- The Washington Times - Friday, March 3, 2000

Private lies

"During the long year of inquiry into the Lewinsky matter, Clinton supporters conveyed their disdain for it with the refrain 'It's just about sex.' The phrase summarized several different claims: the Clinton-Lewinsky relationships was about sex, not harassment; sex is private; lies about sex are private; everybody lies about sex.
"If what we mean by 'sex' is intimate activity that does not violate anyone's will, I agree with each one of these claims. But that is a big 'if.'
"Sometimes sex is a weapon of terror, or of power, or of shame. Sometimes people take the most private, intimate part of ourselves and abuse it. To avenge this wrong requires inquiry into acts that effectuate it: It requires inquiry into sex.
"Clinton's defenders indulge in a dangerous syllogism when they insisted that privacy immunized the president's lies because the lies were about sex… . By this logic, privacy will always immunize inequality when discriminatory sexual conduct is inequality's source. By this logic, anyone who wishes to subordinate women should use sex as his means to do so."
Gwendolyn Mink, from her new book, "Hostile Environment: The Political Betrayal of Sexually Harassed Women"

Parents or 'experts'?

"In the 20th century's first half, experts told parents to schedule their babies' vital functions rigidly, including eating, sleeping, elimination and playing. Parents suppressed their natural desire to offer spontaneous love and attention to their children.
"But then pediatrician [Benjamin] Spock and others encouraged adults to rely more on their own common sense and empathy. The overall effect was beneficial for parents and children alike.
"Now the pendulum is swinging back. Many mental-health professionals, especially psychiatrists, are blaming children's brains for any emotional problems or conflict with adults and recommending medication as the solution… .
"Why are so many children in distress or in conflict with adults? Sometimes, it's too-high expectations, especially in our competitive schools… . Peers may promote street drugs and the abuse of weaker children, and broader cultural influences, such as TV and popular music, can undermine family life and encourage drugs, sexuality and violence… .
"It is up to us as individual adults to reject 'expert' opinions that automatically find fault in the brains of our children."
Peter R. Breggin, writing on "Don't let 'experts' parent your children," in Monday's USA Today

Bold experiment

"Seventeen years ago, Francis Ford Coppola … decided on a bold experiment. He would turn his back on Hollywood, disappear into the hinterlands and direct two movies about kids more specifically, two art movies about kids. They would be highly stylized, if not downright operatic, and would be called 'The Outsiders' and 'Rumble Fish.' …
"Coppola decided he would test almost every young actor on both coasts to put together the optimum cast for his ambitious films… .
" 'We called it the Bataan Death March,' recalls one survivor, Rob Lowe. 'The best actors didn't get the parts, just the toughest those who refused to crack under pressure.'
"Those actors included in the Death March made up a Who's Who of the aspiring young stars of that era: Tom Cruise, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Mickey Rourke, Emilio Estevez and Rob Lowe… .
"The young actors expected the Coppola movies to become classics and were confident in their destinies as movie stars… .
"They were still kids, yet they already moved easily in that privileged circle of stardom."
Peter Bart, writing on "Where Have You Gone, Ralph Macchio?" in the March issue of GQ

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