August 28, 2007

High Solonic Night at the Congressional Bath House

Okay, it's officially getting weird in the Republican Party. The analogies between the decadent phase of the Roman Empire and the twilight of the American Imperium grow more piquant by the day. Or maybe the better comparison is to all that perverted shit going on in the Berlin bunker, circa March-April, 1945.

However we frame it, the Grand Old Perverts are losing control. At this rate, the most likely venues for the Republican Convention in 2008 will be Fire Island or poolside in Palm Springs. Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho, though not for long) is the latest to come staggering out of the closet, busted in the men's room at an airport in Minneapolis. The undercover cop, Sgt. Dave Karsnia, might consider a post-retirement career in noir crime writing, to judge from his incident report. Reminiscent of James M. Cain or early Dashiell Hammett. Craig, of course, is dead meat at this point, but I give him credit for creative explanation. If only someone who wrote less lucidly than Raymond Chandler had been in the next stall...

The most irritating part of the report was realizing what a creepy bozo Larry Craig is. Look, using a rest room for sit-down business in an airport is never a peak experience in any normal person's life. You want to go in, get it over with, and get out, all the while wishing you had planned your life better. You don't want to sit in there and have some sixtyish perv walk up to the crack between the door and the frame, stare in at you, step back, step up and stare at you some more -- then take the adjoining left hand stall, start with a Morse code routine of toe tapping, then begin side slipping his right foot under the partition until it touches your shoe, then finally reach with his left hand under the partition and begin gesturing...

I don't know what they're paying Sgt. Dave Karsnia, but it can't be enough. Maybe he just sits in bathrooms doing these sting operations during the day to support his writing at night. He's working on something that will make us forget all about The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon. His police report is a masterpiece of spine-tingling (and stomach-churning) development. Leading to the famous scene where the Senator, with whatever dignity he has left, produces his business card and asks Karsnia, "What do you think about that?"

Well, I don't know what to think about that. Craig now "regrets" pleading guilty. I just bet he does. Still, it seems unlikely that a United States Senator would plead guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace stemming from the solicitation of homosexual acts just "to get it over with." He thought he could slip the whole thing by public scrutiny, and since there were already media reports about something similar in Union Station in Washington, D.C. last October, the more quietly the better. So no lawyer, no trial, just a guilty plea and a fine. Then the explanations about his "wide stance" while on the john. Lemme see, you're sitting on the toilet and your "wide stance" places your right foot all the way over into the adjoining stall so that it touches your neighbor's foot? I'm trying to imagine the biomechanical advantage of this highly unorthodox maneuver.

Larry Craig, need we say it, is a "family values" freak, anti-gay marriage, a supporter of the Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, or defining marriage as limited to one man marrying one woman, which must disappoint some of his large Mormon constituency there among the Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head suburbs of Idaho. Yet, despite being a men's room hook-up artist, Senator Craig is himself married, with children and grandchildren. So his own gay life didn't break up his heterosexual marriage; if that's true, why should Bruce and Dexter's marriage across the street have any effect? Of course, he denies that he's gay, which involves us in existential epistemology. I guess he just does gay things, while retaining his right to hypocrisy and intolerance as if he didn't. Increasingly, that appears to be the GOP's M.O. Not that there isn't anything wrong with that.

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