An Inclusive Litany


U.C. Santa Cruz student Kanya Dorland has protested campus bathroom signs, saying that they perpetuate sexist stereotypes by showing a "petite, passive woman in a dress, and an aggressive, broad-shouldered man in pants." If the university does not change the signs, Dorland suggests that the women of U.C.S.C. "empower themselves" by tearing them off the doors. This caused quite a stir with the administration, as each of the signs cost $15 to produce, and with 400 bathrooms on campus, this would ring up quite a bill. No word on whether any work is being done to come up with an alternative set of universal symbols to differentiate men and women.

Four female graduate students at the University of Minnesota filed a sexual-harassment suit against all six tenured members of the Scandinavian studies department, five men and one woman. When one of the professors inquired into the charges against him, he discovered that he had given a narrow, "patriarchal" interpretation of Isaak Dinesen's work, of not having read a novel a student deemed important, and of having greeted a student in a less than friendly manner—failing to smile.

Body Mind & Spirit, January/February 1993:
So, dear friends, you now have a very dear friend as President of your great nation. This Bill Clinton is, indeed, very inspired and very inspiring. And his election indicates a major shift in your group mind—a major shift toward becoming your own authority figures and away from looking to paternalistic authority figures to take care of you.

Indeed, from day one there was no doubt of his election because this Clinton embodies the qualities which insure conscious creation of your own reality. First, his heart is open; he's willing to tell the truth of what he's feeling. Second, he's grateful for what he has and for the people in his life. Third, he's committed to what he wants and what he believes in. Fourth, he's certain of his connection to divine inspiration. And finally, he's a lot of fun...

Clinton's shortcomings? He may tend, at times, to move forward almost too quickly and too decisively (seeming to ignore normal body needs), and by doing so, to tax those about him or seem to leave them in the dust. Fortunately, this Clinton has surrounded himself with many very grounded souls, in touch with and unafraid to express their feelings. This core of grounded support provides a strong grip on the string of his balloon when his vision tends to get beyond the dictates of the present and of his helpers' mortal bodies...

Look forward to a president who sees your divinity and infinite creativity and stimulates you to use it. Look forward to fun and health. And look forward to an organically grown economy...

The San Francisco school district now officially refers to sex as "penile-insertive behavior."

During a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Kyoto, the Japanese were host to delegates from a number of countries that oppose Japan's whaling. But this did not curtail the hospitality of the Japanese. According to the Associated Press, the banquet menu featured such delicacies as whale sashimi, whale salad and whale bacon.

Some are quicker than others to get off a sinking ship. In an article in the Village Voice, Michael Lerner, editor of the liberal Jewish monthly Tikkun, asserts that "Jews Are Not White." Lerner writes, "In the context of American politics, to be 'white' means to be a beneficiary of the past 500 years of European exploration and exploitation of the world—and hence to 'owe' something to those who have been exploited. So when Jews are treated as white in the United States, the assessment is not a crude physical one but a judgment of Jewish culture and civilization, history, and destiny."

"Today," Lerner concluded, "[multiculturalism] is merely the tool of an elite of minority intellectuals seeking to establish themselves inside an intellectual world that has too long excluded them. And in that context, Jews must respond with an equally determined insistence that we are not white, and that those who claim we are and exclude our history and literature from the newly emerging multicultural canon are our oppressors."

[Ed.: In 1997 Lerner admitted he penned letters supposedly written to his magazine by subscribers. "Sometimes he has to concoct a community," an associate explained to The Washington Post.]


USA Today, March 26, 1993:
He is less reticent about the building racial tension in L.A., where attention is fixed on the trial of four policemen accused of violating black motorist Rodney King's civil rights.

"If they find them guys not guilty, I say get a bomb shelter," Ice-T snarls. "This time it's gonna be national. Everybody in America's looking at it, and no matter how bad (the jurors) wanna let them cops go—sometimes they gotta sacrifice the lamb."

Last year's riots were more a public demand for fair play than a venting of mindless outrage, he says.

"Now regardless of how stupid or ignorant or wrong or unfocused that particular uprising was, it was necessary. If they hadn't rioted, there wouldn't be a second trial."

Ice-T isn't a full-time rebel. He likes to lose himself in comic books and video games. He doesn't drink or smoke, and he's never taken drugs. He's a protective parent who plans to send his son to a private school and hopes his 15-year-old daughter will abandon her entertainment dreams and become an attorney.

A special note appended to the course description for "Introduction to Feminism," taught by Bettina Aptheker at the University of California at Santa Cruz:
Many people who attend the University or work at it are seriously impaired by Environmental Illness. The large numbers of pollutants, chemicals, sprays, perfumes, soaps, carcinogenic agents, etc., affect immune systems to such a degree that many are unable to function. Severe congestion, headaches, fatigue and blackouts are frequent problems. In classrooms such as ours, with no windows and only back doors through which fresh air can circulate... minimizing the use of strongly scented soaps, perfumes, etc., really helps."

Carl Rowan, from his column in the Detroit Free Press. Rowan, a severe critic of gun owners and the Second Amendment, is the same man who subsequently shot an intruder on his own property:
Americans have no right to sanctimoniously upbraid Germany for the recent outbreaks of skinhead violence there, until we gun down all the racists in America.

The Veterans Benefit Administration, concerned that it took an average of 151 days to decide whether a veteran was disabled, spent $94 million on new computers to speed up claims. Now it takes 140 days.

Ten District of Columbia nightclubs have been accused of sexual bias. The charges arose after a group of female law students complained that the clubs' "ladies' night" policy of giving cheaper drinks to women discriminates against men.

During a student festival at Indiana University, chapters of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority combined to present a play set in a laundry where the clothes come to life. To create the illusion that the clothes were moving about, the students used an old theatrical trick, blacking out the actors' faces and hands with makeup. But the effect proved too subtle for the campus's black activists, who denounced the Greeks for sponsoring a "minstrel show" and got them to apologize for performing in "blackface."

The FBI seized three Mercedes-Benzes from a businesswoman in Augusta, Georgia, after alleging that her husband had used the car phones to place a few illegal bets on sporting events.


An Indiana jury awarded $12,250 to a convicted burglar who was shot by a homeowner as he was fleeing the man's house. The burglar, who is serving a 12-year sentence for breaking into the house, sued the homeowner, claiming that the wound caused him intense pain and made it difficult for him to sleep.

Having decided to install a number of public toilet booths on city sidewalks as a sanitary measure, New York City officials decided to also placed larger booths that are accessible with magnetic keys supplied to people in wheelchairs. But before long, members of the disabled community became upset with this arrangement, saying that it was just another example of the "separate but equal" mentality. One spokesman commented, "We feel we've gotten facility changes but not attitudinal changes... We're asking for basic civil rights in the '90s that most people got in the '60s."

Despite the criticism, there was widespread praise for the toilets: they were inexpensive and they did not become defaced by graffiti or become otherwise unmanageable. However, the toilets were pulled from the streets because in order to make them permanent, the city needed to get a legislative waiver from the state, to take public bids for the toilets and undergo a public site selection process, and then have the city art commission approve the "design" of the toilets. The earliest the toilets could have been installed was two years hence, so the city decided to abandon the idea.

The Boston Herald, March 31, 1993:
Since 1976, a special group of women have congregated in New York for a unique celebration of the of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt nearly 4,000 years ago.

Gloria Steinem, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Bea Kreloff, Edith Isaac Rose, Bella Abzug, Michelle Landsburg, Phyllis Cheslar, E.M. Broner, Grace Paley and Lilly Rivlin make up the Seder Sisters.

The Women's Seder (usually held on the third night of Passover) "is the hottest ticket in town," said Broner during a phone interview... After attending years of traditional seders where the men performed the rituals at the meal while the women cooked and cleaned and prepared, Broner said, it was time for a change.

[Broner's new book] The Telling describes the basic changes the group has made, including reading from a Women's haggadah and referring to God as "She." Beyond the traditional matzoh-ball soup and gefilte fish, the menu also caters to the vegetarians and macrobiotics in the group. Instead of leaving a cup of wine on the table for the prophet Elijah, the women welcome Miriam, Moses' sister, to join their festive meal.

More creative interpretations can be found in the discussion of the plagues... Not only do the Seder Sisters reinterpret the original 10 plagues, but each year they call out plagues that have afflicted their personal lives. In 1992, Broner writes, "there were so many plagues, columns of them, a whole portico, enough to describe a dysfunctional society. They called out: Silicone Implants; Homophobia; Crown Heights Racial Strife; The Rape Trials of the Accused—Willie Kennedy Smith, Mike Tyson, the Mets..."

Washington Post columnist and chief foreign correspondent Jim Hoagland on "Washington Week in Review," June 18, 1993:
Doesn't Clinton deserve some credit for beginning to tackle the problem of getting people to pay taxes? I mean, for 12 years in this country, it's become patriotic not to pay taxes, to avoid paying taxes. And Clinton at least is trying to turn that around. Why isn't he getting more credit for that?


The Albany Times Union:
Two young men were arrested and jailed along with other routine drug arrests recently by the Troy "Crash" unit, for selling fake drugs packaged in the same way an illicit drug would be. The offenders were brought to justice under a section of the state public health law that makes possession of fake drugs just as illegal as the real thing.

Former Kansas Insurance Commissioner Fletcher Bell will receive more than $94,000 in a worker's compensation award for a back injury he suffered while taking his briefcase out of his car trunk. An insurance commissioner, Bell oversaw part of the state's worker's compensation system. The commissioner's physician also filed a claim, alleging that he suffered injuries from having to sit so often on a cramped witness stand, testifying in worker compensation cases.

Another former state employee—Robert A. Anderson, once director of the Worker's Compensation Division—accepted a $30,000 award for a back injury he sustained when reaching for a book in the State Supreme Court Law Library. Asked to name the cause of his injury, Anderson listed "stretching motion."

Bridget Booher in Duke Magazine, March-April 1993:
When Chanel shows models dripping with gold chains on necks and waists, the look, on the surface, is about wealth and privilege. And yet, years earlier, urban blacks began wearing multiple gold chains as a sign of status and as a way of alluding to the image of their ancestors in the chains of slavery.

Janice Radway, a professor in Duke's literature program, says the intricacies of such cross-referencing are endlessly debatable. "Is it that Chanel is longing for the vibrancy and vitality of black culture? Or are they making fun of it, demonstrating its [supposed] vulgarity, so that their usage of it is an expression of racism? I think it's probably both these things. The question of appropriation is very complicated."

Letter to the editor, Newsweek, February 15, 1993:
The people of Cuba have a high literacy rate and full access to health care. These are substantial achievements, ones our own society has not yet managed to deliver. Even the horse-drawn carts at the Cuban gas stations that you mentioned with such derision might not seem so terrible to the residents of our smog-choked inner cities.

[Ed.: The Wall Street Journal related the story of a Western visitor to Hanoi who enthusiastically told a Vietnamese official how wonderful it was to see people in such good shape from riding bicycles, breathing clear air in a pristine environment. The official replied wearily, 'You know, we could use some pollution.']

Outside a lecture hall at the Center for Twentieth Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, members of Students Against Sexual Harassment protested Jane Gallop, an English professor who had organized the conference then in progress, "Pedagogy: The Question of the Personal," and who had recently become the focus of sexual harassment complaints.

The Pedagogy conference was seen as a response to two recent sexual harassment controversies, both of which involved male instructors. In one, an art professor was suspended after attempting to deflect allegations that he had a sexual relationship with one female graduate student by citing a letter from another in which she insisted that her affair with him had been a "positive" experience. In another, a ceramics professor was fired after not contesting charges that a kiln overheated and suffered damage while he was engaged in sex with a female student. Critics of the conference claimed that many of its lectures could be seen as sanctioning "eroticization" of the classroom to the point of creating a "hostile environment." Lecture titles included: "I Walk the Line: The Body of the Graduate Student TA [Teaching Assistant] in the University"; "Discipline, Spectacle, and Melancholia in and around the Gay Studies Classroom"; and "On Waking Up One Morning and Discovering We Are Them: Power and Privilege on the Margins."

Graduate student Dana Beckleman, a lesbian, accused Gallop, her dissertation adviser at the time, of having creating a "hostile work environment" with flirtatious comments and physical advances. When Beckleman ultimately rejected the overtures publicly, she claims Gallop retaliated by making her graduate student work increasingly odious, ultimately forcing her to change her academic direction. When Beckleman first inquired of Gallop's intentions, "She said it was pedagogical strategy. She wanted to seduce her students to learn. And so I thought I was engaging in the latest hip and trendy, cutting-edge theoretical act by flirting..." It is worth pointing out that Gallop is married to another UWM professor.

Gallop's 1988 book, Thinking Through the Body, contains a chapter entitled "The Student Body" where she describes how while she herself was a grad student she had "a series of affairs with thirty-six year old men (at the time I was in my mid-twenties) ... all unavailable men, some married, some otherwise unavailable—a certain Oedipal insistence which this paper interprets." In the same book Gallop argues, "Pederasty is undoubtedly a useful paradigm for Classic European pedagogy. A greater man penetrates a lesser man with his knowledge. The student is empty, a receptacle for the phallus; the teacher is the phallic fullness of knowledge."

Beckleman contends her professor's strategy "crossed from a theoretical act to a physical act" at an event entitled, "Flaunting It: The First National Graduate Student Conference on Lesbian and Gay Studies," hosted by UWM. "She stood up and said, 'I'm excited about this conference because it is about graduate student's sexual preferences, and my sexual preference is graduate students.' That night, a group of us went out and she came on to me..." Beckleman said Gallop kissed her and touched her.

The following day, Beckleman delivered a paper to the conference which she considered a strong rejection of the professor's behavior: "I don't have a problem f***ing Jane Gallop as long as she practices safe sex. After all, she is merely another woman. But I do have a problem f***ing my dissertation adviser." Beckleman maintains that the flirtations continued and "she told me sexual fantasies... even after I thought I had publicly handled it." The dedication to Gallop's latest book, Around 1981, reads as follows: "To my students—the bright, hot, hip (young) women who fire my thoughts, my loins, my prose. I write this to move, to please, to shake you." It was not until complaining to the school's affirmative action office that Beckleman learned of the university rule that forbids faculty-student sex.

Beckleman, while still engaged in the complaint against Gallop, was relieved to be done with school. "Graduate school is strange enough in terms of the paranoias and anxieties it creates in people about achievement. And then you have this added factor. Here you are, trying to prove yourself as an intellectual and someone says, 'I'm not interested in your intellect, I'm interested in your body.' "

Professor Gallop eventually published a book in defense of her actions, titled, appropriately enough, Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment. In it, she admitted that her relations with the two students who accused her had always been "personalized and sexualized," but this did not constitute sexual harassment because harassment, properly understood, means discrimination, and a feminist like herself cannot be said to discriminate against other women.

One of the two dissertation advisors Gallop herself slept with as a graduate student was asked to write a blurb to promote the book. The teacher did so by apologizing for having been "unprofessional, exploitative, and lousy in bed." The publisher, Duke University Press, declined to use the blurb.

Report from the American Federation of Government Employees Council of Education Locals to the Clinton/Gore transition team:
The Council of Education Locals representsa all bargining unit employees in the U.S. Department of Edcution—Professional, Clerical and Blue Colllar—all employee who are not mangement, whatever there position title. The American Federal of Government of Government Employees... delated its bargaining authority the Council of Edcuational Locals, Council #242. The Council represents the Headquarter and Regional Offices of the is comprised of those 11 locals....

Council 242 and its respective Local stand ready to work with the Clinton/Gore transition team to assure that the Clinton/Gore administration is sucessful... We would like to be inivited to all meeting so that the worker's prespective can be considered.

A controversial curriculum guide in New York City—designed to teach children to be more multiculturally aware—includes traditional fairy tales rewritten from a feminist perspective, in which Cinderella rejects Prince Charming and Snow White organizes the seven dwarfs into a trade union.

Two Washington state inmates sued the prison system after they were fed "nutra-loaf," a mixture of vegetables, beef or chicken, apples, eggs, and potatoes that is prepared in slabs. The two were given the composite food product as punishment after they were caught trying to dig their way out of prison. After two nutra-loaf meals, they returned to regular prison food. The inmates asked a judge to ban nutra-loaf because it is not the "regular feeding" mandated by Washington law. Instead, they maintained, nutra-loaf represents constitutionally prohibited cruel and unusual punishment.

Superior Court Judge James Ladley rejected the argument. Deputy Prosecutor Curt Wyrick, who defended the prison—and even ate some nutra-loaf to prepare for the case—says the lawsuit was frivolous. "Nutra-loaf is not like what mama made, but it is not that bad."

On June 14, 1993, CNN Headline News broadcast an interview with Meg Urry, an astronomer from the Space Telescope and Science Institute, in which she complained that sexist terminology like "the Big Bang Theory" is "off-putting to young women" who might otherwise be interested in pursuing careers in her field.


Legislators in West Virginia were flooded with calls from fishermen protesting an anti-stalking bill. The callers seemed to be somewhat reassured when they found out that the bill would ban the "stalking" of people, not the "stocking" of fish ponds and streams.

Black students at the University of Rhode Island complained that a Malcolm X quotation engraved on the face of the university library failed to include any reference to his "fighting the white man."

In Tennessee, the Memphis Zoo had to refund the admission charges to several visitors to a special exhibit on dinosaurs. The people complained after they discovered there were no live dinosaurs in the exhibit.

In a takeoff on Monopoly, a new game called Street Life features players who become broke and homeless and who work to avoid landing on such streets as Skid Row or Desolation Boulevard. The players—ranging from a bankrupt stockbroker to a disabled Vietnam veteran—can also get "mugger" cards, which allow them to rob one another.

In a mock inspection of congressional offices, the General Accounting Office identified 140 violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Congress will not be fined the nearly $1 million other employers would face since Congress exempts itself from the requirements of the act, as well as other laws such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Freedom of Information Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act.

Members of the Organization for Liberation of Animals intent on freeing animals from human captivity snuck into the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota and cut a hole in the chain-link fence that surrounded the wolf exhibit, and called three local TV stations after succeeding. When camera crews and police arrived, they found the wolves lying around in the exhibit as if nothing had happened, despite a trail of raw meat left by their "liberators" to lure them out of captivity. "The exhibit is their home—it's where they feel secure and safe," says the zoo's director, Victor Camp. "It's where they get fed and taken care of. Why would they want to leave?" Referring to the animal liberation group, Camp said "Our orangutans are brighter than these people."


The Virginia Episcopalian:
Gene Kasmer, age 55, has filed a petition with the Brooklyn Center [Minnesota] school district have the Bible removed from the district's school libraries because it is "lewd, indecent, and violent."

The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has offered to send emissaries to Broward County, Florida, to reduce crime by emitting harmonious vibrations, a service for which he intends to charge $47 million annually. He offered the same service to New York City for ten cents per day per citizen—or an annual $292 million, about ten percent of the city's criminal justice budget.

The Wall Street Journal:
The creative writing program at Michigan's Alma College had an interesting way of providing inspiration: take the writers to see cadavers.

Students who attended the voluntary excursions saw mostly older corpses in mid-dissection. Many stories inspired by the visits were about death, such as the poem titled "Dead": "Legs like meat/Chicken/I eat this for supper/It looks exactly the same/Except the bones are bigger/And the meat is more plentiful/Much more plentiful."

"The contrast of seeing dead bodies helped my students," says Prof. William Palmer. In 1992 he invited a writer to read from behind a cadaver that had been wheeled onstage. Says Palmer: "It was a beautiful, illuminating experience."

In West Virginia, marriage licenses are now embossed with warning labels about spousal abuse.

The Washington Post, February 4, 1993:
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee yesterday appointed a special counsel to assist in its consideration of challenges to the election of [accused sexual harasser] Sen. Bob Packwood...

Six challenges have been filed to the seating of Packwood, alleging that his election was fraudulent because he lied... and thus denied voters information they needed to cast an informed vote.

A Boynton Beach, Florida, police officer, fired after he had a Nazi swastika tattooed on his ankle, has been ordered reinstated by an arbiter because the officer had the tattoo applied while he was drunk.

In 1993, the Department of Labor warned the Savannah Cardinals baseball team that it must fire fourteen-year-old batboy Tommy McCoy because he could not work after 7:00 P.M. while school was in session, or after 9:00 P.M. during the summer. The team's fans were outraged and announced plans for a "Save Tommy's Job" night.

The San Diego Union-Tribune printed a story about a 49-year-old woman who emerged naked from a dressing room at a Nordstrom department store and began screaming that she had just been sexually assaulted by a man who put a hunting knife to her throat, threatening to kill her if she didn't cooperate.

The woman, whose name was withheld because she was promised anonymity by the police, said that the man removed her gold wedding band, Seiko watch and gold chain, and took $133 from her purse. Then, using pieces of duct tape, he bound her hands, sexually molested her with a tire iron and forced her to perform oral sex.

Police spent the next twelve days investigating the highly publicized rape after putting together a composite portrait of the alleged rapist that Union-Tribune writer Sharon Jones says "resembled President Bill Clinton."

Then, as Southern California feminists were charging that no institution in society was free of rape, the supposed victim failed a lie detector test. DNA tests of stains on the sweater she was wearing—she claimed that she had spit out the rapist's ejaculate—showed the semen to be her husband's.

Confronted by San Diego police investigators with this fact, the woman said that she always carried her husband's semen in her purse because it was useful as a facial cream to prevent wrinkles and was indeed carrying a vial of it on the night of the attack and that the rapist found it and spilled it onto her sweater.

By this time the police realized that they had something bizarre on their hands. After further interrogation, the "victim" admitted that she had staged the entire event, including molesting herself with the tire iron and using some of her husband's semen to substantiate her allegation.

Told about the hoax, Sherry Arndt, identified by the Union-Tribune as "coordinator of California's foremost sexual assault response program" said: "That woman is a victim of something. She's crying out. She probably was molested as a child."