befitting a night club entertainer. Tut-tut.
It is indeed a strange set of affairs, when better judgment and discretion is expected of a carrier executive officer than a sitting US president.