Friday, May 24, 2013

Nothing against the BSA, but....

...what I primarily remember from my brief tenure in the Boy Scouts of America, was learning to curse like a sailor.

All the swear words I know (with the exception of a few Shakespearean terms I picked up in college) I learned in the Boy Scouts.

And I never made it past "Tenderfoot."  Or whatever the starting level was; it was long ago, and I was hardly an enthusiastic adherent to the cause.

Not, in other words, exactly seeing a moral breakdown going on here.   What I remember of the BSA was that it was no better or worse an institution than any other I had been involved in up to that time, and other than using church buildings for meetings of the troop that weren't outdoors on campgrounds, I never thought of it was a particularly religious institution, either.  The churches had the space, after all; that seemed to be the long and short of it.

Not really seeing a problem of  bowing to the whims of the majority, either.

It's funny when the majority shifts, that suddenly the majority shouldn't rule. The entire "ethical" basis for not accepting the GLBT community as ordinary people was that the majority of the world had never done so.

Now that argument is lost, suddenly the majority is not the ethical yardstick. Of course, there is no ethical yardstick here. Just complaining because the majority is no longer...the majority.

Happy Scouting, y'all.


  1. I was in it for three weeks, hated it, didn't even wait to buy the rest of the uniform (I inherited the shirt and neckerchief) before I jumped from the boat. It wasn't the woodscraft, that would have been good. It was the para-military stuff, the uniforms, the ranks, etc. Yech! One of my brothers-in-law is big into it. Spends all his spare time on "courts of honor" and stuff like that.

    There was a gay scout master in our town, every single person who was aware of him knew he was gay, the Boyscout upper eschalon certainly knew he was gay. He was in my sister's high school class, everyone knew he was gay then when he was an eagle scout and no one used the word gay. There's always been massive hypocrisy in their official stand.

  2. This does sort of get to me:

    "The Boy Scouts of America has been built upon the values of faith and family for more than 100 years and (Thursday's) decision contradicts generations of tradition in the name of political correctness," Perry said in a statement. "While I will always cherish my time as a scout and the life lessons I learned, I am greatly disappointed with this decision."

    Since there's nothing about this decision that violates the "values of faith and family" that I can see. Unless only heterosexuals are allowed to have such values, and I really don't see any grounds for upholding that kind of prejudice.

    There's nothing in Perry's statement that couldn't have been said, once upon a time, about interracial Scout troops, or, for that matter, interracial marriages.

  3. There is this bit of hidden Scouting history:

    Baden-Powell’s formidable mother, left an impecunious widow with a large family, forced all of her children to participate in her fierce and occasionally demeaning struggles to promote the family’s fortunes and social status. Young “Stephe” was a sensitive boy who liked playing with dolls, and as he grew into a young man he formed deep attachments to other boys. Once in the army he made a name for himself playing female roles in army theatricals. Throughout his life he openly admired muscular men and pretty boys, while attractive women sent him into a state of anxiety; he was much more comfortable with plain, companionable ones. He was 55 before he decided to marry, but he panicked soon after his union with the lovely young Olave Soames, developing agonizing headaches that were relieved only when he left the matrimonial bed and returned to his ascetic soldier’s cot.

    Baden-Powell’s strongest emotional bond was with Kenneth McLaren, a fellow army officer. The two met while serving in India, in 1881, acting in an army performance of a farce called “The Area Belle” in which Baden-Powell, for once, played a male part, while McLaren, a 20-year-old who looked 14, appeared in the ingĂ©nue’s role. Baden-Powell nicknamed McLaren “The Boy,” and the two remained extremely close for years. McLaren’s second marriage, in 1910, put strains on the friendship — Baden-Powell did not hide his disapproval of the match or his distaste for the bride — but it was not until his own marriage that the partnership ended definitively, for Olave was jealous of her husband’s old friends in general and of this special favorite in particular. The two men never met again; “The Boy” slipped into clinical depression during World War I and spent the last few years of his life in an asylum.