Doing what come naturally

AUSTRALIAN sailors had sex on the beach. AUSTRALIAN sailors had sex on the beach, streaked through military buses and pranced naked with rolled-up burning paper stuck between their buttocks in a wild, drunken romp at a US outpost in the Indian Ocean. And their point is…? An article by Natalie O’Brien, Investigations editor, and Michael McKinnon, FOI editor in this Weekends Australian bemuses me. The sailors have been at war, have been deprived, for months, of any type of civilization that Natalie and Michael would demand as their daily due, they are given leave on a military base and then allowed to cut loose. It would be news and responsible reporting to write an expose of drunken sailors ‘On duty’ but not this. If in a town and civilians are involved maybe yes – if crimes are committed, but please spare me ‘Sailors get drunk on leave” stories. ‘Prancing naked with rolled-up burning paper between the buttocks’ is called the dance of the flaming arseholes and whereas it’s not particularly smart it can be funny if you’re there and as drunk as everyone else. I’ve seen it performed in soldiers messes from Saigon to Sydney, from Hawaii to Bangkok and I bet my Father would have seen it done in the RAN in the Pacific during World War 2. My Grandfather would have seen it performed in Egypt in World War 1 and maybe in South Africa during the Boer War. We just didn’t talk about it. What you do when on leave and drunk never makes for good stories to people who weren’t there. So my point is, it happens and in the past we haven’t gone on about it. Most probably the journalists of the time thought there was a lot more to report on in whatever war they were covering and having some sense, let it be. Young civilians on holidays do the same silly drunken things but I have yet to see any news coverage of this. If the article started with…. AUSTRALIAN sailors, after months at war facing death everyday, had sex on the etc….I might have treated it as a human interest story but the article was presented in such a manner as to make the sailors look bad. And don’t say they were bad unless you can say you never had sex on the beach or got drunk, or did something silly to de-stress after bad days. (If you truly have never done these things then get a life!)