- The Washington Times - Friday, August 31, 2001

The new male
"As Western society moves ever closer towards pure meritocracy, it is becoming clear that women are not only healthier and better-behaved than men, but also smarter — or, at least, more willing to be educated. … In 1996, women were 56 percent of graduate students, compared with 39 percent in 1970. … As of last summer, four of the eight Ivy League colleges has female provosts. …
"As men slip further behind in the meritocratic rat race, the culture sends out more and more signals that traditional masculinity is pass. Peter Whittle reminded us in the Los Angeles Times last February that Clark Gable would, if he had lived, be 100 years old this year. Whittle went on to compare the ideal of masculinity represented by Gable with the one currently on display in our movie houses. You can get the point by noting that Gable arrived on the set of 'Gone With the Wind' two days before his 38th birthday, a milestone that Tom Cruise reached in July 2000, and that Brad Pitt will arrive at this coming December. The difference is, of course, that Gable was unapologetically and unambiguously a man, while Cruise and Pitt are, in their screen personae, essentially boys. The trend line is heading off even further into pretty childishness, too — think of Leonardo DiCaprio."
—John Derbyshire, writing on "It's a Woman's World," Tuesday in National Review Online at www. nationalreview.com

The new education
"There can be no doubt that lesbians and gay men have recently emerged into the cultural spotlight. We will analyze the 'gay '90s' through the prism of an historical period in which there has been an explicit encouragement of lesbian and gay civil rights. This course focuses on this cultural 'sea-change' (through films, TV, popular magazines), but places those media images in a social context, a context that includes the election of the first president who has embraced gay rights, as well as the new Republican majority and statewide anti-gay initiatives. …
"Are old stereotypes being recycled or are new stereotypes being invented? How do the media construct the 'new gay visibility?' …
"Are gays being introduced into the cultural imagination only to be trivialized and stereotyped? And, most importantly, what are the ideologies about gay identity being expressed in these representations? … While this course will focus on the recent media explosion, we will also locate these representations in a cultural-historical context, examining early Hollywood films and early television images as well."
—From the description of "Representations of Lesbians, Gays in Popular Culture" in the fall course catalogue at Georgetown University

The new normal
"Remember 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'?
"The overrated '70s film was anointed 'campy,' 'cool,' and a 'cult classic,' mostly because it features freaks and weirdos — a transsexual singing rock music.
"Unfortunately, that's no longer occult. It's the latest 'in' thing. 'Rocky Horror' is no longer horror. Bizarre-dom is now cool. And we're supposed to accept it as normal.
"The latest offering in this ongoing campaign to make transsexuals the new minority is the movie 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch.' The story of a transsexual rock-star wannabe, Hedwig was an East German boy whose mother and … soldier boyfriend convince him to undergo a botched sex-change operation so the G.I. can marry him, bring him to the U.S., and then abandon him. … Hedwig goes on to corrupt and have an affair with a fundamentalist Christian teen-aged boy, the son of a minister, who lives in a trailer park. …
"Coupled with celebration of transsexualism, movie critics love this type of social propaganda. Normal middle-American values are abnormal, and abnormal transsexuals are mainstream."
—Debbie Schlussel, writing on "When Hansel Becomes Gretel," Tuesday in World Net Daily at www.worldnetdaily.com


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