An Inclusive Litany


The Clinton administration adopted new racial categories on federal forms, allowing people for the first time to identify themselves as members of more than one of the previously recognized racial categories. This move came as a rejection of a separate "multiracial" category that critics argued would have been less informative to demographers tracking such data. But still unclear is how people exercising the option to check off more than one category will be counted on the census and thus in the drawing of congressional districts.

A parallel drive for a new category for Middle Eastern Americans made little headway because no agreement could be reached on whether the group would include both Arabs and Jews.

[Ed.: Multiple racial identities became a prominent issue when golf champion Tiger Woods refused to identify with a particular racial group. Woods, who is part Thai and black with a little Caucasian and American Indian thrown in, identifies himself playfully as "Cablinasian." A close friend and adviser ascribed quasi-messianic value to his racial mix: "He is the Chosen One.... The world is just getting a taste of his power ... because he's qualified through his ethnicity to accomplish miracles." Some cope with the issue by further fragmenting existing racial categories. At Stanford, students formed a group called the Half-Asian People's Association, one of whose members cited lack of an accurate check box on forms as evidence of "discrimination against people of mixed heritage."]

Energy Department employee Sherry Reid won a $120,000 settlement for the mental anguish she suffered while visiting a male colleague at an East Texas oil reserve who greeted her with the Cajun-American honorific "Coon Ass."

A University of Tennessee athletic trainer won a $300,000 settlement for the psychological trauma she suffered when she saw quarterback Peyton Manning moon a fellow athlete in the training room.


Fearing an influx of out-of-town Halloween revelers, the city council of Bridgeport, Ohio, now requires trick-or-treaters to have a license to ask for candy. And in New Jersey, the Hillsborough school board voted to uphold a ban on the word "Halloween," since it derives from All Hallow's Eve, marking the day before the Christian Feast of All Saints Day. Instead, the board has allowed it to be referred to as a "fall festival celebration." Obeying the same proscription on religious holidays, the board also renamed "St. Valentine's Day" as "Special Person Day."


The New Republic reports that a strange book proposal is circulating among various New York publishers, for which at least one has made a seven-figure bid. The ghostwritten book is tentatively titled History Will Absolve Me: The Autobiography of Fidel Castro. Among its revelations: "If there is anyone alive who reminds me of Che today—of his complex nature, combining the beautiful and the ideal and the tragic—I would say it is Diana, the Princess of Wales. If you see the vitality of her spirit and the struggle in her life, then you have seen what Che was like!"

[Ed.: Disenchanted with the more mundane, bureaucratic direction the Cuban Revolution was taking, Che Guevara was killed in Bolivia in 1967 while leading a failed expeditionary force attempting to incite armed revolution in the rest of Latin America. You can pretty much guess his position on the use of land mines.]

The driver's license renewal form in Massachusetts includes fields for new mailing address, new residential address, and new sex.

The revised National Standards for United States History fails to mention Robert E. Lee, Paul Revere, the Wright Brothers or Thomas Edison. In their place, students are to learn about Mansa Musa, a 14th-century African king, and the Indian chief Speckled Snake.

After a three-year battle, Robert Kusznikow of Stafford Township, New Jersey, was arrested and sentenced to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for his refusal to pay for a connection to the city's water system. Mr. Kusznikow notes that he already had a well on his property.

A New York City public school fifth-grader brought home the following week-long math assignment:
Historians estimate that when Columbus landed on what is now the island of Hati [sic] there were 250,000 people living there. In two years this number had dropped to 125,000. What fraction of the people who had been living in Hati when Columbus arrived remained? Why do you think the Arawaks died? In 1515 there were only 50,000 Arawaks left alive. In 1550 there were 500. If the same number of people died each year, approximately how many people would have died each year? In 1550 what percentage of the original population was left alive? How do you feel about this?


An Associated Press dispatch from Friendswood, Texas, October 23, 1997:
Two volunteer coaches are taking a youth football league to court after they were banned for life because their 11- and 12-year-old players couldn't resist playing hard.

After the Sagemont Cowboys destroyed the Friendswood Chiefs 62-0 on Oct. 4, the Bay Area Football League banned twin brothers Roy and Rene Aguilar—whose team has dominated the league for several years.

"They're saying that because we demoralized the other team and that we are teaching the kids unethical practices that we're out for life," Rene Aguilar, the team's assistant coach, said in Wednesday's editions of the Galveston County Daily News.

The league has a rule that prohibits teams from winning by more than 42 points. The Aguilars say they told the team to slow down after building a 42-0 lead, but the players couldn't help scoring again.

The Friendswood Chiefs, named after this Houston suburb, fumbled the ball in their own end zone and Sagemont recovered to increase its lead to 48-0. Rene Aguilar said the coaches tried to tell the players not to recover the fumble.

"That's confusing to them," he said. "One minute we're trying to tell them to play hard, then we're telling them to lay down."

Recovering that fumble, according to a league rule, meant a one-game suspension for the head coach and a $100 fine for the team.


The Royal Academy of Arts in London is in upheaval following the publicity surrounding its contemporary art exhibition, "Sensation," which has caused many academy members to resign in disgust.

One room of the exhibit shows nothing but mannequins with male genitals for noses and sex-doll mouths. A piece titled "The Holy Virgin Mary" is composed of an image of Mary circled by pornographic clips and elephant dung. Also present was a massive portrait of the Moors child torturer and murderer, Myra Hindley, composed of children's hand prints. The mother of one victim, whose screams were tape recorded, has protested the exhibit in vain. "We have left the realm of art now," sculptor Michael Sandel wrote on his resignation. "I am afraid that the RA has done something bordering on evil."

Asked whether there are limits in taste or morality in choosing shows, RA exhibitions secretary Norman Rosenthal explained, "All art is moral."

Reuters reports that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has instituted a new educational program to reflect the growing number of single-parent families. Teachers are encouraged to use phrases like "the adults who live in your house" or "the people who look after you" when speaking to four- and five-year-olds.

The city council of Berkeley, California, has expanded its boycott of oil companies that do business in Burma to include those companies doing business in Nigeria. Included in the boycott are Arco, Chevron, Mobil, Shell, Texaco, and Unocal. Exxon has also long been boycotted due to its slow response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. City Council member Polly Armstrong commented on the subsequent difficulty in finding gasoline for city vehicles: "In the end, we're going to have to look for mineral rights under the city of Berkeley."


After leaving the chairmanship of the National Endowment for the Arts, Jane Alexander revealed to the New York Times just how damaging the arts agency's critics have been.

"Ms. Alexander," the Times reported, "said that the persistent assault by conservatives had a chilling effect on the willingness of arts groups to apply for federal aid. 'What has happened is that the applicants themselves are not sending in proposals for provocative work because they want to get funded,' she said.

"Ms. Alexander said artists were 'very astute' and so were now seeking support for controversial work elsewhere."

With a strong sense of accomplishment, Patrick Moore, who founded Greenpeace in 1971, retired from the environmental movement in the mid-1980s following its many successes. But in later years he has found himself at odds with Greenpeace's increasingly radical stance.

Moore recalls that after deciding to take up salmon farming in his native British Columbia, "Greenpeace came out against salmon farming. That kind of blew my mind." He listened to their objections, but found it an "absolutely ludicrous, anti-science campaign," and told his former colleagues so.

A third-generation forester with doctoral credentials, Moore next found himself opposed to Greenpeace on forestry issues. Moore had come to believe that the best way for parties involved in land use disputes to solve problems is by cooperation and compromise, a view that earned him the reputation of a traitor among his former colleagues. "They refused to join a community-based, consensus-approach, roundtable to seek solutions to land-use problems" in a stance he described as "a childish inability to grow and recognize the basic fact that there are very real social and economic needs that have to be met every day for 5.9 billion people." Moore earned extra ire by joining the Forestry Alliance, an industry-backed group whose aim is to balance environmental and economic needs. He has also written a book, Pacific Spirit: The Forest Reborn, which defends modern forestry techniques.

Radicals argue that logging brings about deforestation with resulting climate change and extinction of species. "Some 50,000 species of plants and animals disappear from the planet each year," said a wire-service story quoting officials at the World Wildlife Fund, adding that "commercial loggers are mainly to blame." But Moore demanded to know of a single species that has become extinct due to logging, a challenge the group failed to meet, though the charge continues to surface. Moore cites U.N. studies that show 95 percent of deforestation is due to slash-and-burn agriculture and exploitive noncommercial fuel gathering for settlements. Moore says this "only makes sense as the whole purpose of forestry is to grow trees, i.e., to keep the land forested."

But Moore's views continue to mark him as a Judas. When Moore testified before a House subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health to counter arguments advocating and end to commercial logging on public lands, the Sierra Club termed Moore's testimony a "multimillion-dollar public-relations hoax." Spokesperson Debbie Sease commented, "The choice of this witness sends a signal that the industry recognizes that it faces a public-relations nightmare."

A Pennsylvania man decided to place his ladder on top of a pile of frozen horse manure to extend its reach while working on his barn. When the manure thawed, the ladder slipped, the man fell, sued the ladder manufacturer, and a jury awarded him $330,000.

In North Dakota, a woman who was injured when her smoke detector failed to sound sued the manufacturer of the alarm, which unfortunately requires batteries in order to function.

For more than a century, Cindy Domenigoni's family maintained a Winchester, California, ranch with what she calls "a wide diversity and abundance of species and wildlife habitat." But once the endangered Stephens kangaroo rat was discovered there, the federal government forced the family to idle 800 of their acres without compensation. "Our family's good stewardship was rewarded by the loss of our land and a financial impact of over $400,000." The family was also forbidden to use farm equipment to build firebreaks, which resulted in an inferno that torched 25,000 acres, 29 homes, along with the rodents themselves.

As part of its effort to control air pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency has instituted a strict new set of particulate standards with which, incidentally, nature itself frequently falls out of compliance. In doing so, EPA administrator Carol Browner disregarded the findings of the EPA's own Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee that low levels of the smaller smoke and dust particles the regulations target were not found to cause any negative health effects. The President's Council of Economic Advisers has estimated the new regulations will cost industry and consumers $60 billion a year. However, assuring the public that the regulations would reduce asthma attacks, Browner firmly declared, "When it comes to protecting our kids, I will not be swayed."

But science journalist Michael Fumento notes that there appears to be an inverse correlation between asthma and pollution rates, with asthma rates increasing in America as air pollution has diminished. Comparisons of high-polluting countries, such as East Germany and Poland, with nations with strong pollution-control measures, such as West Germany and Sweden, indicate higher rates of asthma in countries with less pollution. Ben Lieberman, a policy analyst at the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, comments that this may be due to the prevalence of energy-efficient buildings, which have ventilation systems that seal in and circulate dust. Some medical authorities even believe the asthma increase is due to suppressed immune response to diseases children in more advanced countries no longer contract. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases determined that the leading cause of asthma among children is an allergic reaction to cockroach droppings and carcasses.

In addition to its efforts to reduce smoke particulates, the EPA, in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration, is seeking a ban on asthma inhalers that use chlorofluorocarbons. Such inhalers have previously been exempt from CFC bans proscribed by the Montreal Protocols because they were considered a medical necessity and because they account for only about 1 percent of atmospheric chlorine, which some think leads to damage of the ozone layer. By banning the inhalers, the EPA hopes to comply with a more strict extension of the original treaty.

George Washington University medical researcher Robert Goldberg criticizes the ban, noting that low-income asthmatic children tend to use the CFC-propelled inhalers the most because they are one-eighth the cost of non-CFC brands. Asthma specialists have also determined that, since inhalers may cause various side effects, it is best for there to be as wide a selection as possible. Goldberg also notes that the rising cost of inhalers may be a contributing factor to the 300 percent increase in asthma-related deaths among children between 1980 and 1993.

But Drusilla Hufford, acting director of the EPA's stratospheric protection division, defends the ban: "The problem for the ozone layer is that if the U.S. were to argue that our remaining uses are so small that we ought to be allowed to continue using them indefinitely, it's likely that a lot of other countries would make similar arguments about their uses, and the result of that kind of change would be a problem for the ozone layer."

The FDA received more than 9,000 comments from medical groups, physicians and asthmatics; all but 50 were opposed to the new regulations, including the American Medical Association and the Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Among the supporters is the 3M company, manufacturer of the only FDA-approved inhaler that does not use CFCs. (Using a mailing list provided by 3M, the FDA even sent medical professionals a letter urging them to use 3M's inhalers.)

The American Lung Association also supports the CFC inhaler ban—the same group that spearheaded the stringent air quality standards in the name of asthma sufferers. When asked about possible high costs of new inhalers without competition, ALA Deputy Managing Director Fran DuMelle suggests price controls on new inhalers as a "real solution to a free market which says 'I need to recoup my R&D expenses within the first five years.' "

[Ed.: Initially, leading CFC manufacturer DuPont provided crucial support for the Montreal Protocols, which call for phasing out CFCs, while simultaneously insisting that CFCs do no significant damage to the ozone layer. There is a plausible reason for this curious position: CFC substitutes are relatively costly to manufacture and entail increased safety regulation, effectively putting smaller competitors at a disadvantage while maintaining high profits. As an international ban, the Protocols would also increase the negligible market share of American manufacturers worldwide. As the industry learned, however, much of the benefit they counted on quickly evaporated in 1990 as Congress enacted a "windfall profits" tax on the industry.

In May 1999, a federal appeals court blocked the administration's air-quality standards, having found them unguided by any "intelligible principles" other than the sort of inexplicable policy whims that are normally reserved for Congress. The court also found that in performing the required cost/benefit analysis, the EPA had ignored the potential costs of a reduction in ground-level ozone, where research suggests it may perform much the same vital role in filtering out ultraviolet radiation as stratospheric ozone famously does.]

Following repeated warnings to stop using a non-approved textbook, 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures, in their classroom, the school board of Vaughn, New Mexico, fired Nadine and Patsy Cordova from their junior-high and high-school teaching positions. But with the assistance of the New Mexico Civil Liberties Union, the sisters are suing to get their jobs back, alleging violation of their First Amendment right to free speech.

The school board of the mostly Hispanic community objected to the antagonistic racial and political tone of the book, which contains mostly pictures and is used by over 300 educational institutions in the United States. Chapter headings include Death to the Invader, U.S. Conquest and Betrayal, We Are Now a U.S. Colony, In Occupied America, and They Stole the Land. The stated purpose of the text is to "celebrate our resistance to being colonized and absorbed by racist empire builders." Chicanos are not white, but mestizo, "a people born from an act of destruction, a people born from an act of rape, a new people of America born to revolt."

American defenders at the Alamo were "slave owners, land speculators, and Indian killers," and Davey Crockett was a cannibal. The 1846 "War on Mexico" was an unprovoked U.S. invasion. The Texas Rangers are a "terrorist force" that, "like any police force, ... exist to protect the property of the rich and to keep down the oppressed.... Today they still serve the rich by repressing farm workers." Predictably, the Immigration and Naturalization Service is "the Gestapo of Mexicans." On the brighter side, pre-invasion Mexico "was a land of ancient cultures that prohibited anyone going hungry or homeless. The idea of private property did not exist." Students are taught that, "for poor Chicanos and Indian people, the land is our mother—not private property. It is a means of survival, of production, that we lost to the capitalist system and its values." Today, by contrast, Mexico's wealth "goes to U.S. capitalists, whose domination of Mexico's economy is part of el imperialismo yankee."


The Washington Post, October 19, 1997:
"The theory of relativity worked out by Mr. Einstein, which is in the domain of natural science, I believe can also be applied to the political field," [Chinese president] Jiang [Zemin] said. "Both democracy and human rights are relative concepts and not absolute and general."


In an inscrutable act of consumer advocacy, Ralph Nader's Consumer Project on Technology has petitioned the government to force Microsoft to charge consumers to use its Internet Explorer browser.

Boston College's fall semester features a new course in theology called "Mythic Patterns of Patriarchy" which analyzes "patriarchal religious myth, especially in the professions and in the manifestations of phallotechnology." Bucknell University offers "Witchcraft and Politics," which explores "witchcraft, spirit possession, and cults of the dead as idioms of power and as vehicles for protest, resistance, and violent social change." The University of California at Santa Cruz offers "Feminist Cyborg Fiction," which discusses The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez, the tale of "a lesbian-of-color vampire."


A black Alabama State University graduate student filed suit after being denied a scholarship that was reserved for white candidates in order to diversify the historically black institution. The NAACP declined to represent the student, so the Center for Individual Rights took the case instead.

From "The Elevator Ride," by Nathan McCall, part of his new book of personal essays, What's Going On. Writing in the second person, McCall describes an encounter in an elevator between a black man—presumably himself—and a white woman who suffers from fear and "racial suspicion":
She suspects what you want.... She seems filled with the wildly absurd terror that, in the brief ride between the 12th and 1st floors, this black man may rape her, rob her, and leave her for dead.... Can't she tell from your bearing that you're no rapist or thief?
[Emphasis in original.]
On the first page of his previously published memoir, Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America, McCall describes another of his racial encounters:
We all took off after him... Stomped him and kicked him... kicked him in the head and face and watched the blood gush from his mouth... kicked him in the stomach and nuts, where I knew it would hurt.... Every time I drove my foot into his balls, I felt better.... We bloodied him so badly.... We walked away, laughing, boasting.... F***ing up white boys like that made us feel good inside.
In addition to its displays of McCall's unreconstructed racism, the book also contains candid descriptions of his participation in numerous felonies: assault and battery, breaking and entering, assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, rape, and attempted murder. McCall spent very little time in prison for these crimes, but instead went to a state university, then on to a career in journalism that eventually landed him on the Metro desk of the Washington Post. It's quite possible the nervous woman in the elevator simply read McCall's book and recognized his face from the cover.

A new biography by James H. Jones reviews the life of Alfred Kinsey, a researcher whose influential reports on male and female sexuality in 1948 and 1953 not only classified a wide range of sexual practices, but fostered an ethic of tolerance that presaged the sexual revolution. But, in a cliché come to life, it turns out that Kinsey was not the disinterested scientist many made him out to be.

Kinsey was a bisexual voyeur who engaged in increasingly violent masochistic masturbatory practices, which eventually led to a pelvic infection that killed him at age 62. He engaged in wife-swapping with fellow staffers at his Institute for Sexual Research, at least two of whom had sex with both Kinsey and his wife. Various couplings, orgies, and masturbatory demonstrations were filmed in the attic of Kinsey's home. Jones notes that Kinsey even engaged in a variety of blackmail, securing a stream of foundation money by "shrewdly obligating his sponsors in those organizations by collecting their sexual histories."

His scientific conclusions were tainted by advocacy for his own unusual sexual preferences. "Kinsey's scientific data wasn't flawed. It was fraudulent," says Dr. Judith Reisman, who questioned the veracity of Kinsey's primary research on male sexuality for nearly twenty years. "Kinsey wanted to change our sex attitudes and laws; so he created the data that he wanted. He also threw out three-quarters of the [questionnaire] answers he didn't want to use. He picked who he wanted [as study subjects], and he lied about who he interviewed." Reisman notes that five-sixths of Kinsey's research subjects were aberrant males, representing a disproportionate sampling of prisoners, sex offenders, and male prostitutes. Jones notes that Kinsey sought out as many male homosexual interviewees as possible, both because little was then known about homosexuality, and in order to discreetly engage in anonymous sexual relations with men in the large cities to which he traveled in search of data. That sampling bias led to Kinsey's widely cited estimate that ten percent of American men were homosexually oriented—at least three times the rate determined by later surveys that used more reliable sampling techniques.

Kinsey also solicited ethically questionable data. One chapter of his first report on "early sexual growth and activity" among boys appears to have been based almost entirely on the reminiscences of a man who claimed to have engaged in sexual relations with about 800 children. Kinsey jumped at the chance to acquire the diaries and photographic archives of the man he called "Mr. X." In a passage based on these accounts, Kinsey notes that children "will fight away the partner and may make violent attempts to avoid climax, although they derive definite pleasure from the situation." Kinsey made no effort to bring his unnamed source to justice. True to form, Kinsey's estimates made much of this seem like normative behavior: "85 per cent of the younger male population could be convicted as sex offenders if law-enforcement officials were as efficient as most people expect them to be."

A potential domestic dispute was set in motion when Washington state legislator Scott Smith and his wife, Leslie, both applied to join the police force. On the academy's test, he scored 18th to her 287th. She got a job, and he didn't. He is now leading the campaign for the Washington Civil Rights Initiative to abolish state race and gender preferences, modeled after California's Proposition 209.

A headline in the New York Times on September 28, 1997, read: "Crime Keeps on Falling, but Prisons Keep on Filling." Journalist Fox Butterfield further pondered the paradox: "It has become a comforting story: for five straight years, crime has been falling, led by a drop in murder. So why is the number of inmates in prisons and jails around the nation still going up?" Butterfield repeated his astonishment in January of 1998. "Despite a decline in the crime rate over the past five years," Butterfield reported, "the number of inmates in the nation's jails and prisons rose again in 1997." The accompanying graphic repeated the puzzling news: "The crime rate has gone down, but the number of inmates continues to rise."

And again in 2000, with ritual precision, Butterfield's headline read: "Number in Prison Grows Despite Crime Reduction." This time, however, there's a sign he may be tentatively grasping a rather simple point. "One major issue that the Justice Department's study did not address was whether there was any relationship between growth in the incarceration rate and the drop in crime. Advocates of tougher prosecution and sentencing say the huge growth in imprisonment, with the inharceration rate quadrupling since 1980, has been largely responsible for the decrease in crime."

The Times also pointed out one of the drawbacks of safer streets. "Drop in Crime Leaves Trauma Centers With Patient Shortage," read the headline, and the accompanying illustration featured the caption, "Too Many Centers, Not Enough Trauma." "With too few patients, trauma surgeons who must execute complex, life-saving maneuvers at high speed are unable to keep their skills honed," the report warned. One doctor said that he had been forced "to use more cadavers to educate medical students."

Brooklyn police arrested the Rev. Chester LaRue, rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, for selling cocaine out of his church. When police arrived, LaRue was seated at his desk, writing a sermon while smoking crack. The former rector of St. John's, George Hoeh, was murdered by his gay lover in Atlantic City in the 1980s.

At about the same time LaRue was arrested, two other Episcopal priests in Brooklyn were brought up on charges, one for tax fraud, the other, by the church, for sexual misconduct.

The previous year, Penthouse magazine featured a photographic spread of another priest, the Rev. William Lloyd Andries, having sex with his 25-year-old Brazilian "husband" while wearing clerical garb. According to witnesses, Andries, sometimes dressed as Marilyn Monroe, regularly hosted orgies on the alter of his Brooklyn church.

Following this long string of unseemly incidents, Bishop Orris G. Walker Jr. explained that despite appearances, he had not been negligent in his oversight of the priests—just the opposite. "One of my sins is I'm a workaholic," Walker said. "I need to take some time for me." A fellow priest, the Rev. Sara Louise Krantz, told Newsday, "It's the most courageous thing he could have done."

The 70 employees who polish floors, clean bathrooms, and collect garbage at the Service Employees International Union's headquarters in Manhattan must sign a waiver denying them basic union protections. The union says that since Local 32 operates the building, it cannot represent both management and labor without a conflict of interest. The employees currently receive the same wages and benefits as union members. However, union leaders can dismiss or discipline employees without a grievance procedure, and they can unilaterally reduce wages and change working conditions.

When Alvero Cardona applied for a $9.61-an-hour tutoring job at UCLA's Academic Advancement Program, he was prepared to talk about his academic honors, his previous experience tutoring at another college, and how his immigrant background might help him tutor "historically under-represented students." But he wasn't prepared for a loyalty oath. During his job interview, Cardona says, he wasn't asked a single question related to his subject. Instead the interviewer asked him, "How do you feel about affirmative action?" and "Do you believe that there is institutional racism at UCLA?" Cardona said he hadn't experienced racism when he attended UCLA and told the interviewer that he was ambivalent about affirmative action, believing the policy "can be carried too far." Cardona says he didn't get the job because he "couldn't understand the needs of AAP students."

From a Knight-Ridder advance piece:
Disney's newest Cinderella passes multicultural muster with flying colors. The title role belongs to singer-actress Brandy [who is black] ... Her prince is Paolo Montalban, a newcomer of Hispanic descent. Milk-skinned Bernadette Peters has the role of the wicked stepmother whose two haughty daughters are played by white and black actresses. Whitney Houston is the fairy godmother, Jason Alexander [is] ... the Prince's loyal steward, Lionel, and Whoopi Goldberg gets to be Queen Constantina.

We hope that this Cinderella, as we approach the millennium, is reflective of what our society is today.

[Ed.: It is. Paolo Montalban is Filipino, so Disney has not forgotten Asians.]


Following the recent tobacco deal, which would require an exemption from the antitrust laws the Federal Trade Commission administers, FTC chairman Robert Pitofsky worriedly commented that the exemption "would allow the tobacco companies to coordinate their behavior and raise prices far in excess of levels necessary to cover the annual payments and keep the extra profits for themselves." In fact, the whole point of the deal is to raise prices so that fewer people smoke tobacco.

A teach-in was held in New York, led by Sex Panic, a group formed as a result of heated ideological debate between gays and queers that pitted the value of gay male promiscuity against the dangers of HIV transmission. Self-described "queer" academic radicals held the teach-in out of frustration with increasingly mainstream gay leaders and journalists (Gabriel Rotello and Andrew Sullivan in particular) who counseled sexual responsibility and monogamous behavior in the face of AIDS. Epidemiologists had determined that despite aggressive campaigns to promote condom use, roughly a third of gay men continued to have unprotected anal sex with a variety of partners. Queers seek to remove stigma from all sexual practice and resent the advancement of an exclusively gay identity, which they believe maintains a marginalized culture as confining as homophobia itself.

Caleb Crain describes the scene in Lingua Franca, October, 1997:

During the question-and-answer period after the teach-in, a man stood up to announce he was "what is known under Megan's Law as a sexually dangerous predator," jailed for four years for having sex with underage boys and now tracked by the police. He was met with a silence that was both stunned and respectful.... No one in the room either seconded or reproached him....

At the very end of the evening, another man stood up and falteringly said that he felt the gay community's celebration of multipartner sex made it more difficult for him to maintain an exclusive, long-term relationship. He was interrupted and heckled—the only instance of either behavior during the teach-in. Someone in the audience cattily suggested that the man join Sexual Compulsives Anonymous....

The Advocate later published a profile of San Diego "sex activist" and HIV-positive gay porn star Tony Valenzuela, who organized the Sex Panic Summit. Declaring his preference for unprotected sex with multiple partners, Valenzuela noted that he had slept with 150 men the previous year and that he had failed to use condoms about a third of the time. "Sex with a condom is artificial sex," he said. Commenting on the risk he was exposing others to in the face of a second wave of the AIDS epidemic, Valenzuela explained that while gay men should try to stay uninfected, "health isn't only biological. Health is psychological, emotional, and erotic. We're so one-dimensional when it comes to health, saying that it has to be biological survival."