Monday, August 27, 2007

Methinks the Larry Doth Protest Too Much

The cliche is that homophobia is a symptom of repressed homosexual urges. Lately, the Republican Party is living the cliche. Senator Larry Craig, R-Idaho, was arrested in a Minneapolis men's room for "disorderly conduct." According to the arresting officer, Craig made several gestures that the officer recognized as signals used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct.

Craig has repeatedly voted against gay rights measures in the Senate, and has gotten high marks from "family values" groups. On his website, Craig says, "I...still believe the appropriate definition of marriage is a union between one man and one woman." His website doesn't really say what is defined by bathroom-stall shenanigans.


Al-Ozarka said...

Shouldnt you be embracing this fag instead of condemning him, fag-lover?

Archaeopteryx said...

Thanks for your comment, Daddio. I have no problem with the good senator being gay. What part of "hypocrite" do you not understand?

Thy Goddess said...


The word "hypocrite" has a Greek/Latin origin. daddio would be more familiar with the term used in the Bible... "whited sepulcher".

Do I have to teach you everything? :)

Keifus said...

Oh, lewd conduct is so vague, and I want to get my buzz of schadenfreude. Lewd behavior: did he tell someone to fuck off, or did he make sultry motions with a twenty dollar bill to step into the stall.

And what could be ickier than airport bathroom sex? Some entreprenuer should market pay-per-use broom closets or something.


Archaeopteryx said...

Keifus, the linked article is a little more specific about what lewd conduct was. Craig was tapping his foot in what apparently is accepted bathroom-sex code, and waving his hand under the stall wall. In response, the officer waved his badge.

Several years ago, when I was working as the manager of a retail store, a fellow came in and told me that he was going to convert the abandoned gas station on the corner into a bookstore--did I think that was okay? I was very enthusiastic--I love bookstores. I told him I was always glad to have new businesses in the neighborhood. As he was leaving, he mentioned that he was legally obligated to notify all the businesses in the neighborhood about his new business. Afterward, I mentioned to one of my employees that I thought that odd--that we hadn't had to notify the neighbors when we opened up. My employee then pointed out what an idiot I was, not to have realized that the guy was talking about an adult bookstore. This comes to mind, because I later heard (I swear--I never went in myself) that the bookstore had booths similar to what you mention--people could go into the booths and watch porn "together."

Kevin Clark said...

Sometimes I watch "Cops" and they occasionally arrest people for doing things that someone might do if they wanted to buy drugs. Now, I don't mind arresting people for buying drugs or trying to buy drugs, but I do mind arresting people for doing something that someone might interpret as wanting to buy drugs, even though they never actually tried to buy drugs.

It bothers me a little bit that someone is hanging around the bathroom stalls in an airport looking for people who might be acting in a way that could possibly be interpreted as wanting to have sex there. I agree that if there's a problem with people having sex in the bathroom, they ought to do something about it, but shouldn't we require a little higher standard of proof? Shouldn't a person have to actually do something overtly toward that end?

Archaeopteryx said...

Kev, you make an excellent point. As some of the pundits have said, having cops hang around the men's room arresting people for trying to initiate sex is basically harassing them for being gay--straight people can try to initiate sex in bars without having to worry about such a thing. And while we might find the idea of having sex in a bathroom disgusting, unless Craig actually had sex, or suggested sex, then it's hard to see that he had done anything illegal.

As far as I'm concerned, Craig's crime is not lewd conduct, but extreme hypocrisy. As a guy, I'm sure you understand "men's room etiquette." No way does a straight guy wave his hands under the stall, and I don't care what kind of physical deformity you have, or how double-jointed you are, there's no way your foot is going to "accidently" touch the foot of the guy in the next stall. Craig doesn't deny his foot touched the cop's foot ("I have a wide stance when I'm using the bathroom." What?!?) Also, no one pleads guilty to this kind of charge to "make it go away." No, we know what was going on--Craig was trolling for gay sex. Yet he's spent his entire career as an anti-gay "family values" politician. It's one thing to be a closed gay man not fighting for gay rights. It's another thing completely to be a closeted gay man openly campaigning against gays for politically expedient reasons.

Kevin Clark said...

Your knowledge of what Craig supposedly did assumes that the account by the police officer is entirely true and the account by Craig is entirely false. We now have the interview tapes, and Craig maintains his innocence throughout. I think it is probably more likely than not that Craig was soliciting sex, but if we were to apply a legal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, I don't think it's even close. I've served on a couple of juries, and I think it is unlikely that a jury would have convicted Craig. It's just the word of the policeman against Craig, and we have no idea whether the policeman was encouraging people to solicit sex by using signs of his own. Maybe the policeman's own foot was extending too far, or maybe by merely sitting in the stall for hours on end, he was giving a sign that he was encouraging overtures. A vigorous cross-examination of the policeman might be very enlightening.

Your analogy to heterosexual pickup attempts is apt. If a guy tries to pick up a girl in a bar, that's not generally considered lewd conduct. Even if Craig was trying to pick up the guy, how would anyone prove that what Craig had in mind was sex in the bathroom? How do we know he wouldn't have suggested they get a hotel room, which have been entirely legal? Why didn't the policeman try to actually ascertain Craig's intent before arresting him?

Regarding hypocrisy, that seems to assume that there can no grounds for opposing gay marriage other than hatred of gays. Why can't someone make a judgment, entirely apart from his or her own sexuality, that gay marriage is not good for society? Is it impossible for someone to both be gay and not think that their own conduct is normative? People do things all the time that they realize isn't the best thing or the best thing for everyone. Or they support policies that aren't personally the best for them, but they think are for the common good. Sometimes that is even considered virtuous.

People have temptations, and don't always live up to their ideals. Craig might actually be happily married and have certain temptations that he gives in to from time to time. That's not hypocrisy, it's just being human.

Anyway, I feel sorry for the guy, just like I feel sorry for Bill Clinton that he got swept up in embarrassing sexual revelations. You can't live things like that down. Every time Bill Clinton goes into a room, people think of him with his cigar. And every time Larry Craig goes anywhere, people will think of this. That people think he should resign over this shows just how intolerant we really are.

Archaeopteryx said...

I don't think what Craig did should be illegal. I also think you're probably right that had he gone to trial, there's no way he gets convicted. Like I said, I don't think that's the issue.

People have temptations, and don't always live up to their ideals. Craig might actually be happily married and have certain temptations that he gives in to from time to time. That's not hypocrisy, it's just being human.

Here is the only place I disagree with you: Giving in to temptations is indeed human. Not living up to your own ideals is indeed human. Denying equality to gays when you're gay yourself is the definition of hypocrisy. Craig has made a career out of his intolerance. It's very tough for me to dredge up much sympathy for him.

Kevin Clark said...

"Denying equality to gays when you're gay yourself is the definition of hypocrisy."

I don't know how familiar you are with the Bible, but Jesus tells a story about a servant of a king who owes the king a lot of money. He begs the king to give him time and he'll repay the whole thing. The king is moved to mercy and forgives the servant's entire huge debt. That servant then goes out and sees another servant who owes him a little bit of money. The other servant says to give him time and he'll pay the whole debt. The first servant, though, will have none of that and has the man thrown into jail.

I bring it up because that is the definition of hypocrisy--wanting a certain kind of treatment for yourself which you are unwilling to extend to others. If Craig went to Vermont and married a man, that would be hypocrisy. As far as I know, Craig has never sponsored a bill trying to make overtures for sex in the mens' room a federal crime.

Archaeopteryx said...


1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.

Seems to me that Craig meets both definitions.