Saturday, January 08, 2011

Military culture clashes with political correctness

And PC wins, of course

To no one's surprise, the Navy has fired Captain Owen Honors, commander of the USS Enterprise. Honors, who had served as skipper of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier since May of last year, was sacked after the Virginian-Pilot newspaper posted copies of raunchy "morale" videos that he produced while serving as executive officer of the Enterprise in 2006-2007.

The videos, shown to thousands of crew members over the carrier's closed-circuit TV system, featured Captain Honors using gay slurs, staging "suggestive" shower scenes with female crew members and simulating masturbation.

A story about the videos appeared in Sunday's edition of the Pilot, which also made them available for public viewing through its website. By Tuesday, Honors' fate was sealed, with the Navy announcing his dismissal at a hastily-called press conference:

"After personally reviewing the videos created while serving as executive officer, I have lost confidence in Capt. Honors' ability to lead effectively," said Adm. John Harvey, head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, in Norfolk. Harvey declined to answer questions from reporters.

The long gap between the videos airing on the Enterprise and their appearance at the Pilot website raises obvious questions about the lack of complaints (until now), and the lack of action by Navy leaders.

As for the first issue, it appears that few among the carrier's crew took offense to the videos. In fact, a number of Enterprise sailors, current and former--men and women--have rallied to Captain Honors' defense. As Sara Sorcher of the National Journal reports:

In solidarity with Honors, Facebook groups with titles like “We Support Captain O.P. Honors!“ have garnered thousands of members. Nearly 1,000 have signed a petition to keep him as commander of the carrier, and many have swapped out their Facebook pictures for images of Honors in uniform.

Before Honors became XO of the Enterprise, the mood on board was “awful,” said Kimberly Wooster, 32, who served as an electronics technician from 2001 to 2005 and left because she was so unhappy.

“People were leaving because they couldn’t take it anymore. Even as a strong, grounded person it was just very, very hard. Everything seemed to be disintegrating so fast,” Wooster said in an interview, describing a particularly bad 18-month period where the carrier was not deployed, but crew members were working 16- to 18-hour days, seven days a week.

When asked if other XOs or commanders did anything to boost morale on the ship before Honors, Wooster responded, “Hell no.” “We were not worth their concern or their time,” she said. “I don’t think we even registered on their radar.”

Wooster only overlapped with Honors briefly and said she later received burned copies of his videos. “People were saying, ‘You left too soon. This guy’s amazing. He’s made us feel like it’s OK,’” she said. “It’s not that the job got so much easier, it’s just that someone was finally listening, aware that these are 18- to 24-year-olds who have lost a lot in the last year and they need something to understand they’re not alone.”

Wooster's comments are illustrative, for a couple of reasons. First, she confirms that Captain Honors videos received wide dissemination. If a former Petty Officer from the Enterprise could get copies of the videos, it's reasonable to assume that senior officers saw them too. So, why didn't anyone raise red flags three or four years ago when Captain Honors was producing those tasteless (but amusing) skits?

We're guessing that the brass viewed Honors as an effective leader. Unit morale is one of the responsibilities of a ship XO (executive officer), and it looks like Captain Honors inherited a very unhappy crew on Enterprise. Apparently, most of the sailors appreciated his efforts and we're guessing that the "Big E's" efficiency improved under his watch. So, the brass was willing to look the other way.

Incidentally, we are not trying to condone Captain Honors morale efforts. But the videos that have found their way into the public realm also remind us that the Navy has its own, unique culture. Bawdy skits and offensive humor have long been used to relieve the monotony that sets in after months at sea. It was in this tradition that Honors produced his videos, and judging by the comments on various Facebook pages and other on-line forums, his efforts were appreciated.

But even if his motives were focused on crew morale and mission accomplishment, you still have to ask the essential question: what was Captain Honors thinking? We assume that the former carrier commander was aware that his videos were making their way around the fleet. And surely he knew it was just a matter of time before they showed up on YouTube. The fact they weren't on-line (until the Virginian-Pilot got hold on them) is another testament to the popularity and respect that Honors earned from his sailors.

They understood that on-board "morale videos" were intended for the crew--and no one else. It was one more shared experience that bonded them together during months of training and long periods at sea. It's a concept that is almost alien to anyone who hasn't been a sailor, or part of the wider military community.

You see, there's something about shared hardships and camaraderie that bring people together--or drive them apart. In that environment, you quickly discover which senior officers genuinely care about their troops, and the ones that are more interested in that next promotion. Captain Honors clearly fell in that latter category, even if his efforts at morale-boosting have been deemed inappropriate.

Apparently, the former skipper of the Enterprise didn't understand that his Navy has changed(along with the rest of the U.S. military). Honors is only a couple of years younger than your humble correspondent. We came into a military culture where a certain degree of raunchiness was tolerated, even encouraged.

As a junior intel officer, I knew female colleagues who included "Playboy" shots in their aircrew briefings--just to make sure that no one fell asleep and missed the important stuff. A male officer in my organization used the base distribution system to send copies of his favorite skin magazines to pilots and spooks in other squadrons (he recently retired as a Colonel). And some of the dirtiest jokes I've ever heard were told--in mixed company--by a female officer who also retired as an O-6. Today, the same activities would get them an Article 15--at a minimum--and put offenders on the fast track to an early civilian career.

To be fair, some change was in order. There probably was too much sexism and vulgar behavior in the "old" military, but clearly, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.


Christophobia is OK

The Super Bowl is more than just a huge day for professional football fans. Part of the game's massive audience is there for the chance to see how mega-corporations creatively spend millions of dollars for one Super Bowl commercial. Some Super Bowl ads are brilliant and successful. Budweiser knows it has hit one out of the park when its ad is Monday's water-cooler talk.

But never underestimate the ability of some people to go too far, where talent and imagination are rejected for sophistry and shock. Take the ad geniuses for Doritos and Pepsi Max, who posted on YouTube some entrants in their "Crash the Super Bowl" ad contest. One entry, titled "Feed the Flock," crassly, deliberately mocked Christianity and the Holy Eucharist. Instead of offering the Body of Christ, some priests are shown lining up the faithful to receive Doritos and Pepsi Max diet cola. Their church was sinking in popularity -- until Jesus was replaced by a snack chip.

This is appalling to any Christian who celebrates 2,000 years of reverence for the sacred Lord's Supper. It's especially insulting to Catholics, whose Catechism teaches that the Eucharist is the "source and summit of the Christian life." The communion wafer is not a tasteless snack, in desperate need of Nacho Cheese flavor; it is sharing in the Way, the Truth, and the Life offered selflessly in the sacrifice of the Christ. It is the very Body and Blood of Our Lord.

The ad makers just poured moldy garbage on that. Oh, I'm sure they knew there would be outraged Christians, but there would also be a "free media" bounce, as in some "buzz" on the Internet. Frito-Lay and PepsiCo honored this inane mockery by offering it for more than 120,000 views on YouTube -- before finally taking it down.

It isn't just offensive; it's a blatant violation of their own contest rules, which clearly stated any ad submitted "must be suitable for display and publication on national television (e.g., may not be obscene or indecent, including but not limited to nudity or profanity) ... and ... must not contain defamatory statements (including but not limited to words or symbols that are widely considered offensive to individuals of a certain race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or socioeconomic group)."

Are they dim-witted? No, these businessmen know what they're doing and obviously didn't fear an ad that is offensive to Christians. Never in a million years would they ever countenance the idea of similarly insulting Muslims. As one wag joked on Twitter: "I'm sure any day now we'll see a commercial where Muslims turn their prayer mats to point at the new 2011 Lexus LS."

Our national media, so exquisitely attuned to the monitors of "homophobia" and "Islamophobia," find no offense whatsoever in this online "Christophobia." In fact, in the past, they have either ignored this sacrament-trashing ... or enjoyed it.

They ignored the public radio show that joked about Mike Huckabee's family enjoying "deep-fried" Eucharist; the short-lived NBC sitcom "Committed" with a half-hour plot centered on accidentally flushing the Eucharist; or Bill Maher joking how the Catholic Church should "go gay" and chant, "We're here, we're queer, get Eucharist." But they enjoyed as "thrillingly down and dirty" the ridiculous stage production of "Jerry Springer: The Opera" that mocked the "little biscuit" of a genital-fondling Jesus character who admitted he was "a little bit gay."

These media hypocrites disgust me. Look at how they twisted themselves into the shape of a tasty Mister Salty Pretzel at the "controversy" regarding what quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, were going to say something in a Super Bowl ad by Focus on the Family against abortion. And here's the controversy: Instead of speaking directly of how doctors advised her to abort, Pam talked about her troubled pregnancy: "I call him my miracle baby. He almost didn't make it into this world. I remember so many times when I almost lost him." The A-word was never used.

Still, the media twisted the story to portray the whole pro-life concept as tasteless. ABC's Dan Harris spoke out for "many sports fans" who found it "a great shame" that our national unity over football "could become yet another day where we are divided over politics and the culture wars."

Where is Dan Harris now? Munching on Doritos while sipping Pepsi, I suppose.


"Multicultural" Britain: 'A pack of [black] animals' chased lone British white boy of 16, killed him with a single stab

A teenage gang chased down a 16-year-old like a pack of animals and stabbed him to death, a court heard yesterday. The six youths – one aged just 14 and some wearing their school uniforms – screamed ‘I’m gonna cut you in pieces’, it is alleged.

The Old Bailey heard that they chased Nicholas Pearton and plunged a knife five inches through his back and into his heart. As they made off on a bus, the killers were apparently seen bragging and laughing about the attack, with one holding a knife high above his head as he chanted the name of their gang.

In a sickening gesture of congratulations, two of the alleged killers are captured on CCTV shaking hands as they sat on the bus. Others shouted foul-mouthed abuse about their victim, yelling: ‘I wish the ****er would die.’

As the gang fled, Nicholas’s parents rushed from their nearby home to cradle their dying son who lay slumped on the ground.

His death was the result of rivalry between two gangs, the Black Mafia and the Shanks and Guns, prosecutor Edward Brown QC told the court. He said: ‘Some of the defendants were in their school uniform at the time of the attack – in their blazers and ties.’

It is believed one of the alleged killers had a run-in with a friend of Nicholas’s at Sedgehill School a few hours before the attack in Sydenham, South-East London, on May 5 last year. Nicholas went to help his friends in the Black Mafia gang in nearby Home Park after hearing they were embroiled in a fight with the rival gang. But when he arrived his gang ‘evaporated’.

Nicholas, the only white boy involved, was left alone in the park, making him an easy target, Mr Brown said.

Witnesses described seeing Nicholas ‘running for his life’ as he was chased by the group wielding knives and sticks into Sydenham Road. ‘The forerunner, knife in hand, lunged twice at least and then brought the knife round in a slashing motion into the back of Nicholas as he continued to try to get away. ‘It was one stab. Nicholas cried out. The knife had plunged five inches or so into Nicholas’s back, all the way in. ‘One witness described the defendants as a group of young men acting like animals.’

Moments after being knifed, CCTV footage showed Nicholas dragging his body into the MM chicken shop and closing the door, gripping the handle to stay upright. He collapsed seconds later as one of his hooded pursuers took a flying kick at the door.

Mr Brown said one of the teenagers conducted a ‘head count’ of the gang as they made their escape on a bus, shaking hands in a ‘revealing and sickening gesture of approval to what just had taken place’. ‘Once the head count was done, he said “OK we’re all here...I was sure one of us was going to get nicked”.’ The whole group, described as laughing and joking, were shouting chants such as ‘p***y hole’ and ‘SG boys’.

Six youths aged 14, 15, two aged 16 and two now aged 17, deny murder. They are all from the South-east London area but cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Mr Brown said it was alleged that one of the 17-year-olds stabbed Nicholas, but all the boys had been acting together. He added: ‘More than one was armed with a knife. ‘It may be that the defendant who was able to reach Nicholas first, the quickest runner, was the one who stabbed him.’


Australia: Housing for blacks is standing empty

We see an arguably racist refusal by the bureaucracy to accept the customary Aboriginal lifestyle. Aborigines are very social people and usually live in large groups. A smaller number of large, semi-open houses is what was needed. The small houses actually built are just not wanted by those for whom they were allegedly built. Building a suburban Melbourne house for Aboriginal communities in the tropics is mind-bogglingly stupid. Consultation must have been totally absent

MORE than 40 houses built under the Labor government's indigenous housing program are standing empty in Northern Territory communities. The government has confirmed that only 132 houses have been handed over to tenants, leaving 42 empty.

The news follows The Australian's report that 64 of the 174 new houses now built have two bedrooms - a planning decision condemned as a disgrace by Northern Territory independent indigenous MP Alison Anderson.

A Territory Housing spokeswoman defended the program, saying all 174 houses were connected to services and ready for tenants. "Territory Housing is currently working with tenants to hand over the remaining 42 properties over the coming weeks as tenancy agreements are finalised," she said. "Territory Housing staff work with each tenant to ensure they understand the tenancy agreement before they sign it, and their rights and responsibilities as the tenant."

Ms Anderson said the situation was a disgrace. "Nothing is being done properly and this money is being wasted. The Territory government and the federal government should be absolutely ashamed of themselves," she said.

"If this was happening in Sydney or Adelaide, there would be a royal commission. (The houses are) just too small and you are going to end up having 14 people living in them. A two-bedroom house is not a design for Aboriginal people.

"They are not consulting properly with people. It's their expectations of how Aboriginal people should live. "If you have a look at a two-bedroom house that now houses 14 to 20 people living in it, within a couple of months you will have a problem with the sewerage and bathroom facilities in them.

The 174 new dwellings - a mix of stand-alone and duplex houses - include 106 three-bedroom houses and four of four bedrooms. The new houses have been built at Nguiu on the Tiwi Islands, Maningrida, Alice Springs town camps, Wadeye, Angurugu, Uumbakumba, Milyakburra, Gunbalanya and Galiwinku.

The average cost of a new house under the scheme is $450,000; the average cost of rebuilding is $200,000; and the average cost of a refurbishment is $75,000.

Last night, the government denied opposition claims the program was running over budget, arguing that it was on track and would meet its targets of 750 new houses, 230 rebuilds and 2500 refurbishments within the $672 million budget. An independent assessment of the scheme early last year found the program was on track to achieve its targets.

The government said refurbishments, also criticised by the opposition for failing to substantially fix homes, focused on the parts of a house that had the greatest impact on tenants: safety faults, bathrooms, kitchens and laundries.

Coalition indigenous affairs spokesman Nigel Scullion said a house could not be defined as completed until it was handed over and tenanted, and the government's numbers had been deceptive.

"SIHIP (the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Project) was implemented to address chronic overcrowding and poor housing standards in Aboriginal communities. It is now being manipulated in an attempt to meet minister (Jenny) Macklin's promises. Some of the houses would be as small as one bedroom to ensure the target was met."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


1 comment:

Paul Y. Rusiecki said...

"Ron Smith tackles the removal of U.S.S. Enterprise Captain Owen P. Honors over distasteful videos he shot several years ago. It is ironic, Ron notes, that we live in a culture where people are sensitive about things like that but don't bat an eye at the raunchiest of rap music."

I think Ron Smith misses the point here, or perhaps just one of them. The matter is not over some abstract support or opposition to this or that performance. It's over behavior of a senior officer in the military vs behavior of any citizen. The military demands support from the populace on, among other things, their claim that officers answer to a higher standard of behavior than civilians. To put it another way, I can imagine that if a senior officer put out something like "raunchiest rap music" he or she would probably also be in trouble.

Another reason may be that people don't bat an eye over the average citizen with rap because that citizen isn't seen as representative of the nation or supported by the taxpayer when doing it; the reverse is not true when a senior officer is involved.

Or to put it a third way, if officers want to claim a certain status in the society based on their behavior being in accord with a higher standard then they have to expect to be called on their behavior, to that higher standard.

The call, in every case, may be a good one or a bad one of course, but one can hardly fault it for occurring.