An Inclusive Litany
To use the word "tax" is to use the word that has been the centerpiece of a billion-dollar advertising campaign. If this is a tax, this is the one tax in America that nobody has to pay—nobody—unless you buy a pack of cigarettes. This is a tax that is purely voluntary.Explaining why cigarette taxes should be raised, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wrote in the Wall Street Journal that "an increase in the price of cigarettes would discourage smoking among the young." A few paragraphs later, he bemoaned the fact that the tobacco industry "will pass on every penny of the judgments, settlements and legal fees to their consumers."
Tonight is hot and humid. I cannot sleep. Instead, I lie awake and think about Patricia Smith. As a no-name, underpaid, small-town New Hampshire columnist, and teacher of writing for the past nine years, I should, perhaps, feel like gloating. Aha, I should sneer, look what happened to the famous writer in the big newspaper.
Patricia Smith is a gifted writer. I frequently brought her columns to my college writing class as examples of beautiful and clear writing. To my students, I pointed out her brilliant introductions, stressed her use of vivid examples, acknowledged her poignant metaphors and word choices.
But in the end, as I know as a teacher and as a writer, it is the truth that is most difficult for writers to write. Why? I'm not sure. In this day and age, we have this sense that our individual opinions and our personal thoughts are the truth. However, as the old masters of literature—those like Chaucer and Shakespeare—have taught us it is through the stories we see and the voices we hear that we can get a glimpse of the truth.
For nine years I have only retold the stories I've seen in small towns. I've only remembered the voices that held on to my heart and written about those. No, I will never be famous, nor now do I want to be. As I've learned from Patricia Smith's errors, I only want to seek the truth. That, I believe, is more valuable than anything fame can offer us. And it is more than enough.
Many of his performance pieces—first with his gender-bending trio, the Quality Street Wrappers, and then with the art-rock group Minty—involved not only nudity but vomiting, urinating, or defecating. During one notorious performance at an AIDS benefit in Brixton, [Leigh] Bowery, who had given himself an enema before going onstage, lost control of his bowels when his corset poked him, and accidentally sprayed the audience. In a piece he performed in Japan, with Nicola, he pretended to be a store mannequin in a red knit dress; she pulled a thread from the dress and unraveled it until he was completely naked. In Holland, Bowery hung upside down and naked, with clothespins pinching his penis and nipples, and exclaimed, "No embarrassment at all! Oh my God, this fantastic feeling!" Then a fellow band member, Richard Torry, pushed him through a large piece of plate glass.
University of Southern California student Annabel Chong and two other women performed sex acts for a class project, prompting disapproval from another student: "The bottom line is a girl got penetrated with two dildos for a grade."
And a "World Pornography Conference" is scheduled to be hosted by California State University, Northridge in August. Topics include: "Visual and Carnal Pleasures in Hard-Core Pornography; Class Struggles: Pornography on Campus; No Limits: Necessary Danger in Male Porn; Beyond 'Looking for my Penis': Asian Queer Porn; Porn 101: Assimilating Pornographic Material into the College Classroom; Cyberspace and Interactive Sex; How a Family Planning Experiment Became a Sex Products Business; Bikini Science; Apes, Our Species, and Pornography; Child Pornography: Forbidden Thoughts and Images in an Erotic Landscape; Bathhouse 101 as a General Education Requirement; and My Buddha, My Love Guide: Kundalini Handballing in the New Age Sex Underground."
After eleven years of litigation, a jury decided that CSX Transportation—owners of the track on which the tank car was sitting—must pay a whopping $2.5 billion in damages. The NTSB had already determined that CSX bore no responsibility for the accident, which was caused by a faulty gasket, and liability for which was admitted by the owner of the tank car.
The Louisiana Supreme Court set aside the jury's verdict pending assessment of the plaintiff's claims.
Retail giant Macy's is being sued by two shoppers who want the department store's aisles widened to accommodate their electric wheelchairs. Glen Vinton and Ellen Lieber claim state and federal laws require that Macy's make its sprawling downtown store more accessible. Macy's contends that it needs every inch of available floor space to display its wares and remain competitive.
Anyone remember when caffeine was off-limits for children? ("It'll stunt your growth!") These days constraints on caffeine consumption for kids and young teens are nonexistent. Kids are having caffeine early and often—high-octane Mountain Dew is the preferred soda of the under-6 set—and in much bigger doses than before. Caffeine Inc. is raking it in, often targeting teens and younger kids, and while Coca-Cola's polar bears get the attention, studies showing the negative consequences of child caffeination are virtually ignored.
Look at fast-food joints, convenience stores and restaurants, where many kids get up to 40 percent of their meals. It's common to see young children and teens downing "big gulp"-size caffeinated sodas or lining up for seconds and thirds at refillable soda stations. These megadrinks can pack a wallop...
[Ed.: The Center for Science in the Public Interest released a report that found the average U.S. teenager drinks 1,000 cans of soft drinks a year, three times higher than government sugar-consumption guidelines recommend. The same institute has called caffeine a "mildly addictive drug" linked to miscarriages and osteoporosis, recommending the FDA require food package labels disclosing caffeine amounts. The institute has also attacked Chinese take-out food as full of fat and oil, criticized buttered movie popcorn, come out against Mexican food, and called fettucine alfredo a "heart attack on a plate."]
The WIC program accounts for three percent of General Mills' $5.6 billion annual sales, but spokesman David Dix framed the issue as a fundamental matter of consumer choice: "We don't think WIC should substitute a cereal kids have never heard of and force them to eat it." Both Massachusetts and Texas have removed Cheerios from their lists of WIC-approved products in the past, but both soon put them back following public outcry.
- Buy a latex condom
- Buy a contraceptive foam or lubricant ...
- Check to make sure condom package is not torn ...
- Check condom expiration date
- Remove condom from package
- Check to see which way the condom unrolls
- Squeeze the tip of the condom to press out air
- Place the condom on the erect penis
- Unroll the condom onto the penis ...
- Apply the foam/lubricant
- After ejaculation, hold onto the base of the condom
- Carefully withdraw penis
- Wrap the condom in a tissue or piece of paper and discard.
When demonstrating how to use a condom, the teacher is advised to stretch it out, explain that "one size fits all," then unroll it onto two outstretched fingers.
The book of guidelines also includes a sidebar that warns, "Teacher Note: Make sure that learning-disabled and all students understand that a condom goes on the erect penis, and not on the fingers as demonstrated."
As members of the ship's company of the only frigate in the fleet to have a remotely hard-as-nails name, we would like to protest the current ship-naming policy. At present, all escorts in the fleet, with the exception of Brave, Boxer, and Iron Duke, are named after fluffy animals (Beaver) or picked at random from the road atlas of Britain. In this age of political correctness, are we to continue the trend toward inoffensive, soft and cuddly, and occasionally downright dull ship naming?
This has got to stop. It is bad for morale and presents a poor impression on overseas visits. You cannot maintain the credibility of the service by turning up in a foreign country in a ship that sounds like it's named after a shopping center (HMS St. Albans).
The introduction of the Type 42 replacement is an ideal opportunity to reverse this damaging trend. Apparently, this will be the Daring class, which is a good start. It will go downhill if this is followed by Delight, Dainty, and Duchess, which are traditional but completely soft. We recommend Dreadnaught, Dauntless, Dominant, Devastation, Defender, and Dragon, to be followed by the second batch of E class: Excalibur, Enforcer, Emperor, Endeavor, Exultant, and Extreme, as opposed to the suggested Empress, and Emerald.
While many would like to avoid the fact that the Navy actually has anything to do with fighting, we feel that if we are required to go to war, the least we can expect is that we head off sounding "well hard."
Of 29 plant and animal species Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt later removed from the endangered list, it turns out that five had become extinct since being listed, eight because of listing errors, and four because the species never existed in the first place. "We can now finally prove one thing conclusively," Babbitt declared, "the Endangered Species Act works. Period."
The smart thing to do with the money, says Adam Pozen of the Institute for International Economics? Save it.... A tax cut, Pozen says, is simply not what the economy needs right now. While the federal government may be getting better at saving money, Americans are not. Our savings rate recently hit a record low.
An FHA spokeswoman told the New York Times that the program may simply "require additional improvement and reform." But HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo is proposing to expand the program, raising the qualifying mortgage limit from $170,362 to a $227,150 maximum. Writing in the New Republic, Jessica Korn comments that this expansion may be partly motivated by FHA's dire financial crisis. The agency paid out an additional $5.3 billion in claims in 1997 to mortgage bankers who foreclosed on 71,599 borrowers, an 18 percent jump over the previous year. The fees paid by borrowers on FHA-backed loans will temporarily boost revenues, but the loans themselves will lead to unknown future liability.
Tenzin Thokme, one of the disappointed monks in attendance, grumbled, "This food tastes very good, but I would prefer a little more salt." Fellow monk Salden Kunda added, "It's not to my taste, but since somebody offered it to me with honor, I try to like it. I make myself enjoy it. I use my mind to enjoy the food." The Dalai Lama himself tried a vegetarian diet for several years, but resumed eating meat following declining health and his doctor's stern orders. The spiritual leader now alternates vegetarian and meat-eating days. Since the teaching was held on a meat-eating day, he did not partake of Zen Palate's offering, instead returning to his suite at the Waldorf Astoria and ordering room service to deliver a steak, well done.
Object Lessons: How to Do Things With Fetishism,
by E.L. McCallum
Object Lessons begins with the question, What can fetishism
teach us? One answer, as this book makes clear, is that fetishism is a
form of subject-object relation that informs us about basic strategies
of defining, desiring, and knowing subjects and objects in Western
culture. More importantly, in the way that it brings together
peculiarly modern anxieties—especially those about sexuality,
gender, belief, and knowledge—fetishism reveals how our basic
categories for interpreting the world have been reduced to binary and
mutually exclusive terms. By foregrounding concerns about sexual
differences in examining fetishism's unique intersection of desire and
knowledge, Object Lessons seizes on the promises fetishism
offers to those who want to call into question the resurgence of
conservative and even reactionary drives to lock down absolute
definitions of sexual differences through either biological or
Hemingway's Fetishism: Psychoanalysis and the Mirror of Manhood,
by Carl P. Eby
Demonstrates in painstaking detail and with reference to stunning
new archival evidence how fetishism was crucial to the construction
and negotiation of identity and gender in Hemingway's life and
Critics have long acknowledged Hemingway's lifelong erotic obsession with hair, but this book is the first to explain in a theoretically coherent manner why Hemingway was a fetishist and why we should care. Without reducing Hemingway's art to his psychosexuality, Eby demonstrates that when the fetish appears in Hemingway's fiction, it always does so with a retinue of attendant fantasies, themes, and symbols that are among the most prominent and important in Hemingway's work.
Organizing Silence: A World of Possibilities,
by Robin Patric Clair
Organizing Silence is a thought-provoking look at how silence
is embedded in our language, society, and institutions. It provides an
overview of the varied philosophical approaches to understanding the
role of silence and communication. One particular view of
silence/communication, as grounded in political and patriarchal
frameworks, is given special attention. The author questions now only
how dominant groups silence marginalized members of society, but also
how marginalized groups privilege and abandon each other. Sexual
harassment is given as an example of material and discursive practices
that articulate both a micro and macro level of silence, and accounts
of both women and men who have been sexually harassed are
provided. The book provides an alternative aesthetic perspective as a
way of understanding the realities we create, encouraging alternative
ways to listen to the silence, and presenting novel possibilities for
Secret Journeys: The Trope of Women's Travel in American Literature,
by Marilyn C. Wesley
- Travel is the root metaphor for Western progress, a fact
particularly evident in a colonizing and immigrant nation like the
United States. Despite changing historical circumstances from one
American epoch to another, men have generally been associated with
adventurous movement and women with domestic stasis, a bias that has
obscured recognition of a significant trope: the woman traveler
throughout American literature.
Secret Journeys examines the subversive and constructive narrative of female journey from the seventeenth century to the present in such works as John Greenleaf Whittier's Snowbound, Mary Rowlandson's A Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mary Rowlandson, Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, Edith Wharton's Summer, Willa Cather's The Professor's House, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, Eudora Welty's short fiction, and Elizabeth Bishop's poetry. In recognizing the figure of the woman traveler, Wesley produces new readings of canonical texts that subvert social and political assumptions in texts by men and construct alternative arrangements in texts by women.
Ron Scapp and Brian Seitz, editors
Explores the relationship between eating and culture from a variety
of perspectives, including anthropology, sociology, philosophy, gender
studies, race studies, architecture, and AIDS discourse.
Eating has never been simple, and contemporary eating practices seem more complicated than ever, demanding a multidimensional analysis that strives not for a reductive overview but for a complex understanding. Eating Culture offers a number of diverse outlooks on some of the prominent practices and issues associated with the domain of eating.
Afrikan Mothers: Bearers of Culture, Makers of Social Change,
by Nah Dove
- This book highlights the integrity of some Afrikan mothers who,
under European domination within the United States and the United
Kingdom, have used their own experience as a foundation for
understanding the impact of cultural imposition on their children's
lives. Most of these mothers have chosen to place their children in
school environments that will educate their children about their
cultural roots, in order that their cultural memory and knowledge of
Afrikan people will be handed down intergenerationally. This book
looks sensitively at the herstories of women who are undergoing their
own process of transformation and offers insights into the historical
and continuing struggle of Afrikan people as a cultural entity living
within European-oriented societies.
Sport and Postmodern Times,
Geneviéve Rail, editor
- This book provides critical insight into the questions of race, gender, sexuality, and locality in sport and society. Topics discussed include postmodern sport writing; sport and the postmodern deconstruction of gender and sexuality; virtual sport and the postmodern mediascape; discipline, normalization, rationalization, surveillance, panopticism, and other forms of power used to "invest" postmodern sporting bodies; and new perspectives on sport and physical culture, consumer culture, and postmodern geography.