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Posted by on Sep 12, 2007 in At TMV | 4 comments

Larry Craig and The Old Superman Trick: Trying to Turn the World Backward on Its Axis

Larry Craig has apparently gotten his court date in Minnesota. His case is scheduled four days before his first proffered resignation date, September 30th. He’s going to apply to wind the world-clock backward, to take back time.

It’ll be interesting to see how the judge will rule… Senator Craig’s new plea before the court may inadvertently help the cases of the other 41 men arrested for soliciting sex in men’s rooms in the Minneapolis airport police operation that day. If it is ruled that ‘injustice’ has been done to Craig on the evidence offered, and the other men have similar evidences against them, Larry Craig may become ‘the hero of the bathroom brigades’ at least at the Minnesota airport.

There’s another hero, a comic book one, who used a similar tactic of ‘turning back time’ to a more ‘acceptable’ place and space. I love the stories of Superman and all the other modern mythic archetypes that flow out of the pens of so many gifted thinkers … And, there’s an old Superman movie with a leitmotif similar to that which Senator Craig is undertaking.

In the story, near the very end, Lois Lane is killed. Superman, flies into space and using his super-human strength, turns the world backward on its axis in order to make time stop, to push back time in retreat to a previous moment when Lois was still alive… so this time she could be saved.

Senator Craig is going to plead to the court on the basis that he accepted an involuntary guilty plea which constitutes manifest injustice. As some say in the backwoods where I grew up, He’s agonna try to undo that deed that he done did.

My expert in the field, Jill Kuraitis, the Boise Idaho publisher of New West, writes about how the outcome for Senator Craig, might not be as swift as it was for Superman and Lois Lane:

Craig will make his case for a reversal of his guilty plea in an airport sex sting. But it’s unknown if the judge will rule that same day, so Craig’s self-imposed deadline may pass without a resolution of his case.

Superman aside, who says the Senators Specter and Craig have not been inadvertently caught up in an anti-hero moment as well… with Senator Specter doing an Abbot and Costello joke setup…

Senator Arlen Specter, one of Sen. Craig’s only defenders, said [about manifest injustice], “and that is defined that a plea can be withdrawn if it was not intelligently made,” Specter said. “And what Senator Craig did was by no means intelligent.”

Although much has been bandied about privately about Senator Craig being charged with ‘lewd conduct,’ that appears not to be true. He’d apparently pleaded guilty to misdemeanor ‘disorderly conduct,’ a throw down from the misdemeanor charge of “interference with privacy…” which has more nuances to it legally than what the three words appear to convey.

Kuraitis also cites two case she thinks might have impact on Sen. Craig’s new application to the court: “State of Minnesota vs. Michelle Kim Gibson-Webb “reversed in part” a plea agreement, but the facts and details are very different from Craig’s case. And Jeffrey Allen Vernlund vs. State of Minnesota reversed a DUI guilty plea.”

She continues, “D.C. Republicans are white-hot with fury at Craig, a Senate staffer told NewWest.Net/Boise. “He’s like those trick birthday candles that won’t blow out,” she said. “Of all the times for a Republican senator to break ranks and fall out of formation, this wasn’t a good choice.”

“Trick birthday candles,” and the old Superman trick, being accused of trying to pull off a trick… lots of tricks, lots and lots of tricks eddying in this story. In mythos, the trickster is an archetypal character who is filled with rampant appetites. The trickster is magical and useful and also unconscious and out of control and often makes more messes than successes. The trickster is funny in many ways, for it is so human. They try to wiggle out of any corner they painted themselves into.

But, can a trickster turn back the world, slice and dice Time to his desires? When the trickster is near, anything can happen. But in many images of the Trickster since time out of mind, he is shown walking off a cliff into thin air, accompanied by a little white dog at his side, sometimes with an umbrella over his head, and all the while smiling and looking up into the sunshine. Instead of looking down, and being aware of what his shoes are touching.

Read the rest of Miss Kuraitis’ article on Senator Craig, here:

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • Dr. Omed

    Clarissa, as you may know I worked in the early 1980s as projectionist and asst. manager at an old theatre (built in 1931), carbon arc projectors, a single screen, 450 red plush seats. As a kid I watched Disney movies at this moviehouse back in the sixties, but when I was working there, the place had become seedy and a bit run down, and we showed “adult” movies. The mens bathroom was a well-cruised tearoom. This did not bother me much, but on occasion I had to remind the the tearoom patrons that some of our customers just wanted to use the bathroom for the purpose for which it was intended. Many of the men that frequented the tearoom to have sex there were to all appearances straight, and some of them had wives or girlfriends sitting in the theatre, literally and figuratively in the dark. I think that most of the tearoom customers did not think of themselves as gay, certainly not culturally, and not even as a matter of sexual orientation. I don’t think they thought about much at all. They just liked to have sex with strange men in bathrooms, and this was utterly cut off and irrelevant to the straight lives they led, unless of course they got caught.

    I am willing to bet that Senator Craig thinks of himself as gay; he just likes to have sex with strange men in bathrooms, and he got caught trolling for one. The best way to tell–or live–a lie is to tell it to yourself until you believe it, and forget that you ever knew it was a lie.

    This ‘supreme denial’ is what makes Republicans and other self righteous scoundrels so successful.

  • Dr. Omed

    Erratum: The first sentence of the second paragraph should read: “I am willing to bet that Senator Craig DOES NOT think of himself as gay.”

    This all happened before there was much awareness of AIDS; I wonder how many of those guys (and their wives and girlfriends) are still alive.

  • Dr. Omed

    The first part of the first sentence…I’m obviously not awake yet.

  • Stolios

    Larry Craig may become more than “the hero of the bathroom brigade” if he prevails in this case, Dr. E. You see, his victory (which, it must be understood, will be a victory only in the sense of giving him a chance to proceed to trial, but not vindicating his denial of the conduct itself) will not uniquely effect merely those who were charged in factually similar cases; rather, it seems to me that it will have a systemic effect on how cases are handled in the court in which his plea was accepted. After all, if a US Senator without legal counsel is somehow not “intelligent enough” to plead guilty in this court, then how could anyone else be?

    His victory will result in a horde of applications by nearly everyone else who has entered into a plea in that court (and perhaps all similar courts in Minnesota, depending on how they handle cases where no lawyer is present upon a defendant’s plea of guilty to a crime), who will each contend that they were not “intelligent enough” to proceed without counsel.

    “After all,” they will all say, “if Senator Craig wasn’t intelligent enough to enter a knowing and voluntary plea, then how could you expect little old me to be intelligent enough to do the same thing?”

    So Craig’s battle is made even more challenging by what will be his own personal kryptonite, the notion of judicial economy and the importance of stare decisis. Show me the judge who wants to write the decision which will encourage an avalanche of new motions by defendants seeking the withdrawal of their previously accepted guilty pleas, and which will require the creation of new court procedures required to protect unrepresented defendants such as Craig from offering a guilty plea, and I will show you a judge who has not only extraordinary confidence in his or her ability to keep her job, but also real guts.

    There is surely something to be said for the notion of assuring that defendants who are prepared to plead guilty to a criminal offense (which will lead to them having a criminal record for the rest of their life) either have counsel appointed by the state, or be required to privately retain their own lawyer if they’re able to. For many of us, that seems like second nature. But for a US Senator to contend that his plea wasn’t intelligently offered – especially after he signed a plea agreement which said, among other things that “the court will not accept the guilty plea of someone who claims to be innocent,” and that he was making “no claim of innocence” at the time he signed the agreement – well, one just has to wonder how the same person can claim that they’re intelligent enough to sit in the Senate.

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