An Inclusive Litany


Merritt Clifton, former editor of the animal-rights magazine The Animal's Agenda, is crusading for cat control. Clifton wants to make it a crime for cat owners to let their pets go outside because "cats have a nasty tendency to kill birds, rabbits, frogs, and other cute creatures. A housecat hunts for fun. It gets all its calories indoors, and then it goes out to devastate whatever there is to devastate."

Feminist students at the University of North Carolina took offense at a sculpture called "The Student Body," by Julia Balk. It consisted of several students walking around campus—a male has his arm around a female, and he is reading a book; she is eating an apple. Students organized a Committee Against Offensive Statues and were able to persuade the chancellor, Paul Hardin, to move the work to an out-of-the-way place where no none would be forced to see it.

The Prostitutes of New York (PONY) became upset that the New York Review of Books referred to prostitutes as "sex workers." PONY spokeswoman Tracy Kwan complained "we who purvey erotic pleasure are increasingly desexualized by politically correct language," and she wanted the Review to refer to them by their proper name, prostitutes.


From "Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference," a paper delivered at Amherst College and anthologized in Paula Rothenberg's Racism and Sexism: An Integrated Study. The author is Audre Lorde, a self-described "forty-nine-year-old Black lesbian feminist socialist mother of two, including one boy, and a member of an interracial couple":
Unacknowledged class differences rob women of each others' energy and creative insight. Recently a women's magazine collective made the decision for one issue to print only prose, saying poetry was a less "rigorous" or "serious" art form. Yet even the form our creativity takes is often a class issue. Of all the art forms, poetry is the most economical. It is the one which is the most secret, which requires the least physical labor, the least material, and the one which can be done between shifts, in the hospital pantry, on the subway, and on scraps of surplus paper. Over the last few years, writing a novel on tight finances, I came to appreciate the enormous differences in the material demands between poetry and prose. As we reclaim our literature, poetry has been the major voice of poor, working class, and Colored [sic] women. A room of one's own may be a necessity for writing prose, but so are reams of paper, a typewriter, and plenty of time. The actual requirements to produce the visual arts also help determine, along class lines, whose art is whose. In this day of inflated prices for material, who are our sculptors, our painters, our photographers? When we speak of a broadly based women's culture, we need to be aware of the effect of class and economic differences on the supplies available for producing art.

Due to a technicality in forfeiture law that allows governments to claim that it is suing the item of property allegedly used in a crime and not the owner of the property, forfeiture cases have come to take on peculiar-sounding titles such as U.S. v. 1960 Bags of Coffee, U.S. v. 9.6 Acres of Land and Lake, and U.S. v. 667 Bottles of Wine.

A review by Malcolm Rutherford in The Financial Times of London, August 12, 1992:
If socialism is dead, can liberalism survive? The piece is called Hush because the question requires a pause for thought and prolonged, quiet discussion. The theater has not approached such a new frontier for a very long time.

Otherwise, the play is set in more conventional Royal Court terms. A 15-year-old girl is being (playfully) buried on a beach. The girl subsequently demands, and gets, sex, from a character called Dogboy. He then practically turns canine and, having killed his dog, kills himself. Another girl, temporarily employed as the house cleaner, wants to go off to Tibet to meet the monks, there not being enough sex on the beach at home.

Do not be put off by such old hat...

A corporate tax newsletter advises that wages and other compensation that were due to deceased employees—which in the past were reported as nonemployee compensation—should now be reported as "prizes and awards." "IRS computers will seek self-employment tax" on any nonemployee compensation, the newsletter explains. So employees will want to list any compensation to dead employees under the category "prizes and awards," although they "will obviously want to enclose a note with the 1099" explaining why the compensation is called a prize.

At Dartmouth College, Robert Walser offers a course called "American Popular Song," which includes reading the scholarly article "Living to Tell: Madonna's Resurrection of the Fleshly." Andrew Ross of Princeton offers "Post-Modernism and Contemporary Culture," which explores "the teenage persona and how it negotiates the question of choice on abortion issues" through Madonna's hit single, "Papa Don't Preach." Ross promises that his students "will talk about Madonna till the cows come home" and "write papers about her at the drop of a hat." And Madonna studies pioneer Camille Paglia offers "Women and Sex Roles" at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, which examines the New York drag-queen origins of the "vogue" dance scene through the example of Madonna. Paglia has more than an academic interest in the pop star. "Madonna, like me, rejects the victim-centered view of the universe."


Q: How many Philadelphia International Airport workers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Three. A building mechanic to remove the light panel, an electrician to actually change the bulb, and a custodian to sweep up the dust, according to civil-service requirements.

The Dutch municipality of Noordoostpolder will now provide a monthly stipend to a handicapped man for 90-minute sex sessions with a "sexual aide worker."

From the newsletter of Bernard T. Janney Elementary School in Washington D.C., sent to parents at the beginning of the school year:
"Our Early Childhood team will be implementing the planning phase of the Early Childhood Unit grant and will continue to focus on developmentally appropriate practice. Our intermediate team is committed to broadening the concept of developmentally appropriate practice to include programming for these grades."

According to Rutgers University labor studies professor Dorothy Sue Cobble in Dishing It Out: Waitresses and Their Unions in the Twentieth Century, "[i]n the theater of eating out, the waitress plays multiple parts, each reflecting a female role. To fulfill the emotional and fantasy needs of the male customer, she quickly learns all the all-too-common scripts: scolding wife, doting mother, sexy mistress, or sweet, admiring daughter.... Other customers, typically female, demand obsequious and excessive service—to compensate, perhaps, for the status denied them in other encounters. For once, they are not the servers but the ones being served." Customers enter restaurants with the hope of satisfying more than just their appetites, says Cobble. "More than food is being consumed at the restaurant site. And those who serve it are responding to hungers of many kinds. Eating stirs sexual and emotional associations of the most primitive order." Cobble says she formed her views while working as a waitress. She refused to play the role of the obsequious maiden and says she was fired for failing to smile at customers.


An activist minister in San Francisco announced that his church would no longer accept donations of second-hand clothing for the indigent and the homeless. He insisted that they be given brand new clothing.

As part of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) enacted in 1973, money was used in Florida to hire people to go door-to-door persuading people to apply for food stamps. Maryland CETA workers chauffeured welfare recipients to the welfare office. New York CETA workers ran a phone service to let people know about their unemployment and welfare benefits.

An Albuquerque, New Mexico man sued the city police for not preventing him from driving drunk. The man, who was paralyzed in the accident, broke down in tears while on the witness stand as he described how the doctors broke the news to him that he would never walk again.

The former construction worker said that the police ordered him not to drive, but allowed him and a friend to walk away. By not preventing the man from driving away, the defendant insisted that the police deprived him of the rights guaranteed to him under a state law that allowed police to drive intoxicated people to their homes, a detox facility, or jail.


Lani Picard in Florida's Boca Raton News, July 1, 1992:
Abortion equals a woman's deepest psychic, sacrificial and rebellious act against an ever-evolving, male-dominated environment resulting in a cessation of creation.

Since man began turning his envy of matriarchy toward himself, women, in a subconscious retaliatory act, began using abortion as a weapon in the war of survival against this arrogant behavior. In essence, what women have really been trying to communicate to this overindulgent patriarchical society is: Either get your act together, now, and listen to our message or we will use abortion to eliminate men from the face of the earth, entirely. Abortion is not an issue, it is a most powerful weapon—a last resort; an urgent and humiliating plea for global equality, respect and understanding. No woman intentionally seeks out or enjoys the idea of abortion. Just ask any woman who has had one. It is an eternal agonizing sacrifice!

The Barnard/Columbia Women's Handbook warns that a male faculty member who "shuns female students outside of class... for fear of accusation of sexual harassment"—or fails to make sufficient eye contact with female students—is guilty of a subtle but harmful form of sexism that can seriously "impact our performance in the classroom and our plans for future study."

From the 1991 Annual Report to the President by the Information Security Oversight Office, a division of the General Services Administration:
In fiscal year 1991, government agencies classified as secret a total of 7,107,017 documents. This marks the first time that the total number of reported classification decisions in a year is a palindrome.

Kathleen Baylog of Upland, California, filed a lawsuit against Bill Clinton because the prospect of having a draft-dodger and Communist sympathizer as President was causing her "emotional distress."


Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, from More Reflections on the Meaning of Life, by David Friend and the Editors of Life Magazine:


  • 1 U.S. military budget (liquefied)
  • 1 pound dreams
  • 1/3 cup chutzpah
  • 3 cups love
  • 2 cups political action
  • 1 pound fun


  1. Mix together chutzpah, love, dreams, political action and fun.

  2. Transfer into saucepan and add military budget. Reduce by half over high heat, stirring constantly.

  3. Yields health, education and playgrounds for all the world's kids.

—Ben & Jerry

In mid-1988 Texas officials were unable to carry out the execution of convicted murderer Ramon Montoya because his death warrant failed to arrive before his scheduled execution date. The warrant was mailed more than one month before the date on which Montoya was to die. Officials rescheduled the execution for December 1, 1988, before the bulk of the Christmas mailing rush.

Byrd Laboratories in Austin, Texas, has introduced a new product designed to foil urinalysis attempts. A "handy powdered capsule of 100% pure urine" is available for $19.95, and is guaranteed to beat any urine test—all the customer had to do was "just add water." The company's slogan, by the way, is "Byrd Laboratories, purveyors of fine urine products."


At a computer convention in Chicago, rules required that a union member plug exhibitors' personal computers into the wall. If you thought this was rather silly and plugged it in yourself, you might return to the booth the next morning and find the power cord cut in half.

[Ed.: Note that attempts to monopolize resources other than labor are considered bad.]

A book with a story about cats was rejected by an Illinois school system because in the story the cat popped a balloon. Cat lovers protested that the story would turn children against cats.

Levamisole, a drug that has been used in the past to combat intestinal parasites in farm animals has been approved for human use in combatting colon cancer. Still, to keep a sheep free from worms for a year costs $14.95, but a year's supply for human patients runs about $1,500.

Frank Glickman, who wanted the drug to aid his own recovery, has filed a class-action suit against Johnson & Johnson, the drug's maker. Johnson & Johnson says that the increased price was due to the research and development required to find an effective human use for the drug. However, Dr. Charles Moertel, who directed the effort to win FDA approval for the drug under the assurance from Johnson & Johnson that the drug would be reasonably priced, says the company didn't contribute any funds, and that the $10.6 million was covered by the National Cancer Institute, out of taxpayer's pockets. Furthermore, the veterinary and human versions of Levamisole are "exactly, absolutely identical." Glickman's attorney adds that a price breakdown for the drug by Johnson & Johnson shows that the major element in the price increase was promotion costs. "This for a drug that has no need to be promoted," he says. "It is the standard treatment for colon cancer, and it would be sheer lunacy for someone with the disease not to use it."

The University of Minnesota held a mock trial of Christopher Columbus, with the 12-member jury finding him guilty of slavery, torture, murder, forced labor, kidnapping, violence, and robbery. Jurors, however, could not agree on charges of genocide, rape, and international terrorism. The explorer was sentenced to 350 years of community service; the death penalty was ruled out because "his victims were not a violent people and do not condone death."

Since 1983, Elizabeth Corbett has received monthly Social Security disability checks for blindness. In 1983, 1986, and 1991, however, she passed the vision test when renewing her driver's license. She has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for her fraudulent claim and has been ordered to repay $5,382 in welfare benefits. The most damaging evidence against her was a video of her driving to work. Astonishingly, her attorney said that after a 2 1/2-year investigation, the Social Security Administration has yet to call his client in for an examination and is still paying her.


Bob Damron's Address Book, published for 28 years, is a North American travel guide for gay men that is available in major bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble's Bookstar outlets. It lists gay accommodations and sights of erotic interest in all 50 states, Canada, the Virgin Islands, Costa Rica and Mexico, including not only sex establishments and businesses, but freelance possibilities for sex with strangers. For example, in Decatur, Alabama, "cruisy areas" include:

  • Amtrak & Greyhound Depots (AYOR)
  • Beltline Mall
  • Delano Park nr. Picnic Tables
  • Point Mallard Park—Swimming Hole (Summers)
  • "The Pumps" (AYOR)
    (AYOR = At Your Own Risk)

In introducing the section on Mexico, editor Dan Delbex shared this tip: "Much of Mexico is very poor. Consequently, many boys may be available for the price of a cocktail." The 1992 edition of the book is dedicated to the memory of Delbex, who died of AIDS on October 5, 1991, at the age of 35.

Sinead O'Connor, interviewed in Rolling Stone, complained about how Mike Tyson had been treated in his rape trial. She commented, "poor Mike Tyson—he's only a tiny, little baby, and all these people are trying to f***ing kill him. If he looks for solace in the arms of lots of women, what do you expect him to do?"

Commenting on Desiree Washington, who Tyson was convicted of raping, O'Connor said: "that woman who is suing him is a bitch. I don't care if he raped her; she used him. She's a disgrace to women as far as I'm concerned."


The Washington Post, October 6, 1992:
A janitor working his way up through the bowels of the Capitol inadvertently picked up a box containing 13 original bills and related documents and dumped it in a trash compactor.


Letter to the editor, Minneapolis Star, June 19, 1992:
I would like to know whether cartoonist Garry Trudeau is alive or not. His comic strip, "Doonesbury," was in the middle of a series about Clarence Thomas when Trudeau recently left without warning for an eight-week sabbatical. He had also just finished a damaging series about Dan Quayle's political prisoner.

As the old CIA types in the Bush/Quayle campaign warm up their cloaks and daggers, I find myself concerned with the whereabouts of Trudeau, and this letter is the least I can do to repay his vigilance regarding our all-too-often corrupt government.

—David Snyder, Roseville

The city of Indianapolis spent $242,000 over eight years to repair a $90,000 garbage truck; 166 work orders were issued on it in 1991 alone. Over the last eight months, the truck's odometer indicates it has been driven 15,178 miles, with records showing only 904 miles driven. "Taxpayers could hire limousines to carry away their garbage and it would cost less," said Mayor Stephen Goldsmith.

Warren Graboyes, a former orthodontist in the Philadelphia suburbs, lost his license in 1991 after pleading guilty to fondling a teenage female patient. Unable as a result to practice orthodontics, Graboyes sued his insurance company for $5,000 a month in disability payments. Graboyes argues that he suffers from frotteurism—described in court proceedings as a compulsion to touch the private parts of females.

A New York Times editorial advised warring parties in Yugoslavia to take a lesson from "black Africa ... on the wisdom of respecting the territorial integrity of all states, whatever the mix of peoples.... When it comes to curbing the barbarous excesses of tribalism, black Africa has shown more maturity than otherwise condescending Europeans." Take for example Nigeria in the late 1960s, the editorial says. The African policy of "defending the integrity of existing states ... was tested in 1967-70, when Ibo peoples fought unsuccessfully to form their own state, Biafra."

As a matter of fact, the civil war over Biafra was precipitated by the massacre—by members of the Hausa tribe—of tens of thousands of Ibo; the war itself and ensuing starvation claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Pat Pratali in the Roanoke Times and World News, August 4, 1992:
It amazed me to discover that Cuba was only minutes from Miami. It amazed me to find no poverty. Education through university is free for all. Medical care is excellent, free and readily accessible to all. In the countryside, there are more health clinics than gas stations per square mile. The infant-mortality rate is lower than ours. The literacy rate is higher.

There are shortages due to the U.S. embargo and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In this "special period," staples are rationed. But everyone has enough to eat, and intensive volunteer production has proved very successful.

There is some unemployment, due to the lack of petroleum, but employees who are laid off are paid 80 percent of their wages. Those who volunteer to work in food production can receive 100 percent of their wages.

Gasoline is rationed, but bicycles have replaced thousands of automobiles. The right-hand lane is reserved for bicyclists, and this form of transportation is clean and safe. It certainly contributes to better air quality in Havana than in most U.S. cities.