The Cockpit
May 13, 2019 10:46 PM   Subscribe

 
I would have expected this to be more of an Air Force thing.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:57 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


A mother who lives in Okanogan who took pictures of the drawings reached out to KREM 2 to complain about the images, saying she was upset she might have to explain to her young children what the drawings were

Yeesh.

I mean, first of all, your kids, if they are old enough to be asking questions, already know what a dick is. For another, it’s not that great of a rendering. Finally, if they ask you what it is, just tell them. It’s plane exhaust.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:58 PM on May 13 [29 favorites]


she was upset she might have to explain to her young children what the drawings were

Fair enough. When the answer is in fact "my tax dollars at work" I'd be upset too. What juvenile bs.
posted by potrzebie at 11:08 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


And if you've ever had your penis probed, you know how painful that can be.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:09 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


i see what you did there

your fly is down by the way

made you look
posted by not_on_display at 11:17 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


There's something comforting about seeing how humanity has from today, all the way into our murkiest prehistory, been drawing dicks.
posted by groda at 11:20 PM on May 13 [18 favorites]


saying she was upset she might have to explain to her young children what the drawings were
Helen Lovejoy is intended to be mocked, not meant to be a role model.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:20 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


One year later, those kids are now doing the weed and listening to the gangster rapping, their innocence long shattered.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:30 PM on May 13 [25 favorites]


“Balls are going to be a little lopsided,” the pilot advised.

“Balls are complete,” he reported moments later. “I just gotta navigate a little bit over here for the shaft.”

“Which way is the shaft going?” the EWO asked.

“The shaft will go to the left,” the pilot answered.

“It’s gonna be a wide shaft,” the EWO noted.

“I don’t wanna make it just like 3 balls,” the pilot said.

“Let’s do it,” the EWO said. “Oh, the head of that penis is going to be thick.”


this sparks joy
posted by taquito sunrise at 12:46 AM on May 14 [47 favorites]


"Mummy, how did the funny face with a big nose get in the sky?"

"I'm sorry to have to explain this to you, but that is not a funny face. Let me tell you what it is."
posted by Kiwi at 12:47 AM on May 14 [10 favorites]


A mother who lives in Okanogan who took pictures of the drawings reached out to KREM 2 to complain about the images, saying she was upset she might have to explain to her young children what the drawings were

What terrified this woman is that she might have to engage with her young children at all.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:50 AM on May 14 [12 favorites]


Yeah, presuming this lady's kids even bother to ask about some non-standard shapes in the sky, can't she just say "Oh, I guess the pilots drew some loops for a training maneuver or something?" Have we as a society stopped habitually lying to children since I was a child?
posted by taquito sunrise at 12:51 AM on May 14 [39 favorites]


I don't believe for a moment that the mom was actually worried about having to explain it. A really detailed, realistic representation? Sure. But this?

I think in this case "think of the children" was just a good hook for a complaint. It's like when your dad grabs one of your french fries "to see if it's got enough salt" -- that's not the actual reason he's ganking your fries.
posted by Bugbread at 1:06 AM on May 14 [18 favorites]


I would have expected this to be more of an Air Force thing.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:57 PM on May 13


Yeah, me too.

(Well, Air National Guard. Otherwise know as Wild-ass Naked Guys.)
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 1:47 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Can we please call it a... tallywhacker?
posted by sagwalla at 2:14 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


"saying she was upset she might have to explain to her young children what the drawings were"

Hope she never has to drive past the Cerne Abbas giant hill figure in England.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 2:53 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


> "While Navy officials said at the time of the incident that the two would go before a disciplinary board, the investigating officer recommended they receive “non-punitive letters of instruction.” [...] “it has caused the United States Navy severe embarrassment in the public arena and jeopardizes the strategic narrative that underpins the justification of the flight hour program.”

It sounds like the punishment for the pilots is going to be proportional to how much this stunt endangers their threadbare excuses for making test flights over populated areas.
posted by at by at 3:33 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


it has caused the United States Navy severe embarrassment in the public [sic] arena
posted by duffell at 3:52 AM on May 14 [13 favorites]


In Soviet Russia, sky penis probes you.
posted by Literaryhero at 3:57 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


“My initial reaction was no, bad,” the pilot wrote in a statement after the incident. “But for some reason still unknown to me, I eventually decided to do it.”

 — the people who defend your nation.
posted by scruss at 5:01 AM on May 14 [18 favorites]


"we turned dinosaurs into sky penises."

Anthropocene summed up.
posted by srboisvert at 5:17 AM on May 14 [28 favorites]


Is there anyone who, given a large enough chalk and an endless canvas, has not at least contemplated drawing a penis?
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:18 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


Sky Penis? That’s my favorite Eric Burdon song!
posted by jonp72 at 5:19 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


With the advent of real-time internet flight tracking, everyone can get it on the fun now!

Another penis
I'm bored
Hello
posted by backseatpilot at 5:24 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


That‘s a plan that went balls up.
posted by Omnomnom at 5:34 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Do they give Pulitzers for headline writing?
posted by slogger at 5:34 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Dick move.
posted by Bee'sWing at 5:34 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Why is it always sky penis and never sky vulva
posted by emjaybee at 5:44 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


Why is it always sky penis and never sky vulva


Sky Vulva changed her name to Dorothy Fleming once her parents had left the commune.

And in any case... meet the female Navy pilot who's been drawing sky vulvas for years.
posted by Devonian at 5:46 AM on May 14 [37 favorites]


Proof that the government is using chemtrails to turn the frogs gay!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:49 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


(and to pre-empt the inevitable, I don't think any site that has "Army to name new attack helicopter after Elizabeth Warren" is entirely trustworthy. But in the spirit of the skydick, I commend it to the house nonetheless.)
posted by Devonian at 5:58 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


You can sing "sky penis" to the tune of "Goldfinger".

That is all.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:58 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


Was a consensus reached on whether it was the cutest little dinghy in the Navy?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:59 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


What that reminded me of, actually, is how I drew cowboy hats when I was a kid: that sideways figure 8 for the brim, and then a big tall loop for the top of the hat. Cowboy hat! Fun!
posted by Orlop at 6:06 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


> Finally, if they ask you what it is, just tell them. It’s plane exhaust.

Or just tell them some pilots drew a penis with exhaust and some pretty decent flying, and if they study hard and stay in school they might also be able to make skydicks.


> When the answer is in fact "my tax dollars at work" I'd be upset too. What juvenile bs.

Eh, I give a pretty wide latitude to soldiers. These are guys whose main job is blowing shit up and killing people. It's literally what they are paid for. No one was harmed in the creation of the skypenis. I think one can stop clutching at the pearls.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:08 AM on May 14 [11 favorites]


Any time we make dick jokes we also turn dinosaurs (and sand and light and wind and water) into penes.

I'm sorry. But I don't buy the story that (sky) penes and other dick jokes aren't sexist. The whole culture is sexist from the foundations.
posted by kalessin at 6:11 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Maybe it was just a coincidence. It does happen.
posted by MorgansAmoebas at 6:15 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


"my tax dollars at work"

Okanagon... is in Canada, so technically it was not our tax dollars at work, and... well, this was just an American "thang" that happened to be visible...

(On edit, I am wrong... apologies...)
posted by jkaczor at 6:16 AM on May 14


You'd think the pilots would be a little more enterprising and earn some money by drawing a corporate logo.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:17 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Yeesh.

I mean, first of all, your kids, if they are old enough to be asking questions, already know what a dick is. For another, it’s not that great of a rendering. Finally, if they ask you what it is, just tell them. It’s plane exhaust.


Well, I had a woman approach me and my children in a park. She pointed to the sky and said "see behind the airplanes? You know what that is, don't you? You are smart kids." I said "water vapor generated from the wing tips." She whispered "No, chemtrails. They are controlling our thoughts."
posted by zerobyproxy at 6:29 AM on May 14 [11 favorites]


I mean, skypenis is all fun and games until girl- and woman-type people, like me, recognize it as announcing who belongs in the sky and who does not. Who gets to determine the rules of the game, and who does not.

Nope, I have never once, given chalk and endless canvas, wanted to draw a dick. So many dicks everywhere, too many on the dance floor, and every one seems to say "you are vulnerable". As a kid, I couldn't understand why men would expose themselves to women -- it seemed like they were making themselves vulnerable. Now I know that any dick anywhere is automatically a sign of power. We can joke all we want that they are ugly or funny-looking (for surely they are), but we also know what it means when a man shows us his dick when we weren't, you know, asking to see it. It means nothing good, honestly.
posted by allthinky at 6:31 AM on May 14 [46 favorites]


Saints preserve us from the "won't anyone think of the children?" people.
posted by slkinsey at 6:38 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


I demand to know why this wasn't in Top Gun.

"Sorry, Goose, but it's time to make penises."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:44 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


It sounds like the punishment for the pilots is going to be proportional to how much this stunt endangers their threadbare excuses for making test flights over populated areas.
So, you do know that no one is ever injured by military jets flying over “populated areas” on “test flights,” right? I’m sure you can actually find a case or two where someone was killed by a piece of debris or something, but there was a woman hurt by a meteor once too. While I am not a fan of the cost of flight training (much higher than you’d imagine), it’s essential to maintain readiness, and the safety of the public is much more threatened by people driving too fast in the parking lot at the mall. Or practically anything else up to and including rabid raccoons.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 6:47 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure it was on Metafilter where I first heard the idea that dick drawings were proxy exhibitionism, a form of "I can force you to look at my cock, look at it, now laugh because it's just a joke can't you take a joke ha ha ha." I don't need a fainting couch or a string of pearls to clutch at at the sight of some sky penis. It's probably not even in the top 1000 on the Bullshit Patriarchy list. But it's still on the list, and every item just draws another underline on the "for us not you" message.
posted by traveler_ at 6:55 AM on May 14 [28 favorites]


I mean, sometimes it's not even in the sky.
posted by xedrik at 6:56 AM on May 14


She pointed to the sky and said "see behind the airplanes? You know what that is, don't you? You are smart kids." I said "water vapor generated from the wing tips." She whispered "No, chemtrails."

You were both wrong! The contrails you see behind aircraft at high altitude form behind each engine, from water vapour in the exhaust. They persist because that added water stays there in the air, along with particles it can condense around.

You can sometimes see short trails forming from wingtip vortices, due to the transient change in air pressure within the vortex, but they're extremely short lived because as soon as the air pressure returns to normal, the water returns to vapour form.

The latter type are therefore of no use for drawing giant sky dongs.
posted by automatronic at 6:58 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Ce n'est pas un pénis.
posted by Frayed Knot at 7:02 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Years ago I worked on a map-based system for displaying and interacting with various types of data. Anything that could be geolocated, really. Photos, video, GPS feeds, locations of equipment and buildings... whatever.

The system had a bunch of drawing tools, for making overlays that you could superimpose on the map. Circles, squares, lines, etc.

And then we implemented a free-form drawing tool, that let you draw your own shapes on the map and send them around as an overlay.

There was a lot of discussion what the icon for that tool should be. We went through a bunch of iterations, with little icons of pens and pencils and wavy lines and other skeuomorphic stuff.

But as the guy who did the user training, I'm here to tell you what that icon should have been: it should have been a dick. Because that's what that tool was. It was a dick-drawing tool.

Every. single. class... as soon as someone figured out what that tool did, they'd use it to draw a big 'ol cock-n-balls and send it to someone else's screen. Sometimes there was collaborative dick drawing! When we added the ability to draw in different colors, we got some pretty good work. Honestly it was some pretty impressive teamwork. Someone would start off with your basic 7th-grade bathroom-stall schlong, then you'd get ball hair, sometimes some squirting liquid... every once in a while someone would go wild and also draw an ass. (Never a vulva, always a butt. Paging Dr. Freud.)

Anyway, give humans the ability to draw, in any medium whatsoever, and I swear to god one of the first ten things someone will draw is a dick.

Somewhere on the moon, I am entirely confident, whether drawn with a finger or footprints or a sample-collection tool, there is definitely a dick.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:04 AM on May 14 [19 favorites]


It is a little weird seeing this amount of casual boys-will-be-boys sentiment on MetaFilter.
posted by salt grass at 7:06 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]


I'm pretty sure it was on Metafilter where I first heard the idea that dick drawings were proxy exhibitionism, a form of "I can force you to look at my cock, look at it, now laugh because it's just a joke can't you take a joke ha ha ha." I don't need a fainting couch or a string of pearls to clutch at at the sight of some sky penis. It's probably not even in the top 1000 on the Bullshit Patriarchy list. But it's still on the list, and every item just draws another underline on the "for us not you" message.

Yeah, this. Sorry that my version of a better society isn't one where insisting everyone enjoy a giant dick in the sky is progress.
posted by Mchelly at 7:18 AM on May 14 [11 favorites]


As with most penis drawings, I can't decide whether to applaud the spirit of resistance or weep for the lost opportunity to spend those resources doing something actually interesting.
posted by eotvos at 7:41 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


I laughed so much when I saw the sky dick and also thought "dayum that's good flight control"

but all I want to read now is the comment that explained a mefi mod's mastery of dick drawing. Restless_nomad I believe... I'll try to find it.
posted by biggreenplant at 7:45 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


I contain multitudes of responses to this.

Hilarity and relief because dicks are funny looking and I’m glad I don’t have one anymore.

Compassion for the folks that are reminded once again that the heteropatriarchy is still a big dickhead in the world.

Irritation at myself for being quite an ass on this website on many occasions.

Feeling fortunate that I’ve reached a point of healing and strength inside myself that I am able to have a more complicated set of simultaneous emotions about a thing without having my trauma step in a flood me out and fuck me up.

So thank you, puerile dick drawers in the sky, for helping me realize that I have indeed, come a long way baby.

And also that this was not in top gun proves that reality is stranger than fiction.
posted by nikaspark at 8:01 AM on May 14 [18 favorites]


Yeah, this seriously feels like a thread from ten years ago somehow got a time machine and inserted itself in 2019. Can't believe I got a "stop being such a prude and let the troops do what they want" take on my opinion that drawing genitals in the sky is a waste of actual jet fuel that my federal tax dollars pay for.

Is this something I'd have to have a penis to understand, or what? Because the urge to draw a dick has literally never crossed my mind, in my entire life.
posted by potrzebie at 8:02 AM on May 14 [10 favorites]


skypenis is all fun and games until girl- and woman-type people, like me, recognize it as announcing who belongs in the sky and who does not.

As a female vet, I have never, ever had this reaction to the constant drawing of penii on every surface imaginable. And having experienced many of these dudes putting penii basically everywhere, it has never been as a method of intimidation. It’s juvenile, but it’s like, ten-year-old humor. It is literally the least harmful humor. “Heeee, a PENIS I have a PENIS penises are TABOO AND DELIGHTFUL” is about as far as it goes.

This is not to say the military doesn’t have problems with sexism and gatekeeping: it definitely does. But you can hear in the recording, they’re clearly just delighted with themselves.
posted by corb at 8:07 AM on May 14 [17 favorites]


Humor cannot be divorced from things like intimidation and violence. It is one of the ways in which humor operates. Jokes function by delineating in crowds and out crowds.

For me, seeing a dick drawing doesn't make me personally feel like I'm not welcome (although I can see how it would), but it does make me feel like some dude is making me think about dick again. Can they just stop trying to make us think about goddamn dicks for more than 5 seconds? Is that humanly possible, in this the year of our Lord 2019?

There's nothing delightful or unharmful about locker room banter, and this is absolutely locker room banter.
posted by sockermom at 8:15 AM on May 14 [16 favorites]


This made me think about an episode of You Must Remember This that focused on Jane Russell and Howard Hughes. Regardless of whether people feel like the penis drawing is just silly and funny or makes a more important statement about patriarchy, Howard Hughes' marketing of the Outlaw was pretty outrageous then and now. He got a skywriter to write "The Outlaw" along with two giant circles with dots in the middle to represent Jane Russell's breasts. Wasn't considered ok then due to prudery, and wouldn't be ok now for more enlightened reasons (hopefully).
posted by freecellwizard at 8:16 AM on May 14


[One deleted. It's fine to have different opinions about what degree of bad this is, but please don't just handwave away concerns that other people have actually bothered to explain here.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:19 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


I have a date with a former navy pilot tonight and this is just making me hornier.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:49 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


There's nothing delightful or unharmful about locker room banter, and this is absolutely locker room banter.

So I think, for me, the defining line between whether “locker room banter”, which in this case seems to be standing in for “sex/genital related humor” is harmful or not, mainly relies on whether the people involved are joking about a thing about /themselves/, or whether they are joking about /others/ body parts.

So the thing about tit drawings - I don’t see men drawing or joking about breasts as harmless - they are drawing objects of sexual desire, divorced from the bodies which have minds and thoughts. Harmful, in my view. But if /I/ wanted to draw my breasts, or “weird things about breasts and what breasts do”, in my view that would be okay, because I possess breasts and the humor is gentle humor directed at myself.

Similarly, I would feel comfortable joking about, say, the weird noises or actions /I/ take during sex, but not the ones my sexual partners do.

I have found a lot of men who delight in thinking about their own penis, and I don’t find that harmful. Where it crosses the line for me is where it crosses into “what the penis can DO to other people.”

So I do find this a harmless joke, but it’s not because they are drawing genitalia and can’t we not be prudes or whatever. I find it harmless because it’s self-delight.
posted by corb at 8:57 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


I find it harmless too, but I also recognize it as an extension of toxic masculinity. I had to have hundreds of hours of therapy to get beyond the abuse I suffered from the hands of boys being boys as I grew up to get to the point where I found the dick drawings on everything as anything other than direct harm. I figure most people can't afford the hours in therapy (but then a lot of people dodged the abuse too and are absolutely confounded when I talk about it having happened). It's a mixed bag, and I understand that my experience isn't the same as everyone else's, which means I tend to like to make room for other folks' experiences of potentially triggering, traumatic, casual sexism.
posted by kalessin at 9:01 AM on May 14 [9 favorites]


I remember when this first hit social media. I thought it was funny. Seeing it today ... still funny.

I do not have a penis. I do not draw penises. To me, it's an equivalent to a fart joke or stupid humor. Yes it's immature, but it's ok to be immature every once in a while, and to have a little fun with it.

It's not a boys-will-be-boys sentiment, it's just a stupid bodily humor that everyone can engage in every once in a while.
posted by hydra77 at 9:03 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Is Metafilter a Boyzone?
● Signs point to yes.

“This was a really bad decision by some really good guys in a really good squadron.” This is what is said every time some privileged white men do something sexist and behave like assholes, or worse. Every. Fucking. Time.

Pearl-clutching, really? No, it is not even remotely acceptable for Navy officers to use extremely serious and expensive equipment to act like adolescents in a way that is stupid and that profoundly contributes to the locker-room, territorial atmosphere that pervades the US military, and the US. Children are harmed by the casual acceptance of toxic masculinity. If you really don't understand this, you have no grasp of sexism.
posted by theora55 at 9:04 AM on May 14 [23 favorites]


Somewhere on the moon, I am entirely confident, whether drawn with a finger or footprints or a sample-collection tool, there is definitely a dick.

The moon? How about rapidly exiting the solar system by way of the engraved plates in the Pioneer spacecraft?

And of course the genitals of women are still a complete mystery and not included in the plaque.

Yep, there's a space penis outside the solar system but no space labia or vagina. But hey, space boobs!
posted by loquacious at 9:16 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


I wanna see them do some ovaries and a uterus. That would take skill.
posted by brookeb at 9:19 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


I have found a lot of men who delight in thinking about their own penis, and I don’t find that harmful. Where it crosses the line for me is where it crosses into “what the penis can DO to other people.”

One of the things the penis can DO to other people is magically appear in front of them, mirage-like, a visage scrawled in ballpoint pen or in jet fuel exhaust, wherever someone (almost always a man) has deemed he wants to scribble it. This isn't the thought police. Think about and laugh about your penis all you want. Think about and laugh about your penis with your friends who also want to laugh about it with you. Making unwitting, random people involved in your penis humor is part of the joke here. It's the whole joke. Why should we excuse this kind of behavior? If you have to draw out a complicated logic map (and one that completely relies on gender essentialism, btw) in order to deem some humor "fun" and "harmless," maybe that's an indication that you are wrong.

I don't know. Haven't we gotten to the point where we can actually hear people saying "I am hurt by this, I am bothered by being forced to think about your dick, or dicks in general, because it makes me feel marginalized and bad"? Come on. I expect better here, honestly. Maybe I'm "just" upset by this because I have to erase dicks on my chalkboard constantly, at a rate that's frankly astonishing for a college classroom. I'm just so fucking tired of being forced to encounter dicks when I'm trying to live my life. If it's a private joke between friends, whatever, have your jocular, "harmless" fun. If you're making me look at it, I'm allowed to be upset. And we should all be aware that part of what makes it fun is making other people feel the way that I feel about this. That is part of the joke.
posted by sockermom at 9:34 AM on May 14 [20 favorites]


It was the work of two junior officers with the “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron 130, who had sky time to kill and noticed that the white contrails their jet produced were particularly robust that afternoon.

This reads like ... fan fiction.
posted by chavenet at 9:35 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


> Somewhere on the moon, I am entirely confident, whether drawn with a finger or footprints or a sample-collection tool, there is definitely a dick.

Well, not only is there a dick drawing on the moon, it's a dick drawn by Andy Warhol. No kidding.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:50 AM on May 14 [15 favorites]


So I completely agree that the incident is upsetting for the reasons sockermom and others are stating. My initial reaction when it happened, and again on seeing this update, was third-grade giggling; I appreciate that folks have stepped up to articulate the not-harmless aspects of it. I wish I had internalized that a bit better at the time; it's work I clearly need to continue to do.

All that said, I do think that the claim that "Humor cannot be divorced from things like intimidation and violence" is overstating things a bit. There is absolutely plenty of humor with no connection to intimidation or violence - I'm not saying this case is an example, but examples certainly exist. Even third-grade potty humor.
posted by nickmark at 10:40 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


I’m a trans woman who laughed at a transphobic dick joke in the movie Deadpool a couple of days ago.

I can laugh at something and be horrified by it at the same time. I don’t know if that makes me canceled or what.
posted by nikaspark at 10:52 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


I demand to know why this wasn't in Top Gun.

It would make the subtext of Top Gun even less subtexty?
posted by nubs at 10:56 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


When I first saw this post, the comment count was 69. I'm disappointed in all of you for ruining that.
posted by brundlefly at 11:27 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]




Oddly enough, today in my BBC news feed, there is a story about a woman who draws vulvas in public toilets. Go sister!
posted by biggreenplant at 12:18 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


I think the way that the original complaint was framed as "but think of the children!" in the article more or less guaranteed a dismissive response, because a lot of the time that kind of argument is trotted out for asinine nonsense like blocking schools from teaching comprehensive sex education or hiding depictions of non-heteronormative relationships in media. So I think "don't be a prude" is a knee-jerk response that a lot of people have to "think of the children", and that it's frequently (but not always) a valid one as well.

And then the other complaint mentioned in the article is about wasting of government resources, but the article already invalidates that complaint by pointing out that the pilots were conducting a routine familiarization flight to maintain their required number of flight hours, so they would have been up there burning just as much fuel even if they had stuck to flying straight lines or abstract patterns or whatever.

Which isn't to defend any particular dismissive comments here or the dismissive commentary in general, but personally I think a lot of blame for the way this thread went lies on the Navy Times and especially the original source on the KREM website for the way they reported and framed this incident. They just took the usual "light-hearted funny story" template and hammered the facts into it rather than interrogating why anybody might have a legitimate reason to be offended.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:01 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


it is not even remotely acceptable for Navy officers to use extremely serious and expensive equipment to act like adolescents in a way that is stupid

I feel like I also have a different reaction on this part perhaps because the entire US military spends an enormous time using extremely serious and expensive equipment to act like adolescents in a way that only a place that puts 21 year olds in charge of supervising 18 year olds can. Which is definitely a problem if you're a fiscal conservative, no doubt! But it's kind of the norm. They waste money hand over fist and don't really have an understanding that things actually cost money and should not be wasted, because they never have to pay for those things at a unit level.
posted by corb at 1:28 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


If there is a problem, I think it's more with "making other people look at your drawings of genitalia" than "making other people look at your drawings of dicks, specifically." In Japan the stereotypical naughty graffiti isn't the penis, it's the vulva symbol (example (SFW unless your boss is Japanese)), but I doubt folks who have an issue with this would have felt better if the pilots drew a big vulva contrail instead.
posted by Bugbread at 3:22 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


This seems relevant to re-mention on this topic.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:01 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


This seems relevant to re-mention on this topic.

American Vandal is really great and I'm glad someone brought it up so I didn't have to.
posted by sjswitzer at 4:07 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


I feel like I also have a different reaction on this part perhaps because the entire US military spends an enormous time using extremely serious and expensive equipment to act like adolescents in a way that only a place that puts 21 year olds in charge of supervising 18 year olds can. Which is definitely a problem if you're a fiscal conservative, no doubt! But it's kind of the norm. They waste money hand over fist and don't really have an understanding that things actually cost money and should not be wasted, because they never have to pay for those things at a unit level.

Yes, but - they were both LTs, which means they were more than likely at least 26 years old. THey were both officers, which theoretically means they should have more maturity than an 18 or 21 year old. They would both have women working with and for them. In fact, one of the things that isn't clear from the reporting is the gender of the pilot and EWO in the other training jet and I wonder about it. The report seems to indicate that they're amused that the other officers noticed and, well, I wonder.

I get the "they drew a dick, hahaha" reaction but I also go down the path of - OK, well if drawing a dick to show your squadron mates is OK if you do it with a jet, is it OK if you do it back on land? What if no one had spotted it in the air but he'd printed out the pictures he'd taken of it and put it up in his office? Or just shown it around on his phone?

It's crap like this that wears on you when you're a woman in the military. Nobody wants to be the person who made a big deal about the dick drawing or the vulgar jokes or the way, on my first ship, the officer who owned the internal tv system would call down to his shop and have his guys rewind the shower scene in Starship Troopers. It's all petty stuff but I'll tell you that my last 10 years in the Navy were all in units that were primarily civilian (I was doing acquisitions) or educational (thank you for the Master's degree, taxpayers!) and the difference between that environment and my first 10 years in training squadrons and deploying units was extreme.
posted by macfly at 4:31 PM on May 14 [15 favorites]


Somewhere on the moon, I am entirely confident, whether drawn with a finger or footprints or a sample-collection tool, there is definitely a dick.
That seems ... quite probable. And I would assume that the guy that drew it assumed "no one will see this before I retire." But we are probably pretty close to being able to image it from an orbiter. On the other hand, there are a lot of boot prints and tires tracks, and pareidolia is something humans are really skilled at. I think the only way we'll know for sure is if he signed it. I am not saying I would have done it, but if I had I'd have signed it. But then I'd probably have deleted the picture from my phone on the way back to Earth.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 6:33 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


If there is a problem, I think it's more with "making other people look at your drawings of genitalia" than "making other people look at your drawings of dicks, specifically."

Bugbread, I don't know you, so I'm going to assume you made this comment in good faith. Here is what you missed: Patriarchy, Sexism, Violence Against Women, Rape Culture, Trauma around Sexual Assault, the Phallus as Power in Western Culture ...

There is no symmetry between genital imagery in the U.S. Pearl-clutching and "what about the children"-ing aside, several commenters have noted what the image of a penis is and isn't for many of us around here.

I've no doubt that the Japanese vulva symbol is about more than "haha naked ladies" ... different cultures do sexism differently.

Maybe review your Patriarchy 101.
posted by allthinky at 6:56 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure why you're being so condescending, as far as I can tell you're saying almost the exact same thing I'm saying.
posted by Bugbread at 7:29 PM on May 14


Hi Bugbread; the difference is that you claimed it was genitalia on display that is problematic and offensive to folks.

I'm saying that genitalia should be inoffensive in themselves (it's just bodies, and all that). But that in our culture, penises are shorthand for power, and the domination of those who don't identify as men, and that's why this funny game is more complicated and harmful than it appears to those who just think genitalia are in general forbidden because haha funny nakedness.
posted by allthinky at 5:55 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


ZARDOZ is pleased.
posted by eisenkrote at 8:43 AM on May 15


But that in our culture

This matters in specific cultural contexts that I myself lack the education and expertise to talk about with any certainty and nuance.
posted by nikaspark at 9:03 AM on May 15


My date went well 🍆🛫
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:09 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


allthinky: "But that in our culture, penises are shorthand for power, and the domination of those who don't identify as men, and that's why this funny game is more complicated and harmful than it appears to those who just think genitalia are in general forbidden because haha funny nakedness."

I can't tell if I'm one of the people you're putting in the "those who just think genitalia are in general forbidden because haha funny nakedness" category, but that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that if you had two dudes draw a giant graffiti vagina, that would also be offensive, because of the whole issue of othering, reducing women to just their genitalia, treating women's genitalia as a on object of ridicule, etc.
posted by Bugbread at 4:25 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


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