Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Survey says Whhhhhhaaaaaaaat?
July 22, 2010 10:35 AM   Subscribe

The Pentagon is currently surveying the troops to gauge their opinion towards gays and the repeal of Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell.  It has recently come to light that previous surveys were done about the fighting man's opinion of 'blacks' and 'jews'.

Here's a sampling from Think Progress' Wonkroom:
  • There is nothing good about Jews.” (Agree: 86%, Disagree: 13%)
  • “Jews are out to rule the world.” (Agree: 27%, Disagree: 73%)
  • “The Jews always get the best of everything.” (Agree: 30%, Disagree: 70%)
  • “You can always tell a Jew by the way he looks.” (Agree: 61%, Disagree: 39%)
  • “Jews are the biggest goldbricks in the Army. (Agree: 51%, Disagree: 49%)
  • “A Jew will always play you for a sucker.” (Agree: 48%, Disagree: 52%)
  • The surveys (here and here) are written from the majority perspective (implying defect in the minorities), and given the responses (and framing of the questions by military, political, or civilian 'leaders'), it's incredible that we even fought World War II.
    posted by rzklkng (71 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

     
    Well, it may have something to do with the fact that we didn't fight World War II because we were really worried about saving the Jews.
    posted by proj at 10:37 AM on July 22, 2010 [17 favorites]


    I like that we don't care what they think about killing, just do it, but when it comes to tolerance we better step lightly for fear of potentially offending a bigot.
    posted by DU at 10:38 AM on July 22, 2010 [13 favorites]


    but when it comes to tolerance we better step lightly for fear of potentially offending a bigot.

    Now, now. Let's not bring Brietbart into this.
    posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:41 AM on July 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


    As social mores become more accepting, the institutions we create become more accepting. In order to judge how to change the institutions, you need to judge how the mores have changed, and one easy way to find out how people feel about [group] is to go ahead and ask them.
    posted by paisley henosis at 10:41 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Did they ever do a survey about guys named Brooklyn? What about Guys Who Get Yellow Right Before The Big Battle?
    posted by drjimmy11 at 10:43 AM on July 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


    Well, it may have something to do with the fact that we didn't fight World War II because we were really worried about saving the Jews.

    Yeah, my understanding was always that most Americans were sympathetic to Nazi attitudes toward the Jews at the time, and the American eugenics movement held a great deal of influence over the powerful elite and ordinary Americans alike. It was only after Pearl Harbor, when it became clear that the axis was just as determined to conquer us as it was Europe, that Americans truly became interested in fighting the axis.
    posted by saulgoodman at 10:45 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Nate Silver had some harsh words about that survey...
    posted by schmod at 10:46 AM on July 22, 2010


    if their feelings have changed about the minority [black, in this case] after serving with them. (Interestingly, 77% of respondents said they had more favorable opinion).

    I am surprised at hell that it is this low. I'm willing to guess that it's due to the "oh, I always thought that negros could do just fine" self-deception.
    posted by Lemurrhea at 10:47 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


    saulgoodman: Yeah, my understanding was always that most Americans were sympathetic to Nazi attitudes toward the Jews at the time, and the American eugenics movement held a great deal of influence over the powerful elite and ordinary Americans alike. It was only after Pearl Harbor, when it became clear that the axis was just as determined to conquer us as it was Europe, that Americans truly became interested in fighting the axis.

    American eugenics actually inspired lots of German eugenicists. And after Pearl when people were running off to enlist, many of them insisted on being deployed in the East, some because they wanted to fight directly against the people who attacked the US, and some because they felt like we should not be at war against the Nazis.

    Many, many Jews died in Europe because they were refused entry to the US, and the Jews who came here and tried to tell people what was happening there were at best ignored, and not rarely the victims of violence.
    posted by paisley henosis at 10:50 AM on July 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


    So they are checking up on "don't ask, don't tell" by asking and telling? Brilliant.

    I'm still hoping that someday the policy will be simplified to: "don't care."
    posted by chavenet at 10:50 AM on July 22, 2010


    I think it's also interesting how they regionally broke out the states. The South is, well, the South. What we would refer to as the Mid-Atlantic (along with Appalachia) are border states, and everything else is "the North".
    posted by rzklkng at 10:52 AM on July 22, 2010


    As social mores become more accepting, the institutions we create become more accepting.

    Look up some history on desegregation - it's actually the other way around. The institutions change, and then opens the doorway for social mores to change. People didn't spontaneously decide to let women vote, let black folks go to the same schools, let anyone intermarry across racial lines, live in any neighborhood. Even today, we're still pushing for equality and the primary method is legal action... as enforced by institutions. Just as often, the problems, like DADT, are also, enforced by institutions.
    posted by yeloson at 10:52 AM on July 22, 2010 [13 favorites]


    "I just took DOD's confidential DADT survey of the troops - three times!"
    posted by ericb at 10:53 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Yeah, U.S. history is moving along just as it always has. We don't like women/blacks/Jews; oh wait, I guess they're ok now since I've been standing next to them for X years and haven't died or anything. Same thing will happen with gays. Who's next?
    posted by Melismata at 10:56 AM on July 22, 2010


    • “Gays are out to rule the world.” (Agree: 97%, Disagree: 3%)
    • “You can always tell a gay by the way he talks.” (Agree: 71%, Disagree: 29%)
    • “Gays are weak and ineffectual.” (Agree: 69%, Disagree: 31%)
    • “A gay will always pay you for a sucker.” (Agree: 78%, Disagree: 22%)
    posted by Houyhnhnm at 10:58 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


    It's been surprisingly quiet (from my point of view) on the base where I work about the DADT survey. It was announced maybe a week after Gates ordered the review, and it seemed like most people thought of the survey as something-we-are-being-ordered-to-do, no questions asked. I have not heard a single comment otherwise, positive or negative, about letting the "queeahs" (this being New England) in This Man's Army.

    That being said, homophobia is RIFE around here. I quite often hear the "witty banter" that was the staple of my high school cafeteria - You're gay! No, you're gay! Bullshit like that.

    The worst example of this was on a business trip a few months ago, where I heard this very serious discussion between two Air Force civilians:

    A: One of my neighbors is a lesbian couple.
    B: Yeah, I have a gay couple that lives near me, too.
    A: They're surprisingly nice people. Very nice people.
    B: The couple near me is very nice, too.
    A: Do I think they're gross? Absolutely.
    B: Oh, I totally agree with you.
    A: Do I think what they're doing is awful and wrong? You bet.
    B: Definitely, totally.
    A: But they're very nice people!

    Replace "lesbian" with "black" or "Jewish" and I'm sure a similar conversation has happened any number of times in the past decades.
    posted by backseatpilot at 10:59 AM on July 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


    What the heck is the reason for administering these surveys? These are soldiers, and they are supposed to follow (ethical) directives, right? So why do we need to know whether they do or don't like the directive to live tolerantly and civilly and without engaging in discriminatory words and deeds toward their fellow soldiers, whatever their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin . . .??
    posted by bearwife at 10:59 AM on July 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


    Dan Choi officially discharged

    But it's all about "incremental change", I'm told.
    posted by Joe Beese at 11:00 AM on July 22, 2010


    “There is nothing good about Jews.” (Agree: 86%, Disagree: 13%)

    Not until they get this meshugah army business out their heads and get that degree and settle down there isn't!

    (The army, Herschel? You're breaking your mother's heart.)
    posted by griphus at 11:02 AM on July 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


    A gay will always pay you for a sucker.

    HA!

    Oh, that was a typo.
    posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:02 AM on July 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


    That fivethirtyeight link above is an interesting analysis of the survey, but even that falls short a bit.

    In the edit at the bottom, he states that he has a problem with the hypotheticals regarding soldiers who are asked to use their gaydar to answer questions about comrades who they think are gay. But then there's a whole section of the survey which deals with how soldiers will react to serving with gay servicemembers. But how do any of those taking the test even know how they will react? If you're living and working in an environment which routinely removes gays and lesbians from service, and a good portion of the rhetoric tossed around casually is denigrating to homosexuals, how can there be any good assessment of future behavior based on reality? It's all conjecture, it's all springing out of a culture of bigotry, and I don't see how it's measuring anything other than individual soldier's biases and not the institutional threat or non-threat of ending DADT.
    posted by hippybear at 11:02 AM on July 22, 2010


    Er, it sounds like they're surveying soldiers so they can see what the current state of attitudes are towards gays serving. Not "when it comes to tolerance we better step lightly for fear of potentially offending a bigot.". Unless I missed something. [In other words, I don't see any clue that they're considering gating the policy on these results]

    I mean, even if the top brass was 100% on board with gay members serving openly, committed to doing it, etc -- you'd still want this data so you could judge how much effort you're going to have to put into getting the assholes in line. I don't think anyone doubts there will be resistance. If 90% of soldiers were already OK with it, and the hysteria was largely due to conservative media personalities, it's a big difference from if only 50% were OK with it; in terms of the resources you need to bring to bear to shape everyone up. The army can always be a bit more rough at forcing compliance, but with the current state of troop levels it can't afford to fire half the soldiers --- so they would have to make serious attempts to change minds.

    On the positive side, if they do it right, we'd have a whole generation of soldiers with improved feelings towards homosexuals. Didn't the integraiton of the army, and especially all the black and white soldiers serving together in Vietnam [possibly other wars too, but most of the discussion I've seen on this focused on Vietnam], have a positive effect on race relations?
    posted by wildcrdj at 11:02 AM on July 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


    From the Main Findings, pp. 9-10:

    6. Men who believed the Hitler government had some right on its side in treating the Jews the way it did, that the Jews in Germany had suffered little or not at all under the Hitler government, tended to have relatively unfavourable attitudes towards Jews.

    7. Men who were relatively unfavourable towards Jews tended also to be against the more extensive use of Negroes in the army.

    10. Officers were more inclined to condem the Hitler government for its treatment of Jews than enlisted men. Officers were also more inclined than enlisted men to believe the Jews in Germany suffered much under the Hitler government.


    This is all fascinating. Also I don't think I've typed the word "Negro" since I used it in quotations from Black Like Me while doing a book report in 8th grade.
    posted by DarlingBri at 11:05 AM on July 22, 2010


    > Nate Silver had some harsh words about that survey...

    Everyone should read this. There are some serious issues with the way that survey is designed that make it very likely to report an overly negative view of gays.
    posted by christonabike at 11:05 AM on July 22, 2010


    Obligatory
    posted by clarknova at 11:06 AM on July 22, 2010


    Does the army do these kind of surveys out of its own institutional bigotry or based on its assumption that the average soldier is an bigot?
    posted by oneswellfoop at 11:09 AM on July 22, 2010


    A: But they're very nice people!

    Well, it's true! I am very nice people!
    posted by rtha at 11:10 AM on July 22, 2010 [8 favorites]



    These sort of things scare the shit out of me. Think about it, to most of the people who have opinions that you or I consider reprehensible, it is perfectly rational and justified. Then I think about the civil rights movement of not too long ago and realize, "wow, that was even a discussion... they actually had to debate whether or not to provide freedom to all American citizens," then I think about women's suffrage, slavery, and the ridiculousness gets progressively increased the further I go back.

    I look at my personal beliefs which, to me, see perfectly rational and moral. I wonder what people will think in 100 years, and what part of my ideology will be considered ignorant and offensive.

    The only one I can think of is:

    Locking the door to a bathroom stall and crawling out from underneath the door is a fairly humorous prank.
    posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:10 AM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


    Who knew that US soldiers read the Guardian?
    posted by TSOL at 11:12 AM on July 22, 2010


    I look at my personal beliefs which, to me, see perfectly rational and moral. I wonder what people will think in 100 years, and what part of my ideology will be considered ignorant and offensive.

    The best part about this is that you can't really think about this openly without provoking:

    "There's no way that they're at all similar. [Belief that is commonplace] is in no way comparable to [belief we now find offensive] and by doing so you're minimizing the plight of [group of people]."
    posted by ODiV at 11:20 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


    My grandfather served several tours with the Army Air Corps in WWII. We talked about his military experiences a lot in the years before he passed away. He said he experienced a lot of antisemitism, and then in his final tour, he was busted a full rank for slugging a superior officer who called him a "dirty kike."

    The "Jewish Threat" is an exhaustively-researched book which documents antisemitism throughout the US army, from the turn of the 20th century through the '70's. It's an interesting read, although he sort of over-reaches in his final conclusions.
    posted by zarq at 11:20 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Thus, this entire portion of the questionnaire is fairly useless: it more measures the relationship between gossip and unit morale than anything having to do with homosexuality per se. Although this might be modestly interesting as a sociological experiment, any conclusions that it purports to come to about the impact of DADT on morale should be ignored.

    I'm not sure I agree entirely with the part of Nate Silver's analysis quoted above.

    It all depends on how the results are interpreted. As Silver correctly points out, these questions and responses will likely lead to biased results that could be interpreted as evidence of a correlation between low morale and actual homosexual service in the ranks--but on the flip side, they could also be used to argue that open service of homosexuals would have a net positive effect on morale. Why? By pointing out that speculation about homosexuality in the rank may be disruptive to group cohesiveness and one of the factors contributing to low morale within a unit. Presumably, if gay soldiers could serve openly, there'd be less opportunity for divisive speculation about sexual orientation.

    That doesn't really change Nate Silver's broader point--that these particular questions leave too much open to interpretation and may lead to statistically biased results, but there's a lot of room for different interpretations and it isn't clear how these statistics might be used/abused. One could very well argue, I think, that if a correlation obtains between excessive speculation about sexual orientation and low morale, an equally valid interpretation of the data is that repealing the policy of DADT could actually help improve morale by eliminating the cause of this potentially disruptive form of speculation.
    posted by saulgoodman at 11:20 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


    From what I've read, the current survey does rankle me with its "On a scale of 1-10, 1 being "I love rainbows", 10 being "I think being in the same room with a faggot will give me cooties", just how icky do you find gays?"

    However, I think the current survey -- as well as the ones used in regards to blacks or Jews -- is something that can be useful to create a strategy as to how policy should be changed.

    (Personally, I thought orders came from the top and were supposed to be obeyed, but I do realize the real life armed services is a lot more layered than that on display on Gomer Pyle, USMC.)

    What they survey shouldn't be used for is to determine it whether or not policy change should happen.
    posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:21 AM on July 22, 2010


    The results are troubling, yes.

    But it's also useful to keep in mind that today's military posts are among the most integrated communities in the U.S., ">and have been for some time. This article is from 1966.
    posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:23 AM on July 22, 2010


    These are soldiers, and they are supposed to follow (ethical) directives, right?

    One measure of success would be issuing the survey 6 months after changes, a year, etc. If you're consistently getting:

    “There is nothing good about Jews.” (Agree: 86%, Disagree: 13%)

    Obviously your doing it wrong. If your surveys come back with a marked decrease in the agree column, month after month, you're having some measure of success.
    posted by geoff. at 11:27 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Had I known that the army felt this way about Jews, I would not have served twice!
    It did not take long to discover that there was a good deal of antisemitism in our army. As for blacks: in WWII the army was segregated and only got integrated in 1950 (under Truman).
    In peacetime--that is, prior to 1950 and after WWII--the bulk of the regular army were from the South--same thing, by the way, prior to West Pointers before the Civil War.

    Main point: Our govt did not poll the general population to bring about desegregation, so why should the military poll its members on changes it feels are necessary, useful, just. Did they ask for a vote on invading Iraq?
    posted by Postroad at 11:27 AM on July 22, 2010


    It sucks that people have to learn the lesson over and over again for each demographic. Oh, black people are okay. Oh, okay, Jews are okay, too. Asians? Okay, fine, Asians are okay. Non-Muslim Arabs? Okay, okay. Gays?

    How about just stop being prejudicial morons, period? Do we really need to have a new fight every generation about who gets to be considered first-class citizens?
    posted by callmejay at 11:28 AM on July 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


    I think wildcrdj's comment has a huge amount of merit. This is not a referendum on gays in the military. This is a poll on current attitudes from serving personnel towards gays in the military. Please note that in previous surveys, attitudes towards Jews and black people was largely hostile but the integration occurred anyway.

    I'm 100% sure the results will show that current personnel are overwhelmingly hostile to the idea of gays in the military. I am not assuming the current command will use that as a reason not to repeal DODT. I actually see this survey as a very encouraging sign.
    posted by DarlingBri at 11:30 AM on July 22, 2010


    Repeal Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Paves Way For Gay Sex Right On Battlefield, Opponents Fantasize
    posted by homunculus at 11:40 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


    I wonder what people will think in 100 years, and what part of my ideology will be considered ignorant and offensive.

    Oh, I can think of a few things (not you personally, Bathtub Bobsled). Our treatment of Hispanics. And immigrants. Our overreacting to (some levels of) sex offenders. Our lawsuit-happy culture. "What? A guy's business was ruined because he forgot to warn the customer that the coffee was hot? What an awful thing to do!"
    posted by Melismata at 11:41 AM on July 22, 2010


    19. Fags should be: (please choose one)

    ◦ In my foxhole
    ◦ Not in my foxhole
    posted by rusty at 11:42 AM on July 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


    Oh, that was a typo.

    Nope, just a cheap joke.
    posted by Houyhnhnm at 11:44 AM on July 22, 2010


    Army Times has done some polling too. Less official obviously.
    An exclusive survey of some 3,000 active-duty troops shows such opposition has fallen sharply from nearly two-thirds (65 percent) in 2004 to about half (51 percent) today.
    More here.
    posted by lullaby at 11:46 AM on July 22, 2010


    But that's the problem with the survey: NO useful information comes from a poll or survey that's inerently flawed.

    In collecting sociolinguistic data from endangered people groups in Africa, we had to be meticulous in the way we developed our surveys because survey bias completely ruins the outcome. Because human beings can be manipulated in a number of ways to provide answers that support any conclusion if the survey is skewed toward that end.

    This DADT survey wouldn't have passed muster even in our introductory coursework. It's clearly skewed with the default expectation that, essentially, soldiers must have SOME degree of reluctance to serve with gays and the survey is there to determine to what extent they don't want gays serving openly. Nate Silver nails it.

    If the results come back that show the military is resistant to gays serving openly, that tells us nothing at all, because the survey was biased toward that conclusion from the beginning. Garbage in, garbage out.

    And the political ramifications of having a survey come back with such skewed results is really frustrating, considering how it will most assuredly be parroted in the pathetic forum that is our credulous, shallow mainstream media. I can see the CNN chyron already:

    "Pentagon survey: military uncomfortable with gays serving openly."
    posted by darkstar at 11:48 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


    In related statistics:
    • 73 percent of military personnel are comfortable with lesbians and gays (Zogby International, 2006).

    • Majorities of weekly churchgoers (60 percent), conservatives (58 percent), and Republicans (58 percent) now favor repeal of DADT (Gallup, 2009).

    • Seventy-five percent of Americans support gays serving openly - up from just 44 percent in 1993 (ABC News/Washington Post, 2008).

    • In 1993, RAND Corp. concluded that openly gay people in the U.S. military do not negatively impact unit cohesion, morale, good order or military readiness. An update of this study should be completed in the next 90 days.

    • Several other military-commissioned and GAO studies have concluded that open service does not undermine military readiness, troop morale or national security.

    • Today, there are at least 66,000 gay Americans serving on active duty and one million gay veterans in the United States, according to the Urban Institute.
    More research and polls.
    posted by ericb at 11:50 AM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


    Main point: Our govt did not poll the general population to bring about desegregation, so why should the military poll its members on changes it feels are necessary, useful, just. Did they ask for a vote on invading Iraq?

    My understanding of the poll is that it's meant to inform the policy review and eventual roll-out plan for changing the current policy, not to be a determining factor in the decision making. The change in policy itself is basically a done deal. It's just a matter of settling on specific steps and a time line for getting to the goal line in a way that won't be viewed as disruptive by military officials.

    According to Army Times:
    The survey is one part of the work of the Comprehensive Review Working Group, established by Gates in the wake of President Obama’s call to reverse the 17-year ban on open service by gays, which Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen endorsed during February testimony. Since then, the full House has passed a reversal of the law, as has the Senate Armed Services Committee.
    posted by saulgoodman at 11:54 AM on July 22, 2010


    The poll is poorly written. As were the old polls. However, part of leadership is preparing.

    I served before DADT. Where there was good leadership, there was no gay bashing, racist or sexist crap. Where there wasn't, there was.

    So, while I wish the poll was less leading, I have some sympathy for the Pentagon wanting to come up with a plan. I just fear they'll bugger it up.
    posted by QIbHom at 11:55 AM on July 22, 2010


    It has recently come to light that previous surveys were done about the fighting man's opinion of 'blacks' and 'jews'.

    Anything about 'ditherers'? As in:

    Q. You are attempting to complete a mission with an overworked, undercompensated crew but are finding yourself stymied by the inadequate resources. Additionally, a major link in your chain of command is holding up progress due to an impractical insistence on making up data to "justify" or "debate" foregone conclusions. What is your best recourse?

    (a) Passive aggression
    (b) Patience
    (c) Friendly fire
    (d) Yeah, let's say friendly fire
    posted by kittyprecious at 12:19 PM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


    "I look at my personal beliefs which, to me, see perfectly rational and moral. I wonder what people will think in 100 years, and what part of my ideology will be considered ignorant and offensive."

    Peta-style animal rights?
    On the one hand, if society becomes more prosperous, cruelty need not be as tolerated.
    On the other hand, the march of civilization means tolerance is also decreasing for people swinging their fist beyond one's nose (eg restrictions on smoking, emissions, noise, etc), and animal ownership is caught in this (must scoop your dog poop, leash laws, etc).

    So... more rights for the animals, and more restrictions on their owners?
    posted by -harlequin- at 12:31 PM on July 22, 2010


    1. It is next to impossible to write an impartial, non-leading questionnare. At the very least, it requires a lot of effort.

    2. I see this all the time in the government, the corporate world, and now, in the military: It's a shitty move to claim total leadership 364 days a year, but dish the big decisions to the subordinates on the 365th day. Fucking lead, step down and let somebody else lead, or make the operation a democracy.
    posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:43 PM on July 22, 2010


    Great threat to our nation, or GREATEST threat to our nation?
    posted by blue_beetle at 12:46 PM on July 22, 2010


    I have some sympathy for the Pentagon wanting to come up with a plan. I just fear they'll bugger it up.

    If that happens, will they all have to be discharged? I mean, the law's the law, after all.
    posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:49 PM on July 22, 2010


    rusty: "19. Fags should be: (please choose one)

    ◦ In my foxhole
    ◦ Not in my foxhole
    "

    There's no such thing as a atheist heterosexual in a foxhole.
    posted by griphus at 12:52 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


    How about just stop being prejudicial morons, period? Do we really need to have a new fight every generation about who gets to be considered first-class citizens?

    One of the more peculiar generational differences in America between people who were born before, during and immediately after WWII and those who were born much later is that the earlier generations were fed an ongoing "diet" of astonishingly racist and sexist images by popular media. That changed over time, but those views and beliefs were ubiquitous.

    Most people forget (or don't realize) how widespread and accepted racism was in those days. And it extended deep into the 70's. A simple example: the first season of the show MASH featured an African-American character named "Spearchucker." The Jeffersons featured an African American lead who called white people "Honkies."

    Perhaps when the older generations die off, it'll be less of an issue. Perhaps not. Religious fundamentalism seems to be an unending fount of prejudice. In the meantime, we're still fighting over who gets to be a first-class citizen.
    posted by zarq at 12:53 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I guess they're ok now since I've been standing next to them for X years and haven't died or anything. Same thing will happen with gays. Who's next?
    I'm going with furries.
    posted by foldedfish at 12:57 PM on July 22, 2010


    The first season of the show MASH featured an African-American character named "Spearchucker."

    I believe that "Spearchucker" threw the javelin in college and acquired his name that way. I'm not sure if Richard Hooker wrote it this way because he thought it was funny to be able to use a racial slur in a "totally legit" way or if he was deliberately trying to defuse the power of the slur by using it in a different way.

    Also note that Oliver "Spearchucker" Jones is a surgeon and not some useless slacker horndog (although given the source there's no reason he couldn't have been both, I suppose).
    posted by It's Never Lurgi at 1:06 PM on July 22, 2010


    Can you really post these numbers without indicating when they are from?
    posted by grobstein at 1:07 PM on July 22, 2010


    This is a poll on current attitudes from serving personnel towards gays in the military.

    Here's an interesting fact: some serving personnel in the military are gay. Always have been gays in the military, always will be. The question is not whether there should be gays in the military but whether politicians and military command have the balls to be honest.
    posted by binturong at 1:35 PM on July 22, 2010


    I'm not sure if Richard Hooker wrote it this way because he thought it was funny to be able to use a racial slur in a "totally legit" way or if he was deliberately trying to defuse the power of the slur by using it in a different way.

    It's been many, many years since I read the book. My impression at the time was that it was the former. But I could be wrong.

    Good point about him being a surgeon -- Jones was actually a neurosurgeon.

    Television deserves credit for its efforts to reduce racist stereotypes. And yes, the Jeffersons and All in the Family both used slurs in an attempt to try and defuse them. Still, we don't have to look all that far back to find real racist stereotypes in entertainment media.
    posted by zarq at 1:38 PM on July 22, 2010


    They're from the document in the "jews" link, grobstein.
    posted by griphus at 2:24 PM on July 22, 2010


    So, first they want soldiers to shower with blacks and jews... and now they want to add gays into the mix?

    Sounds too crowded to me. There's not even a requirement that they be physically appealing, or good at scrubbing your back! Really... Can't these people get their own showerhead?
    posted by markkraft at 2:30 PM on July 22, 2010


    These sort of things scare the shit out of me. Think about it, to most of the people who have opinions that you or I consider reprehensible, it is perfectly rational and justified.

    I feel the same way about that sitting/standing thread a little while back.

    you standers are still monsters
    posted by FatherDagon at 2:39 PM on July 22, 2010


    This reminds me of how weird it seemed when I watched Inglorious Basterds, because it seemed to totally play to the retroactive view of Nazis as "those dudes who are totally evil because they did the Holocaust," when at the time, that was not exactly a big concern among Americans (to the degree it was even known), and many Americans (especially conservatives) probably would have considered anti-Semitism one of the things Hitler got *right*. No pun intended.

    One of the ways you can tell Pat Buchanan is a true, old-school American Conservative is the way he occasionally writes things that suggest that maybe Hitler got a bad rap. One of the big paleo-Con vs neo-Con divides is that the neo-Cons switched to hating Arabs instead of Jews.
    posted by edheil at 3:24 PM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


    The United Nations should get a convention together and modify the rules of war so that everyone in any military must be homosexual. This would reduce the size of everyone's army, making war more limited. War would be scaled down but the victor would still get the spoils. And there would be some really sharp uniforms. And marching routines.
    posted by llc at 8:42 PM on July 22, 2010


    Coincidentally, I was reading A Training Guide On Homosexual Conduct Policy just a couple of days ago.
    posted by unliteral at 8:44 PM on July 22, 2010


    I thought the title was terrifying, and then I saw the cover.
    posted by rtha at 8:56 PM on July 22, 2010


    This video which is now posted on youtube has been making the rounds in the military.

    I don't think we would have seen something like this 20 years ago.
    posted by JujuB at 8:57 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


    This video which is now posted on youtube has been making the rounds in the military.

    I had no idea there was so much dancing in the army. There are dozens of those videos! Hilarious.
    posted by fshgrl at 10:48 PM on July 22, 2010


    One of the ways you can tell Pat Buchanan is a true, old-school American Conservative is the way he occasionally writes things that suggest that maybe Hitler got a bad rap.

    Yep. He's a throwback to the bad old days when the movement was flooded with Birchers.

    One of the big paleo-Con vs neo-Con divides is that the neo-Cons switched to hating Arabs instead of Jews.

    That was Bill Buckley's doing. Interesting how it all worked out. Buckley worked hard to reshape the conservative movement into something more in line with his own values, an anticommunist libertarianism which distrusted the encroach of government and supported Israel. His efforts helped marginalize the antisemitic Birchers within the Conservative movement, which created bipartisan political support for Israel. It also heralded the rise of a neocon movement which would prove to be more acceptable to liberal American Jews.

    The embrace of the conservative movement is yet another deal with an all-too familiar devil for American Jews, who feel they need to support Israel at any cost. In this case, the cost is dealing with people who blatantly disrespect their religious faith. Buckley published essays declaring that Catholics should convert Jews to Christianity. He may have attacked the neo-con movement while he was alive, but that legacy lives on in them.
    posted by zarq at 7:06 AM on July 23, 2010


    This video which is now posted on youtube has been making the rounds in the military.

    "In now [sic] way are they gay the were very bored so they wanted to entertain themselves."

    Sure... That's how it starts, isn't it? Idle hands, etc etc.

    But seriously, if their impression of what having gays in the military will mean is more dance parties for the troops, I don't see how that can be a bad thing.

    And can someone get me the phone number of the hot bear at 0m24s? Holy fukin' woof!
    posted by hippybear at 8:43 AM on July 23, 2010


    LOL! You know, when I saw that dude in the video, I immediately thought "Yeah, there's one for hippybear..."

    and send the fella at 0m39s over to my place why not
    posted by darkstar at 9:43 AM on July 23, 2010


    « Older I find your lack of faith disturbing...   |   Lessons from a Tailor... Newer »


    This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments