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read more: Boston Herald
[password]Genuflecting to the gods of political correctness, the Navy last week relieved Capt. Owen P. Honors of his command of the USS Enterprise, just weeks before the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is scheduled to head to Afghanistan.
Honors’s offense? Producing and airing crass, comedic videos in 2006 and 2007 as part of the Enterprise’s Saturday movie nights.
Who is Honors? The 1983 Annapolis graduate is a highly decorated Top Gun pilot who has flown 85 combat missions. He was previously the Enterprise’s executive officer (XO), its second in command, and it is in this capacity that he aired the offending videos.
According to sailors who were present, the evenings used irreverent, sexual humor to boost morale and get the crew’s attention for discussions of mundane ship-board topics (water conservation, for example).
The videos include campy sketches of simulated masturbation, women showering together (the water conservation topic), and men waking up in bed together.
In one skit, which seemingly pokes fun at the (now repealed) Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, Honors says, “I’ve got a great idea, let’s go ask the deck mates about being gay. Oh, that’s not a very good idea, is it?”
The bits are indeed cheeky. There is even a disclaimer warning “bleeding hearts” to prepare to be offended. But Honors comes across as a good-natured, equal-opportunity offender – an amateur Jimmy Kimmel.
Yes, the video is crude. And immature. And while it would be inappropriate to air such shows in an ordinary workplace, an aircraft carrier is no ordinary workplace.
It is a place where people live and work, far from home, for months at a time in dangerous, stressful, and sometimes boring circumstances. And so the mirth of a Saturday night on an aircraft carrier cannot be compared to your typical Monday morning staff meeting.
This is not to say that the Navy should have ignored the videos.
Honors, perhaps, deserved a reprimand. (Although many rightly question why the Navy decided to punish him five years after the incidents.)
But can the Navy really afford to discard quality leaders with Honors’ level of expertise – leaders who took years and God knows how much money to train?
Must we jeopardize military readiness in a time of war, so as not to offend liberal civilian sensibilities?
Not so long ago, we celebrated comedic gender-based depictions of military life. Remember the 1970 movie “M*A*S*H,” where Hawkeye Pierce – in real life Donald Sutherland – set out to expose Hot Lips in the shower to determine whether she was a “real blonde?” And the TV-show version in which Klinger tried to cross-dress his way to a medical discharge?
“M*A*S*H” is tame by millennial standards. Today we laugh at “South Park” and “Borat,” flock to the “Vagina Monologues,” and treat Ke$ha and Katy Perry as cultural icons. Yet, ironically, as civilian culture has coarsened, our expectations for our men and women in uniform have become increasingly Victorian, and we are shocked – shocked! – when a Navy captain uses sexual slapstick to try to lighten the mood at sea.
What did we expect? Poetry-readings and “We Are the World” sing-a-longs? (I guess locker-room behavior is now reserved exclusively for “Girls Gone Wild” and, oh yeah, Rahm Emmanuel, Barack Obama’s foul-mouthed former chief of staff.)
If your skin is so thin that you are offended by immature sexual humor, don’t join the military! Because even in an increasingly diverse military, you are likely to encounter – horror of horrors – boys behaving like boys. And that is something no amount of social-engineering by the left can change.[/password]