- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Changing their minds

“Don’t be fooled when feminists say they want equality, not sameness. It may sound like a concession, but it isn’t one. Put it a different way and this becomes obvious. ‘Men and women can be different, but the differences can’t matter.’ A pipe dream only marginally less foolish than trying to eliminate gender differences altogether.

“How do I know that gender differences matter? Gay men told me so. The very fact that people think of hetero- and homosexuality as inflexible sexual preferences tells us that gender isn’t just a characteristic, but a fundamental one.

“If you need more evidence, consider the radical difference between sons who grow up without mothers and those who grow up without fathers. Or the difference between telling a child to be more grown up and telling him (not her) to ‘be a man.’ ”

- Helen Rittelmeyer, writing on “If She Says She Wants ‘Equality Not Sameness,’ She’s Lying,” on Jan. 5 at the Culture11 blog Ladyblog

Too many movies

“As I reported a few days ago, film industry insiders at all levels of the business say, universally but almost in a whisper, that it was a remarkably strong year for movies in theatrical release. Says distributor-turned-filmmaker Jeff Lipsky, ‘I don’t know why the mainstream media, or whatever is left of it, isn’t talking about the fact that our business has been thriving, almost contemporaneous with the collapse of the stock market’ …

“[But] When I suggested that a ‘wide range’ of films have succeeded in the marketplace this year, [Zeitgeist Films co-president Nancy] Gerstman snorted at me (if you can snort by e-mail).

“She said it was wonderful to see an unexpected hit like the French thriller ‘Tell No One,’ which went unreleased in the United States for several years before a tiny distributor called Music Box Films took a flier on it. … ‘But count the amount of films released this year and then look at what you consider a ‘wide range.’ Maybe 10 or 20 of the small to midsize indie films made it. The others sank like a stone! This is a major problem — there are just too many films.”

- Andrew O’Hehir, writing on “The 10 best indie movies of 2008” at the Salon blog Beyond the Multiplex

DNA as an issue

“University of Boston neurologist Robert Green and bioethicist George Annas recently considered the genetic privacy of politicians in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Both the press and voters are interested in the health of presidential candidates. Green and Annas point out that ‘some presidential candidates, including Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy, misled the public about their health status and that illness may have affected their ability to perform their duties’ …

“Again, it’s just as easy to obtain a DNA sample from a presidential candidate as it would be to get one from a celebrity like [Oprah] Winfrey. Green and Annas are most worried that competing campaigns might engage in ‘genetic McCarthyism.’ That is, campaigns will seek to obtain DNA from their adversaries and then release genetic data that suggests that their opponents are somehow unhealthy. Such a tactic could be used to confuse the public because genetic information is easy to misinterpret and to misrepresent. …

“Politicians, celebrities, and the rest of us should get ready for a world in which our DNA can be screened by anybody at anytime.”

- Ronald Bailey, writing on “Exposing Obama’s Genome” on Dec. 30 at ReasonOnline

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