The New Republic‘s recently fired editor, Spencer Ackerman claims that his drift to the left is what caused his firing, and no one here is likely to find that surprising. But that is not the topic here. The topic is how Aker-MAN said it.
From Michael Calderone’s New York Observer column:
Mr. Ackerman said he had clashed with Mr. Foer over various editorial matters. But he said that he had fallen from favor after growing disenchanted with the invasion of Iraq, which he and the magazine had both supported in the beginning.
â€œI definitely, for lack of a better term, drifted leftward,â€ Mr. Ackerman said. â€œThe Iraq war will do that to you. The Bush administration will do that to you.â€
Mr. Ackerman had been acting out, by his own account: telling a colleague it â€œwouldnâ€™t be the worst thing in the worldâ€ to get fired â€œfor being too left-wingâ€; declaring in an editorial meeting that he would â€œskullfuckâ€ the corpse of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to establish his anti-terrorist bona fides.
Now, allow me to turn to a highly eupehemized scandal in Germany right now. Nine German soldiers assigned to the NATO occupation of Afghanistan have been busted for posing with the skulls of dead Afghans. “Posing.” Other accounts say “desecrating.” In fact, in at least one of the pictures, a German soldier has his dick out of his pants in the suggestion that he is about to… “skull fuck” it.
For those not in the know, I am about to break the code of omerta with the fraternity of men. This term is common military parlance, and more and more among American (and German, too, it seems) males. When you really want to prove you male “bona fides,” you talk about humiliating the enemy, by removing the eye from a corpse and “skull fucking” it.
For those newcomers and lurkers and men who don’t get it yet, how much more perfect an example could I give of the association of male sexuality with violence, aggression, and the humiliation of the (real or symbolic) female victim. And what better example of many liberal and leftist men’s cluelessness than this masculinity-donning remark by Spencer Ackerman in the context of complaining about being red-baited off of a magazine staff.
Men, language like this is not one whit more excusable or acceptable or defensible than racial epithets or ethnic slurs. But had Ackerman discussed “jewing people down” or “nigger-rigging” or any of the other shit we’ve managed to at least run off the public stage in the interest of some facade of decency, lefty blogs would be lit up like an NSA communications board, in an attempt to see who could level the harshest condemnation. Yet the implication that reception of a penis — which most men desire from women — is synonymous with the desecration of the enemy dead, seems to drift along with hardly a rustle of the leaves.