Simper Fi

by John Derbyshire


You write

My dad, a former Marine, wouldn’t let me indulge my growing appreciation of the King of Pop because he was suspicious of his high pitched voice and crotch-grabbing.

Nowadays your Dad would be drummed out of the service for an attitude like that.

The vignette about seeing two male Marines kissing is part of a list of scenarios to help instructors prepare commanders for incidents likely to arise.

“Situation,” it begins. “You are the Executive Officer of your unit. While shopping at the local mall over the weekend, you observe two junior male Marines in appropriate civilian attire assigned to your unit kissing and hugging in the food court.

“Issue: Standards of Conduct. Is this within standards of personal and professional conduct?”

The answer to Marines: “If the observed behavior crosses acceptable boundaries as defined in the standards of conduct for your unit and the Marine Corps, then an appropriate correction should be made. Your assessment should be made without regard to sexual orientation.”

In the matter of Elizabeth Taylor, I’m as clueless as you are, in spite of having lived through her entire non-juvenile movie career. She never did a thing for me, acting or any other -wise. I can’t explain this. The only word-association I can dredge up to match her name is the character based on her in Gerald Browne’s clever 1972 novel 11 Harrowhouse, who at one point says to the character based on Richard Burton: “Roll me a joint, wouldya? I think I feel like ****ing.”

I disagree with you, though, that “Faithfulness, children, enduring marriage, and stretch marks” are not sexy. I’ll take ’em over airhead glamour any time.

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