Dec 10, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 13 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
It wasn’t long after General David Petraeus’s affair was revealed that progressive types started queuing up to explain that the real problem wasn’t the CIA director’s lack of moral judgement—it’s the repressive nature of military culture. The Scrapbook wasn’t shocked to see this argument rear its head—we always look forward to the requisite eruption of Puritan-bashing and/or France-envy from the chattering classes during a Washington sex scandal. But we were mildly surprised to see the form it took in the pages of the Washington Post.
Laura Cannon, who like Petraeus and Paula Broadwell is a West Point graduate, penned an op-ed for the Post titled “No sex? Permission to speak freely, Sir.” Cannon served in Iraq and seems now to be an aspiring comedian and author. She writes a blog under the nom de guerre “War Virgin,” and her act is loosely based on how her military career and “former Jesus obsession” conspired to make her remain a virgin well into adulthood. For that, she blames General Order No. 1, the rule that bans sex and alcohol while deployed:
I had no idea that a combat zone would be such a sexually charged environment. Blame it on amped-up testosterone pouring out of aggressive, athletic men. Or blame it on combat stripping even the strongest of men and women down to their core, raw emotions. Combine that with forming special bonds with comrades who promise to do whatever it takes to ensure your safe return home, including sacrificing their life for yours. What do you think happens?
Did Cannon really have no idea that a co-ed combat zone would be a “sexually charged environment”? The problem in that case is terminal naïveté, not repression. She is, unwittingly, reiterating an argument against women in combat. Not being distracted by the opposite sex makes concentrating on the life or death tasks at hand considerably easier.
Of course, that’s not to say that there haven’t been examples of women who were exemplary warriors, or that turning the clock back to when women didn’t serve is a possibility. But as we recall, the debate over women in combat went something like this: Opponents argued that this would lead to sexual distractions in dangerous situations, and those in favor insisted that professionalism would win out. Now that it’s clear that sex in combat zones is happening a lot, Cannon and her ilk insist that it’s stupid to insist on any professional prohibitions, with the exception of making sure that sexual harassment rules remain in place. What could go wrong?
Cannon goes even further—aside from sex in combat zones, she thinks the students at U.S. military academies should also be permitted to have sex.
The argument here is pure snark: “Yes, to become a leader of character and serve my country well, it is imperative that I not have sex in my college bedroom.” It’s also true that in college bedrooms outside military academies, students are taking horse tranquilizers recreationally and studying French semioticians with alarming earnestness. The ubiquity of self-destructive behavior among college kids elsewhere is not an argument to lower the standards of the taxpayer-subsidized education of the men and women we expect to lead our military.
And aside from the obvious reasons to dismiss Cannon’s argument, we suspect she wrote this just to get attention. Her Twitter feed consists of little other than blasting the recent Washington Post clip out to famous comedians, hoping they’ll notice her.
If she doesn’t appear to be especially witty or insightful, it seems War Virgin is going to settle for notoriety.
1:03 PM, Nov 12, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Over the weekend, New Jersey senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat who was just reelected, sat for a Sunday interview with CNN's Candy Crowley. They discussed the Petraeus affair, the looming fiscal cliff, and the clean-up after Hurricane Sandy.
But Menendez was not asked about the allegations he faces regarding his own sex scandal.
An American University anthropologist goes rogue.8:45 AM, Sep 13, 2012 • By CHARLOTTE ALLEN
Adrienne Pine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University (AU) in Washington, decided to bring her cold-stricken baby daughter, too sick for the daycare center, along with her to teach her opening class for the fall semester in "Sex, Gender, and Culture."
6:34 PM, Aug 20, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Pioneer Press reports:
The calls for state Rep. Kerry Gauthier to quit politics grew louder Monday, as party leaders urged the first-term DFLer from Duluth to withdraw his bid for reelection following reports he had oral sex with a 17-year-old boy at a Duluth-area rest stop in July.
"We've had Brown, we've tried Gray, now it's time for some blonde," the porn star/candidate says.12:00 AM, Sep 5, 2003 • By BILL WHALEN
RECALL MAKES for strange bedfellows. Arnold Schwarzenegger has coupled onscreen with Sharon Stone. Arianna Huffington and Al Franken hit the sheets, John-and-Yoko-style, to report on the 1996 national conventions. Cruz Bustamante is in bed with the Indian gaming tribes that underwrite his campaign.
And then there's Mary Carey: adult entertainment performer and independent candidate for governor.
Yes, his remarks are defensible.3:55 PM, Apr 25, 2003 • By J. BOTTUM
THERE WAS TRENT LOTT on one side, and now Rick Santorum on the other. Like bookends, they seem to frame the war with Iraq--each subject to an attack in which an offhand comment is taken by opponents for a steed and ridden to death with spurs. Some commentators (and many, many politicians) hoped that in the high seriousness of a nation at war this trend in public discourse would wither away. But it clearly hasn't. Welcome home, boys.
The world's sex slaves need liberation, not condoms.Feb 24, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 23 • By DONNA M. HUGHES
EACH YEAR, hundreds of thousands of women and children are trafficked into prostitution around the world, and join the millions of women and children already entrapped in prostitution by pimps and organized crime groups. Thankfully, this humanitarian catastrophe is finally attracting high-level attention in Washington.
At the end of 2002, former congressman John Miller--who is determined to defeat the traffickers--was appointed as director of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Love and success at America's finest universities.Dec 23, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 15 • By DAVID BROOKS
I'VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME on elite college campuses recently--at Yale, where I taught a course, as well as at Princeton, Dartmouth, Kenyon, and a few less rarefied schools--and while I've temporarily given up on the game of trying to diagnose the ills of America's youth, I have found that things really are different than they were when I graduated about 20 years ago.
For one thing, the students in the competitive colleges are products of an almost crystalline meritocracy.
A complaint about our student loan system.Dec 16, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 14 • By ALLAN CARLSON
IF A GOVERNMENT set out slowly to strangle the family life of its people, what would be the best tactic? One diabolical approach would be to saddle young adults in their early 20s with massive debt. Surely, this would delay marriages, as potential spouses shied away from this perverse form of anti-dowry. Even more surely, this tactic would push back childbearing for a decade or more, as potential mothers and fathers put off having children until their debt collectors were satisfied.
From the November 10 Washington Times: Dan Savage on sex (for it), conservatism (against it), and patriotism (surprise!).11:00 PM, Nov 12, 2002 • By DAVID SKINNER
Skipping Towards Gomorrah
The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America
by Dan Savage
Dutton, $23.95, 302 pages
THE AMERICAN SODOMITES have found their defender and his name is, appropriately, Dan Savage. In his day job, Savage writes a wonderfully lewd sex column in which he reports on a great variety of bizarre sexual practices with chilling and not-at-all self-conscious candor.
Paul Schrader's "Auto Focus" captures the life and times of Bob Crane, aka Colonel Hogan, all-around nice guy and sex addict.11:00 PM, Oct 31, 2002 • By VICTORINO MATUS
BEFORE I EVEN BEGIN my review, let me preface it by saying there's no way I can avoid the occasional use of explicit sexual language that may make some readers uncomfortable or upset. "Auto Focus" is, after all, about Bob Crane, and it doesn't exactly focus on the man's acting career, but rather on some of his more bizarre sexual habits. At this point, if you're still wondering who Bob Crane is and why you should care, there's probably no need for you to read on.
A group that promotes naked supermodels and beer drinking can't be all bad.12:00 AM, Oct 1, 2002 • By MATT LABASH
THE LAW OF AVERAGES dictates that if you spend enough time writing for a living, you will eventually make embarrassing disclosures about yourself. Here is mine: Of all the crank left-wing groups I am paid to periodically encounter, I've always harbored a secret soft spot for my friends at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. This is not an easy admission. For the only thing I like better than eating meat once a day, is eating meat two or three times a day. If they made meat desserts, I'd push for four. Meat and I--we've had some great times together.
At Berkeley wild things are going on in a "Male Sexuality" class. Is this gambling in Casablanca?11:01 PM, Feb 21, 2002 • By LEE BOCKHORN
BY NOW, you're surely aware of the controversy that erupted at UC Berkeley last week over the school's student-taught courses on "Male Sexuality" and "Female Sexuality," sponsored by (of course) the Women's Studies department. Last semester's "Male Sexuality" course featured an orgy; a party game involving matching anonymous Polaroid shots of students' genitalia with the correct student; and a field trip to a gay strip club to watch course instructors strip and have sex.