Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nudge, nudge, say no more ...

I really don't care if some congressdude is gay or not, even if he is a hypocrite and a "horrible right-wing Christian extremist, who's actively demonized gays".

What really shocks me and pisses me off is that "fidgeting" with one's fingers, peering through a stall crack, placing a bag by the stall door, tapping ones feet and passing one's hand under a stall divider all constitute some sort of crime. Seriously, that's all Idaho Senator Larry Craig appears to have done, and he was arrested because these are things believed to be done by "by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct." Seems like we are approaching the realm of thought-crime here ... it's not like he actually yanked the cop's noodle or anything.

Too bad Craig's such a chickenshit that he pleaded the charge out hoping to make it disappear, because I would really like to see a good lawyer challenge the idea that any "crime" actually occurred. Of course, I'm of the opinion that if one is going to engage in sex (gay or straight) in an airport, courtesy demands that one confine it to a restroom or other suitably semi-private place. And don't be a screamer, please. Back when Paul Rubens was arrested for whipping it out during an X-rated movie, my first thought was "If you can't wank in a porno theater, where can you do it?"


Phil said...

Re: Peewee -- well, as long as the theatre provides disposable seat covers.

Barry Ragin said...

although i'm not convinced of your point, enough people i respect have made it that i'm forced to think on this more thoroughly. However, as far as i can tell, the charges to which Craig pled guilty were not sexual charges, but the more general "misdemeanor disorderly conduct." Staring in through the door crack at someone sitting on a toilet taking a dump maybe shouldn't be a crime, but it's pretty damn creepy if you ask me.

on the other hand, i can't in any way consider a public restroom in an airport a "semi-private" place. It's not.

Barry Ragin said...

although i'm not convinced of your point, enough people i respect have made it that i'm forced to think on this more thoroughly. However, as far as i can tell, Criag pled guilty to "misdemeanor disorderly conduct," which is not in and of itself a sexual crime. Peering through the door crack at a guy you don't know sitting on a toilet in a men's bathroom maybe shouldn't be a crime, but it's pretty damn creepy, if you ask me.

on the other hand, i simply can't consider a public bathroom in an airport a "semi-private" place. It just isn't.

Lisa B. said...

I was being a little facetious about the whole public bathroom thing. But I still don't think what he did was even "disorderly conduct." Sometimes if the stalls are built in such a way that I can't readily see feet, I'll peek (albeit discreetly) through a crack to see if the stall rally is occupied before I push on the door (in case the lock is faulty, which they often are). So in and of itself, stall-crack-peering shouldn't be considered a crime.

Plus I'm willing to bet that something about the cop's occupation of that stall gave a signal that he may be open to Craig's overtures--I'm not well-versed enough in gay men's bathroom cruising etiquette to know how one signals such a thing, but I'm sure there is something one does to indicate a willingness to entertain offers.

But I just don't get bent out of shape at the idea of guys yanking noodles in a public restroom. Of course, a public figure should be more careful ...

Barry Ragin said...

I think there's abig difference between checking discreetly to see if a stall is occupied, and staring through the doorcrack for several minutes.

i've been approached in public and not so public places more times than i can count (although as i've gotten more and more deeply into middle age, it's much less frequent), usually in a much more direct manner. while i generally didn't welcome it, i never felt like a crime had been committed, and a simple "no, not interested," was always enough to dissuade further

i'm sure there's a whole vocabulary for communicating sexual desire and availability of which i remain more or less ignorant. so who knows if i said or did anything communicating something of which i was unaware.

with all that, though, there remains a pretty mainstream prohibition against unwanted sexual solicitation or display in public places. surely the Senator is aware of that. and it seems that enough members of the traveling public complained about that activity in that particular bathroom that someone decided to do something about it.

were the arresting officer's actions any different than a prostitution sting, which happens with regularity in most any town or city in the US? seems to me they were not.

we can argue that any sexual activity between two or more consenting adults should not be against the law, and i would tend to agree. but that doesn't mean that any old place is OK.

bottom line in Craig's case, for me, is that he pled guilty to the disorderly conduct charge for a reason. while we can only speculate, it seems pretty obvious is that the reason he did so was to try to avoid public discussion. why he'd want to keep it out of the spotlight is also, i think, obvious, especially given the reactions of his fellow conservative Republicans.

besides, don't you think a US Senator, one of the hundred or so most powerful people in the world, should be able to fly for a few hours without going "man, i need to get my cock sucked." You don't have to think too hard to imagine a situation in which Craig is trading votes or other favors for sex, or worse, voting against the interests of his constituents to avoid public disclosure of his habits.

Lisa B. said...

Well, the whole thing just doesn't put my undies in much of a bundie. I get so weary of all the hullabaloo that gets made over sexual foibles in this country. Even if they take place in a public bathroom. I just don't care and you can't make me!

I also think prostitution should be legal.