Diana West

That was fast. Sunday, the Virginian-Pilot posted a montage of lewd, "morale-boosting" videos that Capt. Owen P. Honors starred in, directed and broadcast to the crew of the USS Enterprise dating back to 2006-2007 when he was the ship's executive (number two) officer. Tuesday, the Navy fired Honors, now captain of the ship, citing a "profound lack of good judgment and professionalism."

Not, take note, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. So, now what? With the Navy, the Washington Post reports, set on a "broader investigation into whether senior Navy officials knew about the 4-year-old videos, and why they failed to take disciplinary action against Honors," we once again seem to be embarking, rudderless, into the dangerous waters of the hydra-headed purge, gathering, sharpening, steeling, lusting for suspects. But of what crime? Not the one I would charge the unfortunately named Capt. Honors with.

The post-Tailhook Navy fetish, of course, remains sexually oriented -- or, more accurate, sexual-orientationally oriented. (In the guise of an aviator persona, Honors lets fly some homosexual putdowns in the video, and later encounters same-sex couples in the shower.) As one retired vice admiral put it to the Post, "What bothers me is that Capt. Honors' behavior set a standard that allowed for sexual innuendo."

Funny. What bothers me is that Capt. Honors' behavior didn't set any standard at all.

This should come as little surprise. Perhaps the greatest triumph of the Left in the last 25 years has been the junking of military standards regarding the sexes, a set of traditional attitudes that was slow to dismantle itself in the wake of the 1960s sexual revolution. Indeed, the military could be, and was, seen as a bulwark against the social changes wrought by a metastasizing feminism in the civilian world that would go on to kill, among other things, such concepts as "mixed company" and its prohibitions on "bad language" and other social shields. These had allowed for the existence of now-lost refuges such as reticence and discretion, which, in turn, provided shelter for a kind of privacy and intimacy that is all but unimaginable in our over-exposed world of TMI (too much information).

Which is more than sad. I think it has driven people a little berserk. Indeed, there is something quite possibly certifiable in the behavior of an aircraft carrier executive officer simulating masturbation on a "movie night" video to boost his crew's morale.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).



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