- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Lifestyle choices

“Are Californians nuts? The big, hippie-dressed, black guy sporting a huge, dirty-looking, dreadlocked do, was regarded as just ‘eccentric.’

“‘All along, this person’s behavior was abnormal, but this is America, where we pride ourselves on our diversity. So we gave him the benefit of the doubt.’ …

“Jeremy Fisher-Smith, a boatworks owner in Marin County, said people just assumed the man’s domestic situation was odd. Neighbors described the man’s children as being ‘strange and disconnected’ youngsters who wouldn’t talk to you or look at you. The women with him wore robes and scarves and walked behind him.

“Live and let live. That’s the mantra. If it’s what they want and it makes them happy. …

“That man — Marcus Wesson — has been arrested, with bail set at $9 million and facing charges of nine counts of murder. …

“Funny, no one noticed or cared. Everyone accepted it. After all, it was his lifestyle choice.

“Too bad he’s suspected of those murders — without that, he’d be free to be himself. I mean, what’s wrong with polygamy? Or even incest? They’re consenting adults … at least some of them, aren’t they?

“Be careful: Lifestyle acceptance is spreading.”

Barbara Simpson, writing on “There they go… destroying the village,” Monday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

American solidarity

“Only after [communist East Germany] was gone, they found out that stereos and cars don’t make happiness. They came back to the point that they are now missing something in their personal life. …

“What the people really want is to have some kind of solidarity in living together — it’s what you find in America in a Christian way.”

Wolfgang Becker, director of “Good Bye, Lenin,” interviewed Friday in The Washington Times

Love’s labor’s lost

“The ‘unwanted sexual advance’ — what tangled tales of backfired desires, bristling umbrage, and mutual misunderstanding lurk behind this sterile little phrase. In the right hands, such narratives can be great material for comic or satirical treatment. … But typically, those deploying this particular coinage find nothing remotely funny in such situations. Forget bumbling pathos or social ineptitude — in these accounts, it’s all trauma, all the time.

“[T]hese days, given the moral high ground the accusers seem to occupy, there’s another form of power to consider: the power of public disgrace — available even when the accuser’s motives are ambiguous. Take Naomi Wolf’s much-discussed … recounting [of] a long-ago unwanted sexual advance by Harold Bloom. …

“[W]e learn … that unwanted sexual advances demean and disempower the recipient, and being unwanted, should never have happened in the first place. … Just to be clear, we’re not talking here about cases of ongoing unwanted sexual advances — or threats, or quid pro quo demands — otherwise known as ‘sexual harassment.’ … Here we’re speaking strictly of the one-time unwanted advance, as in the Wolf-Bloom contretemps. …

“[P]resumably Bloom, if anyone, can appreciate the low comedy of his own failed wooing of Wolf: Instead of complying, Wolf threw up into the sink. Having vomited on the Great Man’s advances, surely Wolf can rest assured that she got her point across sufficiently 20 years ago.”

Laura Kipnis, writing on “The Anxiety of (Sexual) Influence,” Friday in Slate at www.slate.com

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