- The Washington Times - Monday, August 19, 2002

The King's castle
"Built in 1939 by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Moore, Graceland still looks more like the home of an affluent physician than of a man who has sold a billion records. The Georgian colonial that Elvis bought in 1957 for $100,000 is far more modest than, for example, the homes of the rappers and heavy metal musicians profiled weekly on MTV's 'Cribs.'
"[W]hen he moved here, Elvis was a 22-year-old who never touched anything stronger than Pepsi. His favorite activities included gunning a golf cart loaded with high school friends around the property and renting out movie theaters and the local amusement park at night. Much of Graceland still looks like the home of a wealthy, unsupervised teenager.
"In 1962, when Elvis built the Meditation Garden on a solitary corner of the property, Graceland was located in a bucolic spot adjacent to the Mississippi border. The only reminder of the city was Highway 51, a two-lane road that connected Memphis and Jackson. Today, Elvis Presley Boulevard is bounded by Graceland Plaza, a sprawling strip mall that houses an assortment of antiseptic diners, souvenir shops and mini-museums devoted to Elvis' cars, planes and personal effects."
Alex Halberstadt, writing on "Long Live the King," Friday in Salon at www.salon.com

Attraction and action
"American law defines sexual congress between an adult and a child as a crime. The American Psychiatric Association defines it as a disease called 'pedophilia.'
"Crimes are acts we commit. Diseases are biological processes that happen to our bodies. Mixing these two concepts by defining behaviors we disapprove of as diseases is a bottomless source of confusion and corruption.
"Fred Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic declares: 'Some research suggests that some genetic and hormonal abnormalities may play a role [in pedophilia]. We now recognize that it's not just a moral issue, and that nobody chooses to be sexually attracted to young people.' Yet an action that affects other people is always, by definition, a moral issue, regardless of whether the actor chooses the proclivity to engage in it.
"Berlin misleadingly talks about the involuntariness of being 'sexually attracted to young people.' The issue is not sexual attraction; it is sexual action. A healthy 20-year-old male with heterosexual interests is likely to be powerfully attracted to every halfway pretty woman he sees. This does not mean that he has, or attempts to have, sexual congress with these women, especially against their will. The entire psychiatric literature on what used to be called 'sexual perversions' is permeated by the unfounded idea that 'abnormal' sexual impulses are harder to resist than 'normal' ones."
Thomas Szasz, writing on "Sins of the Fathers," in the August issue of Reason

Lost irony
"On a great number of occasions, the reaction of radicals to views that challenge their own is not spirited debate but censorship.
"In the fall of 2000, I was invited by students at the University of California-Berkeley to speak on the guilt of convicted murderer and anti-American propagandist Mumia Abu-Jamal. Prior to the utterance of my first word, an angry mob began an orchestrated campaign of shouting to prevent the audience from hearing my remarks.
"One hirsute young man later tried to rip the microphone cord out the wall. Several other students threatened harm against the event's organizers and me. After the anarchic event prematurely concluded, activists stole the remaining copies of my lengthy pamphlet, 'Cop Killer: How Mumia Abu-Jamal Conned Millions Into Believing He Was Framed,' and held a Nazi-style book-burning. All the while, the book-burners marched around the fire holding signs admonishing others to 'Fight Racist Censorship.' The irony, apparently, was lost on them."
Daniel J. Flynn, from his new book, "Why the Left Hates America"

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