Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

On Larry Craig

Hendrik Hertzberg in his Talk of the Town New Yorker column, “Offenses” cogently summarizes the key aspects of the Craig case in the following terms-

“The story, combining as it does the libidinal and the scatological, has been a comic bonanza. Craig and his associates have proved coöperative in that department. Their contributions include the Senator’s explanation for playing footsie with the cop in the neighboring stall (“I have a wide stance”), his greeting to reporters at the press conference after the news broke (“Thank you all very much for coming out”), his spokesman’s dismissal of the whole business (“a he said/he said misunderstanding”), and the nickname of the Idaho governor, who will appoint a politically if not affectively identical Republican to take Craig’s place if he does get around to quitting (C. L. “Butch” Otter).

Besides snark, the overriding theme of public discussion of the Craig case has been hypocrisy. “I’m not gay,” the Senator insists, and if gayness is an identity as well as an innate predilection he may be right. He is, however, evidently homosexual. Yet he supports permitting job discrimination against homosexuals, opposes letting them serve in the military, favors a constitutional amendment forbidding them to marry, and voted for an Idaho ballot measure that proscribes gay civil unions. He is like the many politicians who have smoked marijuana themselves but oppose legalizing it even for medical use. Hypocritical? Yes. But, in both cases, the fundamental moral problem is not the inconsistency between private actions and professed beliefs. The problem is the professed beliefs.

If Craig has been (as he once described Bill Clinton) “a nasty, bad, naughty boy,” there is little evidence of it in the police report of his arrest. The report, written in a style somewhere between “The Naked Gun” and “Guy Noir, Private Eye” (“At about 1200 hours, I was working a plain-clothes detail involving lewd conduct in the main men’s public restroom of the Northstar Crossing”), describes a profoundly unshocking sequence of events. After exchanging stares with the seated officer through the crack of the stall door, Craig entered an adjoining stall, sat down, and tapped his foot. In response, the cop wrote, “I moved my foot up and down slowly.” Craig touched the side of his foot to the side of the cop’s. Then he swiped his fingertips three times along the bottom of the stall divider. Then he got arrested.”

October 5, 2007 Posted by | Larry Craig, sexual politics | Leave a comment

Larry Craig as Sexual Freedom Fighter

Marty Klein writes an open letter to Senator Craig on his blog calling on Craig to extend himself beyond his personal situation and to reach out to others who have been victims of sexual repression and to advocate against repression of sexual choice, of consensual sex.  Marty advocates this position in the hope that Craig can now identify with others who have been victims of sexual repression, victims of sting operations, and I would also expand it to include students and professors who have been persecuted for their consensual relationships.  I wonder if it is not too far off in the future that academe may employ stings in the form of campus police posing as female students to catch the so-called lecherous professor.

In any case, Marty engages in his wishful thinking knowing that it is wishful and unlikely to occur.  To believe that Craig would  publicly decloset himself and throw off the Republican and Christian values cloak is unlikely,  very unlikely given that Craig’s public stance remains that he has never had an interest in homosexuality.  If Craig does come out of the closet and advocates a sexual freedom agenda, he would have to deal with the Republican and their Christian value cohort viewing him not simply as a sexual deviant but an enemy of the state.  But, of course, anything is possible, if a Klu Klux Klan member can become an advocate of racial equality then maybe in my fantasy thinking/nightmares Larry Craig may become the Angela Davis of the 2000s, advocating for freedom and getting a UC professorship; of course, he would first get a doctorate from UC and maybe do a little blogging as well.

September 7, 2007 Posted by | Larry Craig, sexual politics | Leave a comment

A prayer for Larry Craig from James Mcgreevey

A PRAYER FOR LARRY CRAIG by James McGreevey appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post.  Excellent narrative about growing up with homosexual attractions  and how such attractions were structured in the context of being in the closet.

September 4, 2007 Posted by | Larry Craig, sexual identity, sexual politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Speaking out on engaging in homosexuality but not gay

  Dankprofessor comments follow this emailRestroom Sex

August 28th, 2007


I’m in the middle of cutting Ozark Mtn. Exit 8: Mens Room III as the latest political public restroom sex scandal hits. Of course, this case isn’t really about sex, it’s about hypocricy. Here are the thoughts of someone on a political site (hufffingtonpost.com) that hit the nail squarely on the head:
Craig is not “gay”. By every definition of society, Craig is straight. This is a straight man caught soliciting sex in a public place. PERIOD. Let’s not turn him into a member of a misunderstood, oppressed minority. Craig is obviously someone who is, IN SOME MEASURE, attracted to homosexual sex. That doesn’t make him gay, anymore than my occasional sexual attraction to a female makes me “straight.” I don’t live a straight life nor do I want to. Craig, like McGreevy and Haggard, is a straight man. These men are married with children living with a woman. That sounds pretty straight to me. What Craig is indulging in is not entirely uncommon behavior for straight men, who ever once in a while would like a little homo action.Gay is a personal identity and a set of social and personal choices. What’s confusing everyone is the conflation of the word “gay” with the behavior of “homosexuality.” The assumption being that simply because someone engages in homosexual behavior then therefore he MUST BE GAY! WRONG!  Most homosexual behavior, in human populations, the world over, and throughout history, has been and is engaged in by people who are otherwise partnered with someone of the opposite sex. The boundary between homo/hetero states of mind is fluid and amorphous.

Let’s beat the crap out of Craig for his hypocrisy but let’s not insult and besmirch the reputation and moral integrity of thousands of gay men by associating Craig’s behavior with being GAY. Craig is STRAIGHT.

The DANKPROFESSOR RESPONDS-

This was emailed to me; authorship unknown; and has apparently been circulated via email since 8/28. The writer makes the point in strong terms that most people who engage in homosexual behavior do not consider themselves to be gay. This was the major point I made in my prior posting, a point that has been hard to fathom by the mainstream press and society.  Why?  It should not be surprising that people who engage in homosexuality and do not consider themselves gay will not have a proclivity to write about it or publicly indicate that such is their sexual orientation.  They are the closeted, and understandably the press has more available  to them self-identified gay men who are free to write and be quoted as gay men on whatever issue.  In terms of the student-professor issue, the problem of communication is similar; the campus puritans have driven the fraternizers underground, and it is few professors and even ex-professors and students and ex-students  who are willing to inform others publicly of their realities.  Their fears and their timidity incapacitate them. 

September 4, 2007 Posted by | homosexual, Larry Craig, sexual identity, sexual politics | Leave a comment

Larry Craig and Sexual Identity

Larry Craig’s affirmation  “I am not gay! I have never been gay!” to reporters at his press conference was taken by many with a grain of salt- couldn’t be true if he was hanging around restrooms engaging in hand signals with an undercover vice officer.  But such could be true since many men, possibly the majority of such men who hang around  restrooms for sex with other men do not consider themselves as gay.  If reporters had asked Craig if he engaged in homosexual acts in restrooms, they may have been asking Craig to respond to a more difficult question to answer truthfully. In my work as well as just about all sex researchers, it has been found over and over again that sexual identity and sexual behavior are not necessarily  consonant. Manipulating ones sexual identity to be consonant with ones publicly presented self is not at all exceptional.  The fact that ones sexual behavior is at times dissonant with ones sexual identity can be minimized.  The sociologist Edwin Lemert referred to this process as remaining in the primary stage of deviance, not seeing ones behavior as impacting on ones self as being a deviant or stigmatized person.  For Lemert what facilitates the transition to secondary deviance, the embracing of a stigmatizing identity, is the public labeling of the person; of course, Craig has gone thru such a public labeling, and it is rather safe for one to assume that he was thrown into a major identity crisis as well as a crisis of how he would now engage in a public presentation of self.

What I also found surprising in reference to Craig’s affirming that he was not gay was the implicit assumption by the public media that one was either gay or heterosexual, that bisexuality was not even considered as a possibility.  It is difficult for me to believe that the sophisticated media are so unsophisticated to assume that sexual behavior and sexual identity are always dichotomous.  After doing a blog search, I did find one blogger, Skeeter Sanders, who gave serious consideration to this possibility. Sanders is amazed, and I share that amazement, that  mainstream society appears incapable of acknowledging that bisexuals exist.  Maybe this reflects a chasm between mainstream society and youth culture; many youths embrace bisexuality as being hip and in.  In the mainstream it appears  it is simply out. 

I am also amazed that Sanders made some preposterous remarks in his blog arguing that Craig could not be gay since a man in his terms who was really gay would not marry a woman,and could not father children as Craig fathered three children.  Sanders ends up in never never land when he refuses to consider the possibility of gay men passing as straight, yes even passing as straight with their wives. Such often occurs via homosexual ideation during heterosexual intercourse.  Straight men often engage in this process in prison  by engaging in heterosexual ideation while having sex with other men.  And it is sexual ideation that may be the most significant clue as to ones sexual orientation.  The key question is what one thinks about and/or looks at during masturbation, not whether one is heterosexually married.  Of course, marriage to a woman by a man who was only attracted to men was often in the past the only viable alternative.  If one goes back 100 or so years, the primary sexual identities available at that time in the United States were normal or abnormal.  Heterosexual marriage was the primary way for all men to escape the abnormal label. So in a bizarre way the norm for the so-called abnormal was to engage in normal marriage with normal unsuspecting women.

September 4, 2007 Posted by | Larry Craig, Senator Craig, sexual identity, sexual politics | 1 Comment

   

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