Monday, August 01, 2005

'Scuse me while I kiss this guy

Perhaps that oft-misheard lyric was accurate after all.

According to Room Full of Mirrors, a new biography by Charles R. Cross, rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix escaped Uncle Sam's Army — and, perhaps, eventual deployment to Vietnam — by pretending he was gay.

That tactic didn't work for Corporal Klinger on M*A*S*H, but I guess it turned out all right for Jimi.

Having grown up in an Air Force family, I never really understood the whole "no gays in the military" thing. Regardless of one's views of the morality or immorality of homosexuality, why should being homosexual prevent someone from serving his or her country in the armed forces? The way I look at it, the more people — gay, straight, whatever — who are willing to go off to a foreign land and get shot at, the less chance that someone's going to ask me.

And besides, there have always been gay people in the military. When I was a kid, we knew plenty of people in the Air Force, both men and women, whose homosexuality was more or less an open secret. But even in the days before "don't ask, don't tell" was the official policy, many commanding officers would look the other way as long as a gay serviceman or servicewoman did the job and didn't flaunt his or her sexuality in such a flagrant way that regulations had to be brought to bear.

Interesting story about Hendrix, though. Of course, in 1962, he probably could have gotten kicked out of the Army just for admitting that he was a rock musician.

My father, incidentally, always believed Hendrix was gay, because Dad really thought Jimi was saying, "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy." But you have to understand, this is the same man who once thought a baseball broadcaster uttered a racial slur when he announced that Phil Niekro was pitching for the Braves.

1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Joel offered these pearls of wisdom...

"...the less chance that someone's going to ask me."

LOL. Practical ;-)

6:52 AM  

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