Dick of the Week, Dec. 27 – Jan. 2: The United States Navy

5 Jan

Yes, the entire United States Navy.  Most of you have no doubt heard by now about the scandal that has been rocking the news for the past week or so about Owen Honors, the (until yesterday) captain of the USS Enterprise.  Now, frankly, the very fact that Capt. Honors was captain of a ship called the USS Enterprise makes us want to squeal like fanboys and debate whether or not he was more badass than Captain Kirk; however, we note with some disappointment that the USS Enterprise is merely an aircraft carrier and that, when we say the entire US Navy are dicks, Capt. Honors is most definitely included in that.

For those who do not follow the news as closely as we do (read: at all), some videos from Capt. Honors past were recently uncovered in which he makes a variety of lewd and homophobic comments, pretends to masturbate, and creates a variety of arguably inappropriate situations with humorous intent.  The videos were made when Honors was second in command aboard the Enterprise, and with his recent promotion to captain, the videos were seized upon by the media and created a public controversy.  Never mind that, according to absolutely everyone involved, the videos were simply supposed to be “humorous skits” to boost morale during long deployments, the media set about making Capt. Honors appear to be the homophobic devil himself.

This is the face of intolerance? Really?

Let’s set that aside for the moment though, and admit that Capt. Honors is kind of a dick.  Let’s face it, this wouldn’t be such a huge story if Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell hadn’t recently been overturned.  But in our minds, that almost makes this worse.  Now, we don’t believe that Capt. Honors is a homophobe by any stretch of the imagination.  Who hasn’t used words like “gay” or “fag” with humorous intent?  We do it all the time, and you’d be hard pressed to call us homophobic.  But the problem is that, with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in effect, it was possible and even likely that at least a few of the crew members in the audience during the screenings of Capt. Honors’ films were gay.  And here’s the thing.  We might say “gay” or “fag” occasionally, but it just isn’t language you use around people who are actually homosexual.  It is offensive, and it isn’t okay.  For Capt. Honors to disregard the fact that he might be placing some of his own crew members in a very uncomfortable position shows a lack of leadership and awareness.  We trust that the videos were made with the best of intentions–hey, we know we’d need a pick-me-up after a few months at sea–but, well, you know what the road to hell is paved with.  Whether he is a man with a good heart or not, Captain Owen Honors is definitely a dick.

But!  The story doesn’t simply end there.  Capt. Honors is not the only dick in this situation; in fact, he may not even be the biggest.  Navy brass fired Capt. Honors from his position on Tuesday, which, admittedly, does seem kind of reasonable.  Honors demonstrated a lack of judgment, and good judgment is something absolutely necessary to command a fucking nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.  But here’s where things get sticky…the videos in question were made over three years ago, and Honors was never reprimanded.  The Navy puts themselves in a tough position here.  If they found the videos acceptable then, which is why he wasn’t punished when first became aware of them three years ago, then he shouldn’t have been fired now.  If the videos were not acceptable then, in which case he should have been punished three years ago, then he probably wouldn’t even be in this position now.  However, the Navy elected not to punish Capt. Honors then, only to turn around to relieve him of command three years later when the videos surfaced.  Personally, we think this makes the Navy a bunch of hypocrites.

And let’s note, we would have stood by the Navy in either case, as long as they showed a little consistency.  If they had taken a consistent stand against videos such as this, that’d be fine.  On the other hand, if they had come out and said, “look, this was for boosting morale.  Until you’ve been alone at sea for months on end with minimal opportunities for entertainment, please don’t presume to judge our officers for trying to make life a little more bearable for their men,” we would have applauded that, too.  Instead, the Navy acted only when spurred to by the media, and bent to external pressure like a Jamaican palm in hurricane season.  Not to sound alarmist or anything, but we’d honestly like to see a little more fight out of one of our major military institutions.

Pictured: the resolve of the US Navy

Capt. Honors isn’t a terrible person, he’s just a guy who made a serious lapse in judgment that made him act like a bit of a dick.  The Navy isn’t horrible either; they just wanted to make the situation go away as quickly as possible and, in doing so, highlighted that a lot of people in administrative roles in the Navy are definitely pretty major dicks.  And of course, let’s not forget that the media are dicks for blowing this entire “scandal” way, way out of proportion–but we have a tough time recognizing the media for being dicks because it’s basically their entire job.  Actually, we can throw Glenn Close in there as another secondary dick, since she actually appeared in one of the videos and has now attempted to distance herself from them as much as possible, calling them “deeply offensive and insulting.”  Oh really Glenn.  She, like the Navy, didn’t seem to have any problem with them until they came to light and risked damaging her public image.  Hypocrisy all around, you dicks.

We’ll sum up by saying that your first Dick of the Week of 2011 is Everyone Involved In This Situation.  They’re all idiots, they all made bad decisions, and literally every single one of them comes off looking like a colossal dick.  It’s not every day that people on every side of an issue manage to make complete dicks of themselves, and when such an issue arises we can’t help but feel that it is our place to recognize them for it.

Congratulations, you win a gold star.

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