An Inclusive Litany
Name the presidential candidate whose former organization has an office in a building that is not accessible to the disabled.... Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. Nader has left Public Citizen, the organization he founded, but it maintains the office on the third floor of a small building on [Capitol] Hill that has no elevator.
A source said the organization years ago looked into installing an elevator but found it would be "prohibitively expensive."
[Ed.: Public Citizen itself later faced charges by the Federal Election Commission that their nonprofit funds, often allocated for the cause of campaign finance reform, were improperly funneled into a 1992 partisan political campaign to oust Georgia Rep. Newt Gingrich.]
Park a BMW in Berkeley, get a ticket. That's the idea behind a new fund-raising campaign that targets luxury cars to help raise money for the homeless. "Drivers for Dignity" is blanketing the city's swankiest cars with fliers made to look like Berkeley parking tickets. Inside each "ticket" is a request for $300. So far, the campaign has drawn several angry phone calls—but no cash. "We're not saying people shouldn't be able to drive a nice car," says Sally Hindman, who hatched the fund-raising idea. "I just think people need to be called to responsibility for their lifestyle."
[Ed.: Ted Turner drew the same comparison while plugging the CNN documentary series Cold War in 1998: "We are often judgmental about people that are different from us... and we don't even understand what their problems are... A lot of students got killed at Tiananmen Square, but I remember several students got killed at Kent State. And, remember, they have a lot more students than we do. We shot down our own students.]
The original publicity artwork drove home the point, depicting a crucified Flynt superimposed over a naked woman's genitals—a publicity campaign that was cancelled in the face of the ensuing predictable uproar. The film cast the character of Flynt, played by actor Woody Harrelson, as a mischievous yet charming and intelligent scamp, following the "rapscallion tradition of Huckleberry Finn," according to co-producer Oliver Stone. Although the film characterizes Flynt as suffering from incidental drug addiction and more than his share of arrogance, the tone is one of sympathy due to Flynt's sacrifices to the First Amendment cause.
Perhaps so as not to burden the audience with evidence of Flynt's unsavoriness, the film's depiction of him as a poor young boy in rural Kentucky omits what Flynt's own autobiography catalogs as an important formative event: when he deflowered a hen. Enticed by the promise of the bird's yolk sack, which he heard was "hot as a girl's p***y" but better, since chickens "wiggled around a lot more," Flynt proceeded to "thrust away." When he was finished, Flynt worried that his grandmother would notice the hen "staggering, squawking and bleeding," so he snapped the bird's neck and threw it in a creek.
Matt Labash of the Weekly Standard noted many other omissions and inconsistencies in the film:
- Flynt's amphetamine habit that began in the 1960s, though the film
made it seem as though he needed to control the pain after he was shot.
- Flynt's association with organized crime in order to distribute
- Flynt's discharge from theNavy because he had "shown much
evidence of emotional instability in the past" and was judged to have
a "characteristic sociopathic personality."
- Flynt's role as pimp to a number of prostitutes out of his Dayton,
Ohio, bar, as well as selling amphetamines to local truckers. Police
familiar with him at the time recount an occasion when Flynt shot a
black man in the foot for not taking his hat off while hanging out at
his bar. "They were pimping my girls," he said, meaning trying to
take over his criminal operation.
- The allegation by Flynt's daughter Tonya (by second wife Peggy) that he molested her repeatedly between the ages of 10 and 18. Tonya claims that Flynt's sexual abuse made her psychotic and dependent on antidepressants. Still, she says, "He's the one portraying cut-off body parts and severed nipples and clitorises with fishhooks in them [in the pages of Hustler]. Who's got the mental problem here?" When Flynt learned Tonya intended to write an unflattering book about him detailing her abuse allegations, he twice threatened to kill her in a manner that might stifle her free speech rights.
- Flynt's marriage proposal to his stepdaughter Judy (also Peggy's
daughter) at a time when she still believed him to be her biological
- Flynt's stormy relationship with his fourth wife, Althea, a
sexually promiscuous drug addict who eventually died of AIDS. Flynt
cuffed and beat her, and once fired a .38 Smith & Wesson at her. Flynt
also filed for divorce, and she left him on several times, despite
the film's illusion of loyalty between the two. When Althea died, a
nurse—not Flynt—discovered her body drowned in her bathtub. Flynt
was bedridden and in a drug haze at the time. Flynt secured a
mail-order bride three months after Althea's death.
- An audio tape made by Althea documenting that Flynt asked his 13-year-old daughter Theresa to take her panties off so he could see her naked.
And on, and on...
In 1992, Laura Kipnis, a film studies professor at Northwestern University, published "(Male) Desire and (Female) Disgust: Reading Hustler," a paper in which she hails Flynt as "a one-man bug up the nation's ass" for having championed "those narratives exiled from sanctioned speech and mainstream political discourse." According to Kipnis, Hustler's "transgressive" subject matter—dismemberment, deformity, gang rapes, "assholes, monstrous and gigantic sexual organs," and "anything that exudes from the body: piss, s***, semen, menstrual blood... and especially farts"—represents rage at being unable to penetrate privileged classes, not necessarily rage at being unable to penetrate women. Even Flynt's gaping, unretouched crotch shots should be interpreted as political statements, undermining bourgeois conventions of privacy in the bedroom and the Oval Office alike: "The veiled 'private' body is analogous to the hidden government (the Iran-Contra scandal was a shining moment for Hustler), analogous to the hidden sources of wealth of the ruling classes, which secretly the rest of us are paying for through our labor."
Ms. Kipnis also later objected that the film by Milos Forman and Oliver Stone glossed over the truly transgressive and shocking nature of Hustler's content. Kipnis later shifted her attention to other interests: presidential adultry and "the problem of Bill Clinton's thighs."
[Ed.: Following the film's release, the American Lung Association presented an award to actor Woody Harrelson for portraying Flynt as a positive nonsmoking character. In the film, Flynt discourages his wife from smoking, yet both characters are depicted as heavily addicted to drugs and indifferent to sharing needles to inject them.
During 1998's impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, Flynt was credited with leaking allegations of adultery that forced House Speaker Bob Livingston to resign after a brief tenure.]
For years, there have been grumbles from the old guard about what they see as a predominance of presentations on feminism, "queer theory," canon reformation. As one of these fellows put it this weekend under the cloak of anonymity: "It's very difficult to find a session with a paper that even mentions a text."
But what's happening is that the texts that do get mentioned are often by very contemporary multicultural writers. The record for this is probably the paper on "A Special Haunting: Gus Lee's 'Tiger's Tail.' " The novel was published last April. So much for letting the passage of time determine the classics.
"Why should books written in the contemporary moment be deprivileged, seen as less in what they communicate, simply because their authors aren't dead?" Paschal asks. But the paper she delivered here was not quite as breathlessly up-to-the-minute.
Called "Dramatizing the Intellectual," it was about three '60s playwrights. "Everyone has a bad memory about the '60s," she says. "It all blurs—the texts into the events into where you were at the time." Usually, she both reads and, where necessary, performs her talks. This time, suffering from the flu, she merely read.
While the legal issue centered on the ABC producers' lying to Food Lion when they got their jobs and whether news reporters are allowed to break laws when reporting a story that others must adhere to, videotaped outtakes of the hidden-camera footage were more damning, suggesting grounds for a charge of libel. One showed an ABC producer taking chickens whose "sell-by" dates had expired and putting them up for sale, then telling another producer to videotape them. Another outtake showed a producer ignoring instructions from legitimate employees on how to handle food. In another, one producer sells a piece of moldy kielbasa to another producer several times for the benefit of the camera.
One piece of videotape that did air showed a dirty meat slicer, even though it was the producer's job to clean it. In another, an employee talked about how she had cooked a batch of out-of-date chicken; in the excised footage she said she brought the matter up with her manager, who directed her to throw the chicken away, which she did. Many of the discarded sequences featured producers' frustration at their inability to come up with incriminating footage. After several days of work as a deli clerk, one producer saw a Food Lion employee start to clean a meat slicer. "Oh damn," the producer exclaimed, followed by a long, drawn-out "Sh**."
A Boy Scout troop was labeled as a "potentially responsible party" to finance the cleanup of a Superfund designated scrap yard in Minneapolis.
A court ruled that a New York butcher shop owner was liable for the cleanup of the Ludlow Sanitary Landfill because the glue on the boxes he threw in his dumpster contained hazardous materials.
Several churches and local schools were identified as the target of lawsuits to finance the cleanup of a Superfund site in Gray, Maine.
I am writing to you on behalf of Mr. R. Miles Handy II, President, Oink-Oink, Inc. [of Detroit]. According to Mr. Handy, the United States Department of Agriculture was allowing Oink-Oink to purchase pork penises for use as a pet treat. They were purchasing the raw product from Iowa Packing Company. After several months of doing so, the U.S.D.A. began to "dye the raw penises green." As a result of this, Oink-Oink, Inc., is unable to use them because of this discoloration. I would greatly appreciate your comment on this situation.
Commenting on what she regarded as her shabby treatment in her farewell statement, one of the girls asked her male classmates to "take a long look at how they view their girlfriends, wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters."
[Ed.: The New York Times reported that first-year cadets must memorize ritualized answers to questions posed by upperclassmen. For example, the question "How is the cow?" (which means "how much milk is left in the carton?") must be answered with: "Sir, she walks, she talks, she's full of chalk, the lacteal fluid extracted from the female of the bovine species is highly prolific to the Nth degree, sir!" with N representing the number of glassfuls left in the carton. Any other answer by the cadet would be punishable.]
It's one thing for someone like me, who makes a very good living, to bet on the stock market. I can afford to lose. But betting the federal budget on stocks is madness. And forcing millions of people who don't know stocks from smocks to let the market determine whether their retirement dinners will consist of cat food or caviar doesn't seem like the way we should treat people.
At 2 a.m. on Nov. 20, 1990, two New York state troopers were patrolling a desolate stretch of road about 30 miles north of New York City when they observed a U-Haul van whizzing along at 70 miles an hour. They were suspicious not only because of the early hour and the high speed, but also because deer hunting season had just started. Hunters often come up from New York City, and sometimes carry illegal firearms.
So after pulling over the van, one of the troopers asked driver Leonardo Turriago, "Do you mind if we see what's in the back of the truck?" He replied, "Sure, I'll show you." When the trooper got into the trailer, he found several boxes and asked Turriago to open them. "Sure," he replied again. Turriago seemed to have trouble opening one of the boxes, but as soon as it clicked open he took off running. When the trooper lifted the lid, out popped a pair of human legs.
After Turriago and two companions were apprehended, investigators discovered that Turriago had killed the victim over what he called "a drug thing," first shooting him in the face, then repeatedly striking his head with a hammer. Turriago and the others were transporting the corpse from New York City for disposal in the countryside.
A slam-dunk case for the prosecution, right? Wrong. A 4-1 majority of the state appellate court ... decided that the evidence and the defendant's confession weren't admissible. Ah, but didn't Turriago give permission for the cops to search his van? In the judges' view, it didn't matter: "When a motorist, stopped for some minor traffic infraction on a lonely stretch of road in the dead of night, is approached by two imposing State Troopers—the very personification of state authority on the highway—one of whom leans over the car and asks, 'Mind if we look in the trunk?', can the forthcoming affirmative response truly be regarded as the product of free will?"
...Turriago isn't placing his faith in the appellate process, though. He's just been charged with hiring a hit man to eliminate potential witnesses against him.
The Boston YMCA is being sued for $20 million by a deaf lifeguard who was dismissed after the YMCA, seeking to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, established clearer guidelines on who could be a lifeguard.
According to the Recorder, a California legal newspaper, "Attorneys cited for transgressions ranging from neglect of their cases to stealing from clients have asserted that their actions are mitigated by mental impairment or substance abuse, and are thus entitled to leniency under the ADA."
Youth soccer league officials said that the Annandale [Va.] team Matt was joining already had two 8-year-olds and that a new league policy prohibited adding a third.
Then things got messier. Paul Miller, the coach of the team and the one who had urged Matt to join, is also a lawyer. He filed a suit against the league in Fairfax County Circuit Court two months ago, saying that dropping one of the three 8-year-olds from the squad would cause that child "irreparable psychological harm."
The American Civil Liberties Union has taken on a new program by Mothers Against Drunk Driving to put up crosses at the sites of fatal accidents involving alcohol.
"The worst thing, the thing that really got my ACLU attention, was that a sheriff, in uniform, put it up," said Carla Selby, former president of the Boulder County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
"What that tells everybody in the world is that the government is favoring, and entangling itself, with a specific religion."
- "Practically Women: Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes and Their
Relevance for Understandings of Sex and Gender in Latin America," by
Don Kulick, Gender Studies, Stockholm University
- "The Evolution of Masculinity Studies," by Joe Pleck, Human Development and Family Studies, University of Illinois
- Readings: Leo Bersani, "Is the Rectum a Grave?"
- "The Butch Grunt Syndrome: Do Lesbians Talk Like Men?," by Anna Livia Braun
- "Black and White and Hanging Without a Rope: Appropriated
Centers and Margins," by Signithia Fordham, University of Maryland
- "A Cat in the Dark: The Color of Water and Significances of the
Reverse Racial Pass," by Philip Brian Harper, New York University
- "The White to be Angry and Passing: Vaginal Cream Davis's Terrorist Drag," by Jose Munoz, New York University