Monday, January 3, 2011

We Are All Screwed

Just watched the infamous, nefarious videos from the USS Enterprise's XO-cum-CDR.  You can find them at this here link.  I got the link (I think) from CDR Salamandar.
I've heard a lot of hemming and hawing about the videos, and how much CPT--oops, Capt Honors had to do with making them, and how offensive they are and that any officer who would promulgate, let alone star in, such videos obviously has displayed a gross lack of judgment.  Okay.  I'll critique the film.
-I'm an Army guy, not a fucking squid, so I may well misinterpret or flat-out get wrong some of the cultural stuff.
- I don't necessarily like the Navy.
-I have, however, a lot of Joint time under my belt.  Not much time, though, working with Navy surface warfare or aviation guys.
-the only time I've ever been on aircraft carriers was to lilly-pad off of them, so I am absolutely unqualified to comment on carrier operations, culture, lifestyle, or humor.
That, said, let me comment on carrier operations, culture, lifestyle, and humor.
The videos were funny.  Sure, the use of the pejorative "fag*" was used a couple times.  This was done by the XO's aviation "alter-ego" aviator toward the SWO.  Uh, other than the use of this heinous word, fag, the skit was a dig at naval aviators, who are often caricatured as looking down on everyone, especially at surface warfare guys.  Note, too, that the SWO always hits back, usually by flipping the bird, although my favorite hit-back was, when masturbation was the subject, by stating "you've got the smoothest hands on the ship" or something like that.  This can be interpreted to mean:
1) you do less work than anyone on the ship
2) your hands are so sleek and smooth because you jerk off more than anyone on the ship
3) I know your hands are so smooth because you spend so much time jerking me off
or 4) any combination of 1-3, which are all pretty funny going from a surface guy to an aviator.
So, the "fag" comments were, in my admittedly unschooled estimation, a way of poking fun at the aviators, not the fag SWOs.  It was satire.  Get over it.
Apparently, other than the fact that "fag" was used, the use of the term and concept of "masturbation" was deployed for comic relief.  Gee, who'd've thought that on a ship with 6,000 crew members, deployed for 6-9 months, where fraternization with the opposite sex is cause for disciplinary action regardless of marital status, masturbation would be a running joke?  And to actually mention it and joke about it on the ship's CCTV?  Scandalous.  I am shocked and appalled.  Not.
Without a dog in the fight, let me just say that this guy (CPT, oops, I mean Capt Honors) was probably going above and beyond in trying to entertain the crew and humanize the chain of command.  The Navy's rank structure is, in my experience, a lot more hierarchical than the Army's (much to the chagrin of a lot of senior Army guys).  A Captain, in the XO position, is neigh unto a God upon the waters.  The fact that a lot of the humor actually poked fun at and holes in the persona of the XO (e.g., waking up with guys in the sack with him; threads of continuity to rum, sodomy, and the lash, anyone?) shows that the guy was demonstrating that he wasn't an automaton.  I'd be willing to bet, sight unseen, that if one were to view all the content of all of the XO's videos, one would find all kinds of admonitions to maintaining the standard, upholding the traditions of the Navy, and going above and beyond to support the war on terror.
I read some talking head somewhere that stated "the XO of that sized ship is pretty busy, how'd he have time to do anything else?"  Because, numbnuts, he had a couple guys working production, and he made time out of his schedule to do something that--right or wrong--he viewed as good for the crew.  And he has the time to do it because he only sleeps 2-3 hours a night.  See that part about him taking a shower with his comms unit in a waterproof baggie?  I'm betting that was only partly in jest.
To relieve a guy for these videos (made, I hear, two or three years ago), is a sad statement on the military.  How about standing up for the guy, putting the vids in context, and explaining to the great unwashed punditry the cultural differences between a ship at war and the salons of PC circle-jerkery in the beltway?
All I can say is:
-thank God I never made any videos. Not that I'm ever going to get promoted again or be in command of something comparable to an aircraft carrier.
- If this is cause the relief of a proven, wartime leader, we are all screwed.

*In my job, having hung up the guns and now devoted to typing, filing, and making coffee, I'm known as a Former Action Guy.  Hmmm, what acronym do you think I have to live with?

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