Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Bimbo discrimination

“Perhaps the most notorious case of antidiscrimination law impinging on lowbrow art involved actress Hunter Tylo. The producers of the steamy prime-time soap opera ‘Melrose Place’ hired Tylo to play the show’s latest promiscuous bimbo, Taylor McBride. …

“Tylo’s contract included a clause forbidding any ‘material change’ in her appearance. When Tylo became pregnant before the new season started shooting, the producers fired her, explaining that they did not want their bed-hopping vixen character to be played by an obviously pregnant woman. … Tylo, who gained 47 pounds during her pregnancy, was to be filmed cavorting pool-side in a thong bikini.

“Tylo sued for employment discrimination. … The judge declined to dismiss the case … and the jury found in Tylo’s favor, awarding her $5 million. Tylo’s attorney, Gloria Allred, enthused that Tylo ‘is absolutely a living Susan B. Anthony and a Rosa Parks all rolled into one.’”

David Bernstein, from his new book “You Can’t Say That: The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties From Antidiscrimination Laws”

No common sense

“The horse we call privacy has begun to pull the American wagon into a situation where there is no common sense of values, morality, honor, decency, or the common good. …

“As one Supreme Court justice wrote in affirming once again the woman’s right to choose abortion, ‘our age increasingly understands the right of every woman or man to determine her/his sense of the meaning of life.’ This means that the general public can neither praise the actions of Mother Teresa nor condemn those of John Dillinger. …

“The concept of privacy, like that of diversity, is not found in the Constitution, nor in the Bible, nor in the great philosophers. What anonymous authority imposed ‘privacy’ on us, giving it the power that used to be ascribed to the commandments of God?”

Harold O.J. Brown, writing on “Dangerous ‘Virtues,’” in the July/August issue of the Religion & Society Report

More than Madonna

“We should ask ourselves if American culture might include achievements and ways of doing things that others would do well to look at and emulate. …

“The commingling of cultures, with predominance going first to one and then to another, has always led … not to uniformity, but to diversity. This is what is happening today, as the Swedish essayist Johan Norberg (among many others) has pointed out: ‘Many people are afraid that the world will become McDonaldized and homogenized: we will all end up wearing the same clothes, seeing the same films.

“But this is not a good description of the globalization process. Take a walk in Stockholm and look for yourself. Of course you’ll find burgers and Coca Cola, but you can also pick and choose from shishkebab, sushi, Tex-Mex, Peking duck, French cheeses, Thai soup. And the author recalls what is frequently forgotten: that American culture is not just songs by Madonna and action films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; it includes 1,700 symphony orchestras, opera attended by 7.5 million people every year, and museums that are visited by 500 million annually. …

“Contrary to what [French President] Jacques Chirac maintained, globalization is not a ‘cultural steamroller.’ It is and always has been an engine of enrichment.”

Jean-Francois Revel, writing on “The anti-American obsession,” in the October issue of the New Criterion

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