- The Washington Times - Friday, July 5, 2002

Fictional 'phobia'
"Psychologists at the University of Arkansas (UA) have shown that what laymen refer to as 'homophobia' is actually not a phobia. That is because cases of 'homophobia' are rooted in disgust rather than fear or anxiety.
"'If you can identify the underlying emotions of certain attitudes and behaviors, you can better understand how those attitudes formed,' said Bunmi Olatunji, the lead author of the study.
"'That has implications for treatment, but it also enables you to consider a condition in the proper context,' he added. 'In this case, homophobia shouldn't be pathologized.'
"Dr. Timothy Dailey, senior analyst for culture studies at the Family Research Council, says there is much more to this study.
"'My concern is with the growing, and quite alarming, tendency to consider principled opposition to homosexuality as pathological,' Dailey [said]. 'While this article appears to absolve the opponents of homosexuality from technically being labeled as 'homophobic,' it also furthers the growing discourse about how best to diagnose those who oppose homosexual behavior, and what treatments may be appropriate.'"
Martha Kleder, writing on "New Study Says There's No Phobia in Homophobia," June 28 in Culture and Family Report at www.cultureandfamily.org

Round 'em up
"In an otherwise engaging essay on Thomas Paine in the July issue [of Harpers, editor Lewis] Lapham comes up with this absurd statement: 'Were Paine still within reach of the federal authorities, Attorney General John Ashcroft undoubtedly would prosecute him for blasphemy under a technologically enhanced version of the Alien and Sedition acts.'
"Will this nonsense from left-wing writers never end?
"Following Lapham's paranoid train of thought, a partial list of men and women wearing stripes today, besides the author himself, would include: Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, Robert Scheer, Thomas Oliphant, Richard Cohen, Alex Cockburn, Dana Milbank, James Ridgeway, Ted Rall, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Hendrik Hertzberg, Chris Matthews, Katha Pollitt, the publishers of the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, Alec Baldwin, Michael Moore, Michael Wolff, Julia Roberts, Rep. Cynthia McKinney and Susan Sontag.
"As pernicious as all the above-mentioned are, the country ought to celebrate the Bush administration's adherence to the Constitution. So while a cocktail party comprised of these Ashcroft-bashers would indeed be a stinker, with 'Free Jose Padilla' buttons passed out at the door instead of champagne flutes, I'm glad they haven't suffered the same fate as Eugene Debs."
Russ Smith, in his Mugger column in the July 3 issue of the New York Press

Sarah's shame
"I knew it was going to be raunchy. This is, after all, MTV. [Y]ou know what you're going to get: R-rated perversion masquerading as entertainment. So I had certain very low expectations when I sat down to watch the 2002 MTV Movie Awards.
"But what I didn't expect to see was a beautiful, talented young woman degraded, humiliated and objectified for our amusement.
"The show was hosted by Jack Black and Sarah Michelle Gellar, a.k.a. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.' Sarah's 'performance' included costumes that left little to the imagination, simulated sex acts and suggestive dialogue. In my opinion, she walked away from the show with her dignity smeared across the minds of the millions of viewers who had tuned in.
"It broke my heart because Sarah, like so many young women today, has allowed herself to be publicly shamed for the sake of fame. It's feminism turned upside down. Instead of trying to become equal by becoming more like a man, they've chosen to give men exactly what they want or, at least, what the world says they want. No secrets. No morals. No virtue."
Sharyn Kopf, writing on "The Shaming of Sarah," June 6 in Boundless at www.boundless.org

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