American sitcoms use government incompetence as a punching bag more often than Rocky whales on slabs of meat. It's a tradition that dates back to even before television when early settlers would put on one-act plays mocking John Smith for his tiny balls. (citation needed) So with a new administration in place, I decided to revisit one of the goofiest gags at the expense of Uncle Sam, and it comes to us, like so many others, courtesy of 30 Rock:
It's the "Gay Bomb" clip. Again, it's a good bit, highlighting the military-industrial complex's need to spend frivolously on convoluted solutions while also poking fun at the level of unease so many government officials have with homosexuality. Still, outside of it being funny, there's nothing seemingly remarkable about it. 30 Rock is packed with so many absurdist jokes that you'd be forgiven for not having given this one another thought. I know I didn't, at least upon first viewing, but ... the "Gay Bomb" was a totally real thing.
The newspaper clipping that Matthew Broderick was reading from is pretty much spot-on. In 1994, a laboratory commissioned by the U.S. Air force experimented with the use of pheromones and aphrodisiacs as a weapon. The idea was to douse enemy combatants en masse with female pheromones in the hopes that it would cause a biological reaction among the troops and basically, as Broderick put it, make them "totally gay-bones" for each other. The project, unsurprisingly, never received the required funding and the "gay bomb" never got off the ground.
I guess what's incredible to me about this isn't so much that there's someone stupid enough to think a "gay bomb" would somehow be an effective military strategy. (Although, if someone could explain to me how a gay bomb would be better for war than say, I don't know, a regular bomb, I'd be much obliged. Did whoever commission this really think no one gay ever fought in the military before? Or that soldiers being attracted to each other somehow makes them less competent? History says otherwise. But I digress)
No, the incredible thing to me is that the United States government does so much outlandish, stupid shit that a scheme from 30 Rock doesn't even feel out of place. Like, this is the show that gave us "MILF Island."
Are we now to believe that MILF Island might have been based on a true story, or is the lesson here that even reality TV producers have a higher moral benchmark than the U.S. Government? Well, there's not yet a MILF Island, so it's probably the second thing.
Top Image: NBCUniversal Television