An Inclusive Litany


In Oakland, California, a group of high-school students was asked to leave a theater showing Schindler's List after they allegedly laughed during the Nazi atrocities depicted in the film. The students say the theater discriminated against them because they were black.

Dan Rather, questioning Winnie Mandela on the "CBS Evening News," April 28, 1994. Ms. Mandela had been widely denounced after being linked to several kidnappings and murders, and for advocating the practice of "necklacing" political enemies, that is killing them by igniting gasoline-filled tires around their necks:
Do you know there are people who say that she [Hillary Clinton], like Winnie Mandela, gets too far out front, that it's not healthy politically for a woman to be so far out front?


The University of Maryland at College Park includes "licking lips or teeth" and "holding or eating food provocatively" in its official list of "unacceptable gestures and nonverbal behaviors" it says "may be in violation of campus policy on sexual harassment." Also, offering "pseudomedical advice" such as "A little Tender Loving Care (TLC) will cure your ailments" is also on the list. Such advice does "not necessarily have to be specifically directed at an individual to constitute sexual harassment."

According to the Massachusetts Division of Medical Assistance, Medicaid paid almost $50,000 in 1993 for fertility drugs for 240 woman and 20 men; 63 percent already had children—including two women who had eight kids each—and more than half were on welfare. The federal government pays 90 cents of each Medicaid dollar that states spend on "family-planning services."

Raymond Corrao works less than an hour a day and pulls in about $150. In addition, a federal appeals court in San Diego has declared him eligible for federal disability benefits. Corrao deals drugs to earn his pay. The Napa Valley Register reports that he has used heroin for 35 years and "drinks heavily." Thanks to his addictions, he is unable to hold a steady job. But he manages to buy and sell up to $600 worth of heroin a day, taking an ounce and a half, with a street value of $150, off the top for himself.

Corrao's dealings did not strike Judge Betty Fletcher as a real job: Corrao "did not organize drug dealers nor did he have an organized or extensive clientele," and his drug peddling showed "no indication of initiative, organization, responsibility, or physical or mental exertion." But Fletcher ruled that Corrao's heroin addiction was disabling enough to make him eligible for federal Supplementary Security Income.

Strangely enough, no one has suggested that Corrao be arrested for selling illegal narcotics.


A Reuters report from Los Angeles, April 22, 1994:
A nightclub has been ordered to close down its main attraction, a shower enclosure where nude dancers cavort for male customers, because the enclosure has no wheelchair access.

Los Angeles officials said the club discriminates against wheelchair-bound people because of lack of access to the shower, denying them an equal opportunity to work as nude dancers.

Ron Shigeta, head of the Disabled Access Division of the city's Department of Building and Safety, said the law is the law, no matter how ridiculous it might seem to some people.

"I can't argue one way or the other whether a disabled person would want to be up there performing. But if an able-bodied person could have been up there doing it, a disabled person should have been able to, also," Shigeta told the Los Angeles Daily News.

He said the shower was considered a stage, and a stage had to be accessible to the handicapped.

"They built something that the physically disabled cannot use. The law doesn't allow you to discriminate, and that's what it comes down to, you're denying people the opportunity," he added.

Before the attraction was shut down patrons at the Odd Ball Cabaret paid $20 to sit inside a frosted glass enclosure and watch a nude dancer bump and grind under a shower for about five minutes.

Other patrons, who only paid the $5 entry fee, merely saw the shadow of the dancer through the glass.

Shigeta could not be reached for comment Thursday but a spokesman for the Department of Building and Safety confirmed that the shower attraction had been closed down.

An employee at the nightclub said the club had no comment on the matter.

The New York Times, April 5, 1994:
Fed by rumors [from Mexico] that Americans were coming to kidnap children, cut out their vital organs and ship them to the United States for transplantation, an extraordinary panic has swept Guatemala over the last month.... The situation has become so serious that the United States Embassy is recalling some 200 Peace Corps volunteers from the countryside to the capital... and the State Department has warned Americans not to travel to the country.

The New York Times, December 1, 1993:
Citations were being issued by the Village of East Hampton [New York] for what amounted to the unauthorized exhibition of large orange gourds on the grounds of the gourmet food shop that [Jerry] Della Famina, the flamboyant Manhattan advertising man, operates year-round in the village. And when Mr. Della Famina stuck to his pumpkins, ignoring the summonses, village officials felt they had to take drastic action: They issued a warrant for his arrest...

"I never knew you could go to jail for flowers and pumpkins," Mr. Della Famina said.

Larry Cantwell, the village administrator, responded, "The village takes its code seriously and feels it has no alternative but to enforce it."

After the late homeless activist Mitch Snyder estimated the number of homeless Americans at three million, a number which he later admitted to Ted Koppel on "Nightline" was made up, having "no meaning, no value," that number stood as the most commonly quoted figure in the media.

But now a Clinton Administration plan for dealing with the homeless says that during the late 1980s as many as seven million Americans were homeless. Paul Schmelzer, of the National Coalition for the Homeless, commented that the seven million figure was derived from New York City and Philadelphia housing records which were then extrapolated nationally over a five-year period.

When the Census Bureau measured the number of homeless on a single day as part of its 1990 Census, it came up with a figure of fewer than 230,000. Studies by the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Housing and Urban Development arrived at similar numbers.

When Andy Hansen brought home a report card indicating that he got a grade of C in math, his parents were angry indeed—they sued his teacher. After a year and $4,000 in legal fees ($8,500 for the Contra Costa County, California, school district), the Hansens got a verdict: the C stands. The father says he'll appeal. "We went in and tried to make a deal: They wanted a C, we wanted an A, so why not compromise on a B. But they dug in their heels, and here we are."

The state of Florida pays $375,000 a year for inspectors who make sure the 285 hog farmers who still use garbage to slop their hogs follow state regulations. The program exists even though there are no known public-health problems caused by feeding hogs garbage and table scraps.

[Ed.: The original logic of the modern regulatory state was to plug up a free society's holes. The logic is now such that regulation itself must be a lattice-like structure that is itself free of holes.]


In Miami, a group of students was barred from competing in a "brain bowl"—an academic contest—because its racial makeup didn't match that of its home school. North Dade Middle School's team had five members of Asian descent, seven Hispanics, seven whites and 17 blacks. Nonetheless, the group failed to meet new district guidelines mandating that each team mirror exactly the ethnic breakdown of its school. Because North Dade's student body is 70 percent black, the team was ruled ineligible.

Lois Lindahl, district director for middle-senior instructional support and the woman who enforced the rule, told the Miami Herald that the guidelines exist to protect black students. "Eventually you have to take a position," she said. "Most of all, it's not fair to the children in the school who did not have the opportunity [to make the team]."

A reconfigured team with six extra black students was allowed to compete after three non-black participants resigned from the team in protest.

From the Pentagon's twenty-two page recipe for fudge brownies, file MIL-C-44072C:

  • The texture of the brownie shall be firm but not hard.

  • Pour batter into a pan at a rate that will yield uncoated brownies which, when cut such as to meet the dimension requirements specified in regulation 3.4f, will weigh approximately 35 grams each.

  • The dimensions of the coated brownie shall not exceed 3 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches by 5/8 inch.

  • Shelled walnut pieces shall be of the small piece size classification, shall be of a light color, and shall be U.S. No. 1 of the U.S. Standards for Shelled English Walnuts. A minimum of 90 percent, by weight, of the pieces shall pass through a 4/16-inch-diameter round-hole screen and not more than 1 percent, by weight, shall pass through a 2/16-inch-diameter round-hole screen.
According to a similar document, acceptable fruitcake requires that the presence of vanilla "be organoleptically detected, but not to a pronounced degree." In other words, one should be able to both taste and smell the vanilla in a fruitcake. The specifications further state: "When the cooled product is bisected vertically and horizontally with a sharp knife it shall not crumble nor show any compression streaks, gummy centers, soggy areas, be excessively dry or overprocessed."

An Ontario arbitration panel has ruled that Emmerson Phillips is eligible for sick pay for missing work one Monday. His employer, the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority, said the day shouldn't count as a sick day because Phillips was out with a hangover. But the panel ruled that it really didn't matter why Phillips was ill, just that he was. Said Phillips, "You can be sick from drinking or having a hangover."

To make a point about the perception of body fat on women, a conceptual artist had herself lowered into a tub of lard.

The New York Times, December 31, 1993:
[New York City schools chancellor Ramon C.] Cortines said that he was drafting a new condom policy to give parents a right to forbid their children to receive condoms [in school]... But he said he did not believe such a parental option "is the answer by itself."

"We have to couple that with a very strong parent education program," Mr. Cortines said. "Obviously we are not being very successful in educating students."


After Holyoke Community College in Holyoke, Massachusetts, changed a documentation category on a student questionnaire from "American Indian" to "Native American," the number of "Native Americans" increased by 1,500 percent in two years. As it turns out, a large number of students checked off the box under the assumption that "Native American" meant they had been born and raised in the United States, so the college returned to its old classification system. The vice president of institutional development commented, "We tried to be sensitive, and we just ended up confusing everyone."

The San Francisco Chronicle, August 4, 1993:
An attempt by a tiny private high school in rural Sonoma County to provide students with complete information on issues relating to their sexuality has alarmed parents and county authorities.

As part of a sex-education course at the Cazadero Academy last spring, a school official distributed a one-page handout to 14- to 19-year-old students on how to induce an abortion with an herbal tincture.

The detailed instructions explain how to mix herbs such as cohosh and pennyroyal with vodka, then describe a daily and weekly regimen for drinking the tincture until bleeding begins.

But the sheet contains no instructions on what to do if any emergency arises or any suggestion that a woman should consult a parent or physician.

Carol Miller, administrator and teacher at the small school, conceded that the omission was unwise but said that she covered that information in the classroom. "I told the kids if they are going to attempt an abortion on their own," she said, "they should also have guidance from a midwife." ...

"It's basically a good school," said one parent, who asked not to be identified. "But this is too much. I was horrified."

Another parent, Terri Carpenter, said her daughter had discussed the handout with her—but, she added, "I didn't know about the vodka."

The Village Voice, January 25, 1994:
I don't believe for a second that Clinton's been a better or worse president because he's femme—only that he's been cruelly and suggestively skewered because he is more like a woman than not. When he stands next to his vaguely butch, breadwinning wife, Clinton looks less power-hungry than accessible, mortal. Taken together, the Clintons embody the changing nature of politics, sexual and otherwise. Taken alone, Clinton looks more like people I care for than people I fear. Ultimately that is the shock of this new presidency. Clinton incarnates a generation of men who came of age under feminism and the civil rights movement, men who don't always wear privilege with ease. Like his, their hunger isn't reducible to pure need, pure greed. When I look at Clinton, the memory of Reagan and Bush's toxic paternalism and appetite for destruction fades. Bill Clinton looks more like the future, as uncertain as that seems.

Catharine MacKinnon in The New York Times Magazine, March 13, 1994:
The First Amendment only protects that speech that can manage to get itself expressed, and often that is the speech of power. Only that speech that can be expressed is speech that the government can attempt to silence; in the name of dissent one can then attempt to use the First Amendment to defend that speech. But what about those layers of society that have been deeply silenced, among them sexually violated women, including prostituted women, including groups who are kept illiterate and thus not given access to speech from slavery times through the present. Those groups the First Amendment doesn't help. They need equality to get access to speech—to get to the point where the First Amendment could help them by keeping the government from interfering with their speech. We have barely heard from those groups.

An item from Medline, an electronic medical database service:
ARTICLE TITLE: Erotism and Chaos.
ARTICLE SOURCE: J Am Acad Psychoanal (United States), Spring 1990, 18(1) p5-17
AUTHOR(S): Giovacchini PL
MAJOR SUBJECT HEADING(S): Physician-Patient Relations; Psychoanalytic Theory; Psychoanalytic Therapy; Sex Behavior
MINOR SUBJECT HEADING(S): Anxiety Disorders [psychology]; Defense Mechanisms; Drive; Ego; Freudian Theory; Object Attachment; Personality Development; Psychosexual Development

ABSTRACT: There is a continuum from primitive, undifferentiated feelings that are simply the manifestations of homeostatic balance and imbalance to highly differentiated, pleasurable erotic feelings that characterize mature, intimate love relationships. Sensory reactions are elevated from simple reflex levels to highly complex, sophisticated affects that involve wide areas of the psyche. Thus, affects are associated with integration and organized psychic structure. Consequently they may function in various ways. Freud developed a continuum for anxiety as initially functioning as a conversion reaction enabling sexual feelings that cannot reach mentational levels or be consummated in erotic activity to be discharged. It reaches a final level of organization where it serves as a signal calling various defenses into play as emerging instinctual impulses threaten to upset psychodynamic equilibrium. I have focused on how affects, erotic feelings in particular, have an organizing function that binds a primitive inner agitation that occurs during what is called a prementational stage of the neonatal period. This is a stage that precedes psychological processes. Sexual feelings are generated as an attempt to bind inner chaos that stems from an amorphous, inchoate psychic state. Erotic feelings are experienced in order to smooth inner tension. The patient tries but seldom achieves calm because the affective binding and structuralizing process, in itself, becomes painful and disruptive. I present several clinical incidents and also refer to so-called treatment relationships where the therapist absorbs the patient's chaos and then acts out sexually which leads to a total breakdown of the therapeutic setting.

ISSN: 0090-3604