An American attack on Iraq could profoundly affect the American economy, because the United States would have to pay for most of the cost and bear the brunt of any oil price shock or other market disruptions, government officials, diplomats and economists say.
An Inclusive Litany
Suicide bombing—and the planes of nine-eleven were living bombs—is a purposive self-annihilation, a confrontation between oneself and oneself, the extreme end of autoeroticism; killing oneself as other, in the process killing others. It is when one sees oneself as an object capable of destruction in a world of objects, so that the destruction of others is indistinguishable from the destruction of self.... Suicidal resistance is a message inscribed in the body when no other means will get through. It is both execution and mourning, for both self and other. For you die with me for the same cause, no matter which side you are on. Because no matter who you are, there are no designated killees in suicide bombing. No matter which side you are on, because I cannot talk to you, you won't respond to me, with the implication that there is no dishonor in such shared and innocent death.
According to her subsequent lawsuit against the airline, some passengers on the plane saw everything, and three male Delta employees "began laughing hysterically" and made "obnoxious and sexually harassing comments." The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, accusing Delta of negligence, gender discrimination, and intentional infliction of public humiliation.
But the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group, sued the university on behalf of three students in an effort to halt this required reading. The suit claims the program misrepresents the Koran and attempts to "impose a uniform[ly] favorable opinion of the religion of Islam" among students, violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, the lawsuit contends that the book the students would read omits suras (chapters) that call for the execution of non-believers, such as suras 9:5 ("Fight and slay the pagan wherever you find them") and 4:89 ("those who reject Islam must be killed"). The group contends that it would neither be legal nor desirable to teach the Bible in the same manner.
[Ed.: Hirsch filed another lawsuit a few weeks later on behalf of several obese teenagers, alleging that toy and value-meal promotions were designed to entice patrons to eat the food. (As the Glasgow Herald reported, the lawsuits themselves resulted from barratry.) All these lawsuits came at the same time Gary Taubes reported in the New York Times Magazine of an emerging scientific consensus that consumption of supposedly "low-fat" foods leads to increased obesity due to the way carbohydrates are metabolized and to changes in eating habits.]
One "Jim" ("a Dennis Miller-type of guy who tells it like it is," says Subway publicist Les Winograd) pulls up to a burger joint in a car full of buddies. He's about 40, tall, well-exercised: "Turkey breast, ham, bacon, melted cheese, Dijon horseradish sauce," he says in the drive-through, exuding an aura of Supermanship all out of proportion to the situation. "That's, like, not on our menu," says the young, pudgy, confused person taking orders. "It's not only not on your menu," Jim says, "it's not on your radar screen!" "Do we have a radar screen?" the clerk asks a supervisor as Jim peels out. "Think I made that burger kid cry?" Jim says to his pals, all of them now ensconced in a Subway with the new Select specials in front of them.
It seems plain that, finally, George W. Bush is making himself felt in culture. The commercial takes Bush's sense of entitlement—which derives from his lifelong insulation from anything most people eat, talk about, want or fear, and which is acted out by treating whatever does not conform to his insulation as an irritant—and makes it into a story that tries to be ordinary. But the story as the commercial tells it is too cruel, its dramatization of the class divisions Bush has made into law too apparent. The man smugly laughing over embarrassing a kid is precisely Bush in Paris attempting to embarrass a French-speaking American reporter for having the temerity to demonstrate that he knew something Bush didn't. (Real Americans don't speak French.) Even someone responsible for putting this talisman on the air may have flinched at the thing once it was out there in the world at large, functioning as public discourse, as politics—the last time I saw the spot, the final punchline had been dropped.
At the same conference, Dr. Bruce Walker of Harvard revealed a case of a Boston man whose immune system had been successfully fighting the HIV infection on its own, but who subsequently had unprotected sex and became reinfected with a modified strain of HIV, after which his health declined precipitously. Walker's stunning findings implied that the HIV virus was sufficiently mutable and durable as to make any prospect of finding an effective vaccine highly unlikely.
Meanwhile, a headline in the Gay Pride issue of the Village Voice heralded "The Return of Public Sex." Reporting approvingly on anonymous sex at abandoned Hudson River docks and Manhattan orgies that are advertised on the Internet and have $20 entrance fees, Steve Weinstein writes: "After years of AIDS anxiety and government repression, gay public sex is bigger and better than ever." A similar headline in the Gay Pride issue of the San Francisco Bay Guardian announced that "Gat Sluts Are Back." While praising "unapologetic homo-lust," self-described "gay slut" Simon Sheppard reports on large increases in unprotected sex, leading to new infections. "The threat of HIV was (and is) real and deadly," Sheppard writes. "But the epidemic was also seized upon as an instrument of control, both by assimilationists within the queer community who wanted us all to behave like good girls and by those in the larger heterocentrist culture who were both envious of and repelled by men who numbered their sex partners in the dozens. Or hundreds. Or thousands."