- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 18, 2000

Rating and berating

"Hillary Clinton and Monica Lewinsky reaped the whirlwind of hatred for Bill Clinton. And ridiculing Linda Tripp was easier than taking on Kenneth Starr, the independent prosecutor.
"It's not just the so-called unattractive woman who pays a price. No matter how long and hard she may work, a pretty woman often finds her success attributed to her looks, even to sleeping her way to the top… .
"What is new is the all-pervasiveness and acceptability of cruel external judgments… . [T]here has never been so much rating and berating of people, especially female people, for looks alone.
"In recent years of backlash against women's advances … this attention has been suffused with meanness. Linda Tripp, Monica Lewinsky and Hillary Clinton are just exaggerated versions of what may be in store for anyone."
Gloria Steinem, writing on "Lovely to Look Upon Or Else," in Sunday's New York Times

Student uniform

"The young are acutely aware of the social meaning of what they wear and are careful to signal through their dress the kind of social relations that they feel comfortable to engage in. When I first entered an American lecture hall, I was amazed to confront a room in which the young women were all different, clearly making an effort to stand out, and the young men were all alike, devoted to being inconspicuous, part of a crowd.
"The symbol of this is the baseball cap. Anyone can wear it, whatever his intelligence, culture or physique. And because it signifies attachment to a team, the cap lays claim only to a vicarious prowess and makes no personal boast on the wearer's behalf.
"Is this a new form of politeness, one that cancels the rudeness of wearing a cap indoors? … No, it is a way of retreating from the world where politeness counts the world where you are judged for what you seem.
"By adopting the outward appearance of a moron, the American college kid hopes to ensure that nothing will be demanded of him. His talents, conversation, looks and achievements will all seem surprising and creditable, if they emerge from a body rooted in sneakers and crowned by a baseball cap. The cap is his refuge from a world that can be successfully negotiated only by style only by the manners and graces that he has never been taught."
Roger Scruton, writing on "Real Men Have Manners," in the winter issue of City Journal

Fine with him

"Fatherhood is the wildest ride I have ever been on. And that's saying something… .
"Melissa and Julie are good people. Nice set of values, they're [funny] and they've got courage. All rare stuff. You could see they were in love with each other… .
"You've got two powerful women, immensely bright, immensely capable, with every resource at their command and it was as hard as it was for them [to find a sperm donor]. Then imagine lonely, frustrated people out there in the world with no resources, no one to help them, afraid to lose their job if they even admit they're gay, let alone that they want to have a gay family.
"Maybe it's good thing for a lot of straight families to see that this is not something strange. I think everyone will understand, except maybe the Christian Coalition and the far right wing. But, I mean, I always wanted to be on the Nixon enemies list and I missed it. So if I [anger] these people, it's fine with me… .
"If, you know, in due time, at a distance, they're proud of who their genetic dad is, that's great."
singer David Crosby, interviewed by Jancee Dunn, explaining why he acted as sperm donor for filmmaker Julie Cypher and her lesbian partner Melissa Etheridge, in the Feb. 3 issue of Rolling Stone

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