DeLay, and the Frat Meme
Someone forwarded me a link to this story noting lawmakers’ general horrified reactions, and suggested I take special note of Tom DeLay’s reaction to the pictures, which is thus:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said he thought “some people are overreacting.”
“The people who are against the war are using this to their political ends,” he said.
Well, but that’s Tom DeLay for you, isn’t it? Tom DeLay is the sort of partisan hack who, if the Devil showed up in his office sporting cash for the GOP, would be on the horn telling the Republican caucus that he heard that Jesus fellow was a goddamn liberal commie who’d get the crap kicked out of him if he ever set foot in Texas.
I don’t think DeLay is utterly without the capacity to appreciate the pictures, which he described to the AP (not in this particular story) as “Pretty disgusting … Looks like someone was trying to put together a porno film or something.” (Which makes you winder what porn DeLay’s been watching.) However, I don’t imagine it even occurred to DeLay to look at those pictures except through the filter of what advantages they afford his enemies, and therefore, how they must be refuted.
The way to test this is to check to see if you really believe that if this had happened in the Clinton era, that DeLay would say the same thing. There’d be about as much chance of that as there is of me sprouting butterfly wings out of my nostrils. Long story short: DeLay’s a sad little man, and this is just more of the same from him. Let’s move on.
I do note an interesting meme going through the right side of the aisle regarding the torture, which is comparing it to fraternity hazing:
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Houston, said some of the photos were violent, most showed humiliation of the prisoners and some were simply juvenile.
“A number of the photos were just sophomoric like fraternity prank stuff that left you shaking your head, like hazing almost of the prisoners,” Brady said.
Rush Limbaugh also ran with the meme, saying “This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation.” Which of course makes one ask: So they’re sodomizing initiates with glow sticks at Yale? Interesting.
Two things going on here: One, someone needs to do a study why the most ready metaphor for torture a GOPer can reach for is a fraternity hazing, because that’s gotta mean something. Two, in the case of the Limbaughs of the world, it’s an explicit attempt to minimize and infantilize the problem for no other reason than “their side” is under attack, which is a shameful thing to do.
As much as I dislike the general concept of fraternities, I somehow doubt that any of them regularly have initiations where the initiates are anally violated until they bleed (which one of the lawmen reported seeing in the new pictures), or have dogs bite them to the point of severe injuries. And if they do, it’s the same as what it is in Iraq: Torture.