Best reason to have a Larry Craig page
Because One Blurb Just Ain't Enough
Despite the enthusiastic schadenfreude that has been flowing out of pundits and politicos on both sides of the aisle, this whole LC fiasco is much more than a fun chance to kick a neocon while he's down (note: we did not say that it isn't that, just that it's more than that). There are all sorts of sad, weird and complicated stuff in here, too, about both him and all of us. It's a little troubling to see how LC's status as a hypocrite seems to make him open season for all sorts of abuse that, if directed toward anyone else, would seem backward and bigoted. It's far more troubling to see how media have used this as an opportunity to wheel out their is-any-of-us-safe-from-bathroom-sex exposes, and how those stories reinforce that a gay man is defined by a kind of sexual act and not by who he is or who he loves. It's bizarre and a little grotesque that LC himself is still out there trying to right his political ship, rather than simply fading away or attempting to be straight, so to speak, with the people who have been electing him for the last three decades. For a mere blurb to cover all of that, while still respecting how funny much of what has occured is ... well, that blurb would have to take a wide stance.
Best Reason to Laugh at LC
Because It's Hilarious
All of it: the wide stance, the oh-so-sneaky footsie game, the hey-there-handsome wave under the stall divider, the unexpected arrest, the desperate hubris of a senator who responds to getting busted by whipping out his congressional ID and dropping a "Whaddya think of DAT, bucko?" to a cop who undoubtedly has the worst beat in all of Minneapolis—and, of course, that it happened to take place in the funniest of all rooms, the bathroom—it all swirls into a perfect storm of comedic brilliance. And Act Two, wherein said senator held a press conference and started it off by saying "I'd like to thank you all for coming out today," was just as brilliant. Despite their countless digs at LC, the late-night comedians have got to be kicking themselves, because no scripted punchline could hold a candle to the original.
Best Other Reason to Laugh at LC
Because Everyone Else Already Is
One night a little over eight months ago, the Boise State football team started an instant correspondence between everyone in this state and all of their relatives and friends outside of it. Every let's-catch-up-on-each-other's-lives conversation since that night has been required to include at least one reference, even just briefly, to The Game. However, in amazingly short order, Stallgate has effectively replaced the Statue of Liberty play as our state's No. 1 media export. At this point, the only way the Broncos could catch up to LC would be for Ian Johnson to capture Osama Bin Laden in the final seconds of this year's BCS championship.
Best Journalist Inside Joke About LC
To Catch a Senator
Didja hear that the Idaho Press Club is giving Dan Popkey a special award this year? It's shaped like a golden toilet, because Popkey is probably the only guy in America who has spent more time than Larry Craig accosting strangers in train station bathrooms.
Best Non-Journalist Joke About LC
Taking a WS in the WC
Let's face it: No politician or other public speaker will be able to use the words "wide stance" in any speech, about any topic, for at least a year without making at least a dozen people in the audience laugh out loud. The phrase has gained instant recognizability, and there are a million ways to use it to your social advantage.
Here's the plan: Next time you're about to take a seat in a public restroom, say in your best booming voice, "I apologize in advance if my wide stance gets in anyone's way." When the laughter dies down, yell out "Go Broncos!" and get down to business.
Best Reason to Feel Sorry for LC
But For the Grace of Jeebus ...
OK, so it's not JUST the grace of Jeebus that's keeping any of us out of Larry's sitch.
It's also a heaping helping of the worst kind of decision-making and, um, that unique kind of stress that comes with being, er, relentlessly harassed by the Idaho Statesman.
That said, the velocity with which Stallgate has saturated international media and everyday conversation brings to mind a very relatable fear—namely, the fear that if any of us were caught in our weakest, grossest and horniest moment, and that moment were immortalized in an easily downloadable PDF or WAV file, we could be the next fat kid doing a light saber routine or Miss Teen South Carolina.
Despite the shocking gap between when the incident took place and when it, uh, came out, the moral of this story is that everybody is watching and waiting for stuff like this. That, and as the bluesmen sing, nobody knows you when you're down and out.
Best OTHER Reason to Feel Sorry For LC
Because He's Right
Well, maybe he's not right about the whole "I'm not gay" part—or at least, the jury's still out on it. But about that "relentless and vicious" harassment from the Idaho Statesman. Well ... we laughed at first, too. But we also talked to Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade, who let us in on a twisted little gem that was printed first in BW and then quickly repeated on NPR's Talk of the Nation and a bunch of other places. Turns out that when Dan Popkey was away from his column for a few months earlier this year, he was hounding the Craigay story in the nation's capital— and by "hounding," we mean showing a glossy headshot of the senator to strangers in the restroom at Union Station and asking, "Has this man tried to have sex with you?" If our own coverage of the incident is to be believed—and we like to think it is— then Larry may have a point.
Best Thing About Dan Popkey's LC Story
It Cleaned Out the Fridge
Seriously: Anyone with at least a fourth-grade reading ability or higher who read Popkey's inital story was let in on seemingly every half-baked lead the Statesman had assembled over the last 20 years. To use a bathroom metaphor, you could read, over the course of just a few sentences, how they had been struggling and straining for years, but just hadn't been able to get this thing out. That they couldn't break the story—despite the fact that Craig had already been arrested months earlier, and despite the fact that they had already gotten his official denial, and despite the fact that the Statesman would ultimately be blamed for the whole thing by Craig himself—is a journalistic dramedy nearly as compelling as what happened in the stalls.
Best Reason To Keep Talking About LC
To Help Him "Get It"
Larry's own confused responses to the untimely death of his political career—and now his continuing attempts to take back those responses—have begun to read like the most uncomfortable kind of absurdist drama. The palpable, unending dread of this seemingly unkillable story is pure Waiting for Godot. The confused explanations and explanations of the explanations are Catch 22 incarnate. And yet, LC himself won't drive that final stake through the heart of his sad, undead career, despite the fact that he has to wake up every morning in a state where he can now be pretty confident that everyone (with the possible exceptions of deaf-dumb-and-blind pinball wizards and maybe a few fire lookouts), and a vast majority of American citizens in general, know about this and don't believe him. And of those, probably 97 percent still haven't stopped laughing.
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Bill Sali pays up
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Idaho Statesmanon behalf of Trevor Hattabaugh