- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Un-comeback

“The press for Prince’s ‘Musicology’ has almost all emphasized the idea that he’s back. …

“In fact, Prince never genuinely went away. He tours regularly, and he’s still a stellar live performer. The years 2002 and 2003 were the only ones since 1977 that he hasn’t appeared on Billboard’s album charts. Yet his albums have been increasingly overinflated and wobbly, the last 10 have missed the Top 10, and he’s cracked the Top 40 pop-singles charts only twice since 1995. Hence, it’s comeback time. …

“Understandably, he both does and doesn’t want to spin his new publicity blitz as a return to his prime. … Given his legendary ego, Prince can’t declare that his indulgences of the past decade or so were missteps; on the other hand, he has to do something to woo back former fans who’ve gotten burned to one extent or another.”

Douglas Wolk, writing on “Prince’s ‘Comeback.’ ” May 6 in Slate at www.slate.com

Campus closet

“Coming out of the closet was the hardest thing Laura Freberg had to do. When she decided to pursue an academic career, she chose to conceal her lifestyle to prevent discrimination. She brushed off warnings from her predecessors and lightly acknowledged the break-room jokes and taunting bumper stickers.

“When her colleague’s suspicions thinned her guise, she revealed that she was a conservative Republican.

“In disclosing her political views, she became like many other intellects, isolated and discouraged because of their opinions.

“‘Everything was great as long as I stayed in the closet,’ Freberg said. ‘It was refreshing to have my true status known.’

“Freberg, a psychology professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is one example of a phenomenon that happens on campuses nationwide. Left-leaning instructors dominate most universities, leaving little room for opposition. …

“She remained silent about her political beliefs until her husband ran for the local Republican Central Committee, Freberg said. …

“She said … a colleague said, ‘We would never have hired you if we’d known you were a Republican.’”

Shantay Iosia, writing on “Diversity Discouraged on Campuses,” May 4 in the California State University, Fullerton’s Daily Titan

GI Janes

“Of all the shocking photos to come out of Abu Ghraib, some of the most harrowing feature not a male but a female soldier, [Pfc.] Lynndie England. …

“There’s the one of her jeering at hooded Iraqi prisoners standing in line, cigarette dangling from her mouth, pointing at the prisoners’ genitalia. And there’s the one … in which she’s dragging a prisoner around by a leash attached to his neck. …

“When the subject of women in combat was a hot topic in the 1980s, proponents argued that female soldiers would humanize the hypermasculinized machinations of the military — perhaps even help prevent scandals like Abu Ghraib from happening. But the terrifying reports from the past week have thrown a major wrench into that theory. … Besides England, two other of the six soldiers who face court-martial for abusing Iraqi prisoners are women. … And, of course, there’s former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the only female commander in the war zone, who oversaw Abu Ghraib and two other large jails until she was relieved of her position.”

Cathy Hong, writing on “How could women do that?” Friday in Salon at www.salon.com

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