I’ll say this much: When it comes to entertaining our troops, we’ve come a long way from the Bob Hope USO show.
Sure, there was something staid about Old Ski Nose swinging his golf club around, telling our men in uniform, “I don’t do a lot of political jokes — too many of them are getting elected.” Tee hee.
I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but I’m with Eddie Murphy on this one: “Over the past 50 years, Bob Hope employed 88 joke writers who supplied him with more than one million gags, and he still couldn’t make me laugh.” (I except the “Road to [insert place here]” movies he did with Bing Crosby.)
I concede that Hope’s USO visits were part of an entertainment regimen that was “essential to the morale, cohesion, and readiness of the military.” I also concede the times, they have a’changed. However, I think Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada may be stretching the definition of entertainment that’s “essential to the morale, cohesion, and readiness of the military” when those words are used in reference to a drag queen show.
According to Breitbart, the base, on the outskirts of Las Vegas, hosted such a shindig earlier this month at an on-base dining and entertainment venue.
So @NellisAFB is having a base-sanctioned drag Queen show; isn’t that awesome?
Maybe some of our military “journalists” can call them up and ask them about this. ? pic.twitter.com/CJdGjpuun9
— BKactual (@BravoKiloActual) June 18, 2021
An advertisement posted on social media by user @BravoKiloActual, a self-described veteran and podcaster, proclaimed “Drag-U-Nellis: Class is in Session” featured special appearances by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants Coco Montrese and Alexis Mateo as well as 2018 Miss Gay Missouri first alternate MaKena Knight. (Coco was also the winner of the 2010 Miss Gay America pageant, it’s worth noting. Or perhaps not, but now you know.)
“Discover the significance of Drag in the LGBT+ community,” the advertisement read.
“Maybe some of our military ‘journalists’ can call them up and ask them about this,” @BravoKiloActual wrote, along with the rolled-eyes-smirk emoji.
Someone at Breitbart apparently did contact the base, and Nellis officials confirmed the event happened.
“Nellis Air Force Base and the 99th Air Base Wing hosted its first-ever drag show Thursday, June 17, at the Nellis Club. The event was sponsored by a private organization and provided an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the history and significance of drag performance art within the LGBT+ community,” the base said in an emailed statement.
There was more:
“Ensuring our ranks reflect and are inclusive of the American people is essential to the morale, cohesion, and readiness of the military. Nellis Air Force Base is committed to providing and championing an environment that is characterized by equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion.”
The drag queen event was sponsored by the Nellis Top III — which, according to the description on its private Facebook page, is designed to “enhance the morale, esprit de corps, of all enlisted personnel assigned to the Wing and to facilitate cooperation between members of the top three enlisted grades.”
The Nellis Club, meanwhile, is described on the Nellis Force Support Squadron website as “a consolidated club offering a versatile dining and entertainment experience for all its members.”
“We now serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a midnight meal from Mon – Fri as well as brunch, dinner, and a midnight meal on Sat, Sun, Holidays, and Family Days. All meals are open to Essential Meal Card Holders! There is something for everyone to enjoy here at your Nellis Club, come give us a try,” the page read as of Tuesday morning.
And to think:
Dressing in drag was once a tactic to get discharged for being mentally unfit for service. pic.twitter.com/CVvWhYl1nY
— Gooner T (@Redleg94) June 18, 2021
I’m not suggesting we go back to the days of Cpl. Klinger and “M*A*S*H”-era attitudes about LGBT individuals, but there’s a happy medium between that and this.
Last month, the Army released a bad-viral cartoon advertisement featuring Cpl. Emma Malonelord describing how her journey “begins in California with a little girl raised by two moms,” followed by scenes from an LGBT march and a lesbian wedding. Social media commentator Pardes Seleh went viral herself by comparing it with a Russian military advertisement:
Russian army ad vs US army ad
— Pardes Seleh (@PardesSeleh) May 19, 2021
This isn’t to say that Cpl. Malonelord isn’t serving her country with honor, or that men who like to wear women’s clothes have not served with distinction. Even if Russia is a less-tolerant nation than the United States in these respects, I have no doubt soldiers who have “two mothers” or who like to dress as drag queens in their off-duty hours have served the military with distinction there, too.
I also have no doubt that troops need to be entertained in both countries. The difference is that Russia, even if it developed a more tolerant culture, probably wouldn’t come to the conclusion that educating soldiers about the “history and significance of drag performance art within the LGBT+ community” was “essential to the morale, cohesion, and readiness of the military.” In fact, it might conclude it’s actually a detriment to all of those goals.
President Joe Biden’s new woke military doesn’t seem to get the point of the military isn’t social engineering but defending the country. If this kind of thing continues, it’s going to learn some hard lessons in the perceptions and realities of that wokeness.
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