- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Closet skaters?
"The average American sports fan, watching the Olympic men's figure skating competition, probably figured that most of the contestants were gay. Former gold medalist Brian Boitano, addressing this phenomenon, explains it with three words: 'Sequins and glitter.'
"None of the skaters in this year's Olympics for all the sequins, all the glitter, all the stereotypically gay mannerisms and speech patterns is publicly gay. In fact, only one international-level figure skater has ever openly declared himself a gay man Rudy Galindo, the 1996 U.S. champion, who came out … weeks before winning his title.
"And Galindo says that almost every figure skater he's ever met is straight.
"'I've only come across, like, two skaters that are gay, and a lot of them that I know that are touring with me … are all basically straight. I mean, they're married, they have wives, they have children. So maybe it's on the national level or something, but the ones I tour with now are basically 98 percent straight.'"
King Kaufman, writing on "So, they're all gay, right?" Friday in Salon at www.salon.com

Gag reflex
"Paris, Berlin and Brussels are unhappy with the United States. French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine has called President Bush's axis-of-evil characterization of Iraq, Iran and North Korea 'simplistic.' German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said the U.S. was treating Europeans like 'satellites.' And the normally sensible European Foreign Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten called Mr. Bush's approach 'absolutist' and 'unilateralist overdrive.' …
"Much of what is going on here is that many generally leftist members of the European elite have craws in which plain talk gets stuck they gagged on Ronald Reagan's characterization of the Soviet Union as an evil empire and they are gagging again now."
R. James Woolsey, writing on "Where's the Posse?" Monday in the Wall Street Journal

Marketing mayhem
"Since the end of World War II adolescents have been chafing against an ever more impervious, unheeding social system. Their outrage has found expression, with increasing intensity, among the inchoate 'juvenile delinquents' of the early postwar years, the Beats of the 1950s, the hippies and political radicals of the 1960s, the drug and gangland subcultures of more recent years. And now it's expressed by the kids who carry out school shootings and other acts of vicious and inexplicable violence. … Why are so many children plotting to blow up their worlds and themselves? …
"What we are witnessing is clearly something new. A frightening momentum has been building. …
"With the help of exhaustive behavioral research, corporations have in recent decades spent hundreds of millions of dollars ransacking and exploiting the emotions and thought processes of adolescents and pre-adolescents. … 'We understand how teens think, what they want, what they like, what they aspire to be, what excites them, and what concerns them,' the Teenage Research Unlimited Web site brags.
"What this understanding translates into in the marketplace is hypersexuality, aggression, addiction, coldness, and irony-laced civic disaffection the very seed-bed of apocalyptic nihilism. …
"We must face the fact that having ceased to exploit children as laborers, we now exploit them as consumers."
Ron Powers, writing on "The Apocalypse of Adolescence," in the March issue of the Atlantic Monthly

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