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    Your hairdo is full of diamonds and lice

    This just in: Irreverence seen in costuming at Hallowe’en party:

    Despite a public outcry from gay, Jewish and African American civil rights groups, Virginia Military Institute will allow its own students to investigate a party at which some cadets dressed in drag while others wore Nazi uniforms and still others were in black face.

    Pictures of the Halloween party only came to light on weekend when it was learned they had been posted on the Internet.

    One picture shows three cadets in VMI uniform shirts giving the Nazi salute to the camera. Two of the students are wearing swastika armbands and one had a Hitler-style mustache.

    Another photo shows a cadet was dressed as “a starving African”. Other pictures show two men in tiaras, wigs and eye shadow. Both are wearing underpants and tank tops that read, “I [heart] a man in uniform.”

    There is also a picture of a man in a loincloth wearing dark makeup, and one of a man with a bull’s-eye drawn on the rear of his pants.

    Ooh, tell me more about that one! Was he hot? Did he have a bubble butt to do it justice?

    Unfortunately, the article takes off in a different direction:

    Advocacy groups called the pictures disturbing.

    “There’s nothing funny about gay men and lesbians in uniform right now risking their lives in Iraq,” Dyana Mason, executive director of Equality Virginia told the Roanoke Times.

    “As future leaders in the military, they [cadets] have to understand you can’t make of fun of people at their expense.”

    I agree. It’s too bad the rest of America doesn’t take a cue from us gays, who wouldn’t think of showing up at a Hallowe’en party ironically dressed as a nun (bonus points for studded leather underwear that can be flashed with a lift of the habit), a priest (bp’s for bringing a friend dressed as a corruptible altar boy), a naval officer (Tom of Finland-style, with too-tight and too-unbuttoned uniform), or a rich Reagan-era Republican (who entertains all with cheery banalities about trickle-down economics).

    Is it too much to ask that our flacks remember that there are straight folks out there who have actually…um…met homosexuals? A queer activist who lectures at people about being more poker-faced and pious is asking to be laughed off-stage.

    Added on 1 February: Thanks to Chris and Michael for the links. Since they mean that someone I don’t know might read this, I suppose I should clarify something. (I cut this out of the original post in a doubtless short-lived nod to conciseness):

    I don’t think that it’s possible, even in photographs, to read people’s thinking very well. Those wearing swastikas could have been viciously parodying the Nazis, after the fashion of Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes. Those who gave the Sieg heil! salute could have been taking a rare opportunity to chafe at the hyperdisciplined atmosphere imposed by their instructors by satirizing it. It’s possible that the “starving African” and drag queens are polite and easygoing around individuals of all kinds but are sick to death of PC coercive compassion (to use Camille Paglia’s term) and identity politicking.

    The point that people who enroll at a military academy are signing on to more rigorous standards of behavior, and that they’re going to represent America in official ways that most of us don’t have to worry about, is a good one. But, for pity’s sake, it’s a bleedin’ Hallowe’en party for a bunch of guys in their late teens and early 20s, off the chain for some well-earned carousing. Do we expect them to come as their favorite Mother Goose characters? I could certainly see their superiors’ advising them to err in the direction of avoiding the appearance of evil…by having the kind of party they like off-time and being sure not to–hello?!–post pictures of it on the Internet.

    7 Responses to “Your hairdo is full of diamonds and lice”

    1. Law Dork says:

      VMI Halloween ‘Fun’

      Hosted at 601am. Aaron Bailey says it all there: Similar pictures in the U.K. have recently caused an uproar. Will these in America? It’s doubtful, but one should no less condemn VMI’s ability to laugh at the deaths of millions,…

    2. raj says:

      >Those wearing swastikas could have been viciously parodying the Nazis, after the fashion of Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes. Those who gave the Sieg heil! salute could have been taking a rare opportunity to chafe at the hyperdisciplined atmosphere imposed by their instructors by satirizing it.
      Query why Prince Harry didn’t use the same–um–logic.

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      Because the same ill-advised thing can be done by different people for different reasons. It’s not as if the world lacked for people determined to invent new ways to be stupid.

    4. Sean Kinsell says:

      There’s no way to verify that you are who you say you are (that’s not a criticism–there are lots of good reasons for not using your real name on-line). And I find it strange that a gay group at a military academy would keep a low profile by having a satire-rich Hallowe’en party, though you’re apparently right about Mel Brooks. (Who knew?) No matter who you are, I’m happy to endorse the idea that private parties should be kept private and that youth is the time to have fun of questionable wisdom. Within limits, of course.

    5. Hank says:

      Hey – I went toVMI and know some of the cadets there now – I’m also GAY and so are the cadets who dressede the others up in gay or gay-themed costumes! They are also members of VMIGALA – even tho they are closeted there because they expect to receive military commissions. The Hitler/Nazi thing was also a parody taken from Mel Brooks The Producers now on Broadway (Mel attended VMI) .. the black face in loin cloth was done by, can you believe, an african-american cadet./ So whats the big deal. It was all done inside the barracks – the cadets “home” and only cadets were present … let em have fun – theyre college students!!

    6. Hank says:

      In reply to the post that “theres no way to verify who I am….” go to the website for American Veterans for Equal Rights … and you’ll find me as the National Treasurer … and my bio there says I went to VMI – also check the morgue for The Washington Post and Chicago Trib who have both run stories on me being a Marine Colonel who is gay and went to VMI …. Hank Thomas I am VERY out and Proud of It!

    7. Sean Kinsell says:

      Okay, yeah, there’s a Henry Thomas on the website, all right. Sorry to be uptight and skeptical–you know, the Internet and stuff. Glad it was misplaced, and good for you.