More on Boy Scouts and Gerbils
Joe Rodrigue, New Haven
Roast Beast I take issue with Alexander Cockburn's statement ("Wild Justice," 8/11) that "Women know that men are beasts and that part of the infinite superiority of women is their capacity to persevere in the fact of this beastliness." First of all, though there are some who do persevere in the face of this beastliness, merely because our "first lady" allows this to happen in her life, does not mean it is prevalent. Those of us who are faced with beasts fight it tooth and nail. Second, saying that "men are beasts" is much like saying "boys will be boys." It grants permission for behavior that can be ascribed to the male species?and gee, how can they help themselves? Everyone know that "men are beasts. Stop this crap. There are many men who are not beasts, and I'm sure they do not appreciate being called beasts. And those who are beasts should be helped to change.
Marie Caesar, the Bronx
Oil-Slick Billy I appreciated George Szamuely's piece, "Next War, Please" ("Taki's Top Drawer," 8/11). As long as a few people are willing to openly challenge Bill Clinton's politically correct thinking, democracy and the spirit of debate (which is necessary for the proper functioning of a democracy) still have a chance for a comeback. The current State Dept. mentality can be summed up by two phrases: 1) divide and conquer and 2) perpetual war generates perpetual commerce. The mainstream media is merely used as a tool to mask the machinations of our government leaders, under the guise of "political correctness," to garner public support for "humanitarian" adventures. Though oil is certainly essential for our industrialized society and its ready availability is a necessity, one must ponder whether NATO's illegal and costly (to the U.S. taxpayer) war against Yugoslavia was really worth it, and whether or not there might have been a more gentler, diplomatic way to secure "America's trade routes" in the Balkans. The Serbs, who comprised more than 43 percent of the population of the former Yugoslavia, were allies of the U.S. through two world wars. Up until this past decade, they always held America in high esteem. They looked up to America as a model of democracy and freedom. They saved more than 600 American pilots shot down by the Nazis and their allies during WWII alone. If Yugoslavia, the largest Balkan country, was offered admission into the European Union with the potential to later join NATO, stability in the Balkans would have been guaranteed by the Serbs?the largest ethnic group in the region. Yugoslavia has been crying out for democracy since the end of WWII. The rise of the former Yugoslavia's communist-turned-fascist dictators (from every one of its republics) was as much catalyzed by Western meddling in Yugoslavia's internal affairs as by its corrupt upper classes. Instead, the U.S. went along with Germany's and the Vatican's illegal recognition of Slovenia and Croatia, and, subsequently, Macedonia, Bosnia and shortly Kosovo. Deliberately ignored were the human rights of more than 2.5 million Serbians, who unfortunately resided outside of Tito's truncated borders of Serbia, provoking the civil wars. To date, the U.S., a multiethnic democracy, has consistently supported the creation of neofascist, ethnically and religiously "pure" banana republics complete with racist dictators out of the wreckage of what was once a beautiful, multiethnic, peaceful and highly respected nation. What kind of precedents are being set for the future of our nation? And what have been the fruits of our labor? We have created more than 1.3 million Serbian refugees?more than any other ethnic group since the end of WWII. This will guarantee NATO's costly occupation of the region indefinitely. We have worsened the previously low-level Kosovo conflict tenfold. We demonized our former Serb Allies with such viciously racist Serbophobia that it competes with anti-Semitism. We have poisoned the entire Balkans?creating an ecological catastrophe?and disrupted vital trade routes (like the Danube river), guaranteeing decades of impoverishment and health-related problems for all in Southeastern Europe. Bill Clinton and his cohorts have disregarded international and domestic law, thus destroying the United Nations, which was established to allow for peaceful resolution of conflicts, and returned to the laws of the jungle: might makes right. As a result, global security has been irreversibly damaged. Americans should be deeply concerned by the flagrantly barbaric and illegal actions of their leaders. If the human rights of the citizens of America's arbitrarily chosen "enemy" countries can be so easily trampled upon in the name of the New World Order, it is only a matter time before we, too, will lose our freedoms to a government that is no longer of the people, for the people and by the people as we enter the age of Big Brother.
Dr. Michael Pravica, Yonkers
Where the Boys Are MUGGER: Ordinarily I agree with about 98 percent of what you say in your articles, but you dropped the ball big time on this gays-in-the-Boy-Scouts thing in your 8/11 piece. Whether you or I like it or not, the Boy Scouts is a private organization, regardless of the number of members it has had in its hundred-odd-year history in many countries around the world, and their First Amendment rights are being violated in this matter. Also, your analogy to private clubs is specious. It is safe to say that there is a nontrivial difference between a private organization for kids like the Boy Scouts and, say, the Chevy Chase or Burning Tree country clubs. If you think that there are not plenty of private organizations that exclude people based on ethnicity, sexual tastes or for no reason that can be determined in this country, I would suggest you think again. After all, not all private clubs have as members politicians or others who would find having a few hundred people from (fill in the blank) group picketing them a bit of a bother. Like it or not, there is still freedom of association in this country, and people who will assiduously defend same, regardless of who gets their p.c. panties in a wad over it. Besides, the issue at hand is not whether you have a gay Boy Scout (my understanding of the case was that there was no mention of any child's sexual proclivities), but rather a gay assistant scoutmaster. Again, another of those pesky nontrivial differences, and here is the reason why. Suppose your child joined the local Scout troop, and his scoutmaster was not only gay, but molested him to boot (and if you think such things can't happen, ask the Catholic Church about the trouble it has been in of late over gay priests molesting altar boys). Now, if it were my kid, the perp would get a 9-mm attitude adjustment in short order. But since you're a Yankee who has a problem being around firearms, we will assume you will get him kicked out of the organization, get a little jail time...and sue the organization in question. Look at the BSA's side of this (and if you want to dismiss its "moral values" argument, so be it). If they start allowing gay scoutmasters, sooner or later they're going to be hit with cases in which said Scoutmasters take liberties with their charges, with the result that the organization will be hit with copious amounts of bad press, not to mention lawsuits, neither of which they could afford. Also, I have a problem with equating one's sexual appetites with religion, skin color, etc. I do not equate, as you apparently do, being homosexual with being black, Jewish, Asian, etc. Nor do I equate an activity that someone does (ideally) in his bedroom with another consenting adult?spending, if they are lucky, two or three hours a week at it?with the "minority status" these other groups have. And no, I am not a "gay basher" or whatever other p.c. term comes to mind in this context. I have friends and relatives who are or were gay or lesbian, and have worked around same all my adult life. And because of this familiarity, I know what can and does happen in a scenario such as has been discussed above. Like it or not, deal with it.
Pat Myers, Houston
No Responsibilities, No Rights While surfing the Internet I came across an article/interview that was originally published in the 6/23 issue of NYPress. (I'm not a regular NYPress reader.) The article in question was about a movie called Rock 'n' Roll Frankenstein and its maker, Brain O'Hara. The writer was George Tabb. Unfortunately, I was associated with this movie?I play the role of a rather devious priest. I say "unfortunately" because, although my experience in the movie was painless enough (I only worked for one day), I was informed by other actors and crew members that all was not well with the production. At the cast and crew screening of the completed Rock 'n' Roll Frankenstein, I was quite disturbed by numerous scenes in the movie (unfortunately I was never allowed to read the entire script beforehand). The most disturbing scenes had to do with animal cruelty perpetrated on gerbils. The main character ("the monster") has a perverse fascination with gerbils, and he either suffocates them or snaps their necks (in one scene he even reverts to biting a gerbil's head off). These scenes made me uncomfortable not just because of the content, but also because the animal cruelty taking place looked so real. I knew the film was a low-budget affair and I got the queasy feeling that perhaps these scenes were indeed real. I commented to Mr. O'Hara that his special effects person did an incredible job. O'Hara laughed and said, "What special effects?" I spoke with certain friendly crew members and they confirmed the fact that indeed Mr. O'Hara had personally killed dozens of gerbils for the purpose of "getting the shot." I feel deep shame for being associated with this project. Incredibly, at the website for the film , O'Hara brags about his inhumane treatment of gerbils: "Gerbils (lots of them) had to die so Rock 'n' Roll Frankenstein could live. So support Rock 'n' Roll Frankenstein, otherwise those poor little rodents will have sacrificed their lives in vain." And here's a line from the interview O'Hara gave to your own George Tabb: "It ain't a fucking snuff film, goddamn. Well, maybe with the gerbils it is, but we won't get into that." In that statement it's obvious that O'Hara is admitting that he murdered gerbils. Where were the followup questions from Mr. Tabb? He calls himself a reporter? This level of journalism is a joke. I'd like to know what kind of standards NYPress requires of its journalistic staff.
Mark Trares, Manhattan
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A love-hate relationship with height
A love-hate relationship with height
Ground Zero then and now