- The Washington Times - Monday, May 5, 2003

Sci-fi citizens

“Robert Heinlein was truly gifted, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that ‘Starship Troopers,’ first published in 1959, is a handbook for the present. …

“The path to citizenship — concretely through military service — is a key theme in Heinlein’s novel. ‘Citizenship is an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part … and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live.’

“This, of course, is precisely how the arachnid enemy in Heinlein’s imaginative universe functions. Centered on a hidden, physically weak and uncourageous yet ominously powerful giant insect brain … it remotely directs the actions of a million machine-like bugs of destruction.

“Trooper-style citizenship — as Heinlein satirizes — is a condition that sounds free and honorable but is actually impossible to exercise with free will or honor. …

“Heinlein’s citizenship is granted for soldiers who have made it through boot camp, where they have learned not to question authority, to follow all orders from above instantly and exactly, and who have no other allegiance than to the all-wise central state. … It is a citizenship where each moral compass is not individually discovered, tested and mapped, but instead simply imprinted.”

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, writing on “Starship Troopers,” April 9 at www.lewrockwell.com

School for scandal

“Once upon a time, in a land that seems far away, bad behavior was cause for shame, remorse and repentance. In our postmodern world, where increasingly more and more people are doing what is right in their own eyes, aberrant antics are viewed as a stepping stone to fame and possible fortune. Just ask Heather Ingram and a young man known pseudonymously as ‘Troy Robertson.’

“Three years ago, Ingram was 29 years old … and teaching high school at Sechelt, British Columbia. Robertson was a student in Ingram’s accounting class. The two became intimately involved. …

“Eventually the affair was discovered and Ingram was convicted of child exploitation. She was sentenced to 10 months of house arrest. In an effort to protect Robertson’s reputation, the judge ordered a publication ban on his identity. …

“Heather Ingram has written a book about her relationship. She skirts the publication ban of her teenaged lover by referring to him as Troy Robertson. The young man, whose identity is still protected by court order, is hoping to become a rap star. …

“The still-anonymous young man, now known as Troy Robertson, was in court recently seeking to have a judge lift the publication ban that protects his identity. The reason, according to the Vancouver Sun, ‘so he can cash in on the scandal.’ …

“He maintains the he was the seducer in the relationship. One of the cuts from his first CD is titled, ‘Teachers Scandal.’”

Kelly Boggs, writing on “In a land that seems far away,” Friday in Baptist Press News at www.bpnews.net

Rap trap

“Last year, rapper Nelly was ejected from a mall for being in violation of the mall dress code. He was wearing a do-rag. The local National Action Network, a black civil rights group, was all over it. Showing up at the mall the following day 150-strong, wearing bandanas and do-rags, they accused the mall of promoting a racist policy towards African-Americans. …

“The black community was ready to rally to Nelly’s aid for being thrown out of a mall, but has remained eerily silent about the blatant misogyny in his lyrics. …

“[T]he degradation of black women in rap music is ignored or overlooked by the bigwigs in the black community. The Grammys have even come to embrace these negative aspects of hip-hop music, nominating for an award Nelly’s ‘Hot in Herre’ in which he instructs women to take off their clothes. …

“[T]he message is clear: Women are simply sex objects to be ogled and had.”

Moya Bailey, writing on “Being Pimped Ain’t Easy,” March 31 in WireTap at www.wire-tap.org

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