An Inclusive Litany


The Washington Post, January 24, 1995:
Staid and rundown Havana, which once eschewed advertising and blatant bids for customers, has opened its first experiment in fast food since the economic "Special Period" began in 1989....

"There is nothing fast about this," grumbled a student named Graciela, who had been waiting 20 minutes in a slow-moving line to buy a 25-cent bag of popcorn. Asked why she did not leave, she looked surprised. "Where else is there to go?" she said.

Apologizing to readers for an error in a Mike Royko column, the Chicago Tribune said it had inadvertently omitted a line in the column. "The last line should have said, 'Eeeeyaaach.' The Tribune regrets the error."

The New York Times Magazine, January 22, 1995:
Six months ago, my 13-year-old daughter announced that she wanted to get a belly-button pierce.... I said: "This is a big step. Why not wait until your birthday. If you still want it then, we'll make it a birthday gift." Her birthday was six months away. She agreed.

On her birthday, Lauren didn't mention the pierce, and in the manner of parents throughout history who fantasize a different reality for their kids than actually exists, I entertained the notion that she might have forgotten about it or changed her mind. This notion was dispelled the very next day.

"Dad, O.K., here's the thing. I made an appointment at Gauntlet in San Francisco tomorrow at 4. I have to bring a picture ID. You have to bring a picture ID, too, and it has to show that we have the same last name.

Gauntlet? I had visions of knights wielding oversize lances.

The next day I drove Lauren, her sister, Bonnie, and a friend, Felicia (along for moral support), to the Castro district in San Francisco, home of Gauntlet. I sent the girls in ahead of me while I parked the car. By the time I arrived, Lauren had taken care of everything except producing me and my ID. A self-possessed and professional young woman introduced herself: "My name is Denise and I'll be doing your piercing today."

Along with her confident demeanor and apparent intelligence, Denise had a nose pierce. She may also have had a belly-button pierce, but who knew? She had a calming effect on me. If someone this together could be a piercer, how bad could it be?...

Denise took charge, talking soothingly to Lauren as she daubed her with antiseptic, marked the spot, clamped it with the forceps and, in a flash, pierced the skin next to the belly button and popped a ring in. She was so smooth and it went so quickly that I momentarily forgot my nervousness.

After a few minutes we marched into another alcove to see a video on pierce care.

This is a scene my parents could never have envisioned: dad and daughter watching a half-naked man demonstrate the proper care of a nipple pierce. Yet, there I was gobbling down pierce-care hints, as if this were the most normal thing in the world. Then it hit me: this was normal. Not 1950's normal, but maybe 1990's normal. The circumstances and changed but not the child-parent dynamic. Though I hadn't realized it, I was there to bless Lauren as she grew away from me, to respect and trust her as she forged her own identity. It left me wondering just who had been pierced.

Prof. Roger Wilkins in The Nation, March 27, 1995:
A warm, brilliant young white male student of mine came in just before he was to graduate and said that my course in race, law and culture, which he had just finished, had been the most valuable and the most disturbing he had ever taken. I asked how it had been disturbing.

"I learned that my two heroes are racists," he said.

"Who are your heroes and how are they racists?" I asked.

"My mom and dad," he said. "After thinking about what I was learning, I understood that they had spent all my life making me into the same kind of racists they were."

Affirmative action had brought me together with him when he was 22. Affirmative action puts people together in ways that make that kind of revelation possible. Nobody is a loser when that happens. The country gains.

The Washington Post, January 31, 1995:
If Congress rejects President Clinton's call to guarantee $40 billion in loans to Mexico ... the damage to the United States' prestige as a world economic leader would be severe, analysts said....

"The prestige of the president, the Fed chairman and the leadership of both houses in Congress has been committed," said Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International. If Congress were to kill the aid package, "the feeling in the rest of the world would be that we are a nation in disarray, a country incapable of addressing a crisis."

William Aromony, the United Way founder accused of diverting contributions to support a lifestyle of luxury condos, a string of mistresses, and expensive vacations, told a court he was not guilty of any criminal intent because his judgement had been hampered by "brain atrophy." Aramony's lawyer conceded the fact that all human brains atrophy over time. Indeed.

At a Veterans Administration facility in Jackson, Mississippi, Navy veteran Michael Martin received a taxpayer-paid penile implant to cure his impotence. Martin had been released from prison ten months earlier after serving four years for molesting two young girls. Said Martin, "My only wish for the future is that I be allowed my rights under the Constitution to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

A Cincinnati man brought his eight-year-old daughter to the office for Take Your Daughter to Work Day, only to learn that he'd been fired.

Four members of the Irish Republican Army have sued the British government, claiming that prison officials were negligent in treating injuries they received while trying to escape from Whitemoor Prison.

Various entries from Websters' First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language, by Mary Daly with Jane Caputi, originally published in 1987 by HarperCollins and reissued in paperback form in 1994. According to the jacket text, the unusual dictionary "frees the English language from its patriarchal and confining patterns by Weaving [sic] a fascinating, feminist, linguistic revolution." Sojourner comments: "Mary Daly has once again given us a brilliant, Goddess-inspired and Original [sic] book.... Hard evidence that she is, without question, one of the finest minds of our time." Ms. Daly teaches Feminist Ethics at Boston College and lectures in the United States and Europe "Irregularly." [sic]
Abecedarian n ["one that is learning the alphabet.... archaic: one that teaches the alphabet and the rudiments of learning"—Webster's] : a Be-Spelling woman who combines and recombines the Elements of words in New ways, Hearing New Words into be-ing

Spooking: Re-membering Witches' powers to cast Glamours; Re-calling our powers to detect and exorcise patriarchal patterns that spook women; Dis-possessing women's Selves of the demons of the Predatory State....

Time/Spaceship n : vehicle of memory, Divination, and Archaic/Astral Travel; vessel steered governed by the Witch within all Weirdsome women

Parthenogenesis (Anne Dellenbaugh) n [derived fr. Gk parthenos virgin + Gk genesis birth—American Heritage] 1: process of a woman creating her Self 2: process by which a Virgin brings forth Daughters by herSelf without the interference or input of any male 3: process by which a Spinster creates unfathered works: SPINNING. See Virgin

Toadal Time: the Time of the Toad; Toadally experienced Time; Time of Toadal encounters: eventide; Hopping Time, outside the totaled time of clockocracy

Volcanoes, Women as: all women under patriarchy, understood as containing deep Memories and Passions which always have the potential to rise explosively to the surface, making possible Self-Realization and Macromutational leaps of consciousness. Canny Comment:

So what we have in effect, each of us, is miles and miles of underground corridors full of filing cabinets in which we busily file away mountains of data every day.

Somewhere in these endless subterranean storage cabinets, women have a unique file entitled "What it means to be female in a male world." ...

The miraculous part of an epiphany is that when the file bursts, and all the file data flood into the conscious mind, they are perfectly organized; they present one with conclusions. I knew instantly what the women's movement was all about; I knew it in my very bones.

—Sonia Johnson

Prime Matter: Original Matter that is alive and that is also Spirit of the finest corporeality. Examples: rocks, trees, stars, butterflies, the readers of this book

Spell-Muttering: the mad mumbling/grumbling of Furious Crackpot Crones. Example: the mutterings of "Trudy," character created by Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner for Tomlin's one-woman show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (1985)

Quack-pot Crone [akin to Crackpot Crone] : a wise old She-Duck; a Laughing Duck

Lunatic n [(derived fr. L luna moon): " who is wildly eccentric: one crazy actions or extravagances: CRACKPOT"—Webster's] : This definition has been awarded Websters' Intergalactic Seal of Approval. See Crackpot Crone; Maenad; Weird

[Ed.: In 1999, after excluding male students from her Boston College classroom for 25 years, Ms. Daly was pressured under federal anti-discrimination law to admit men, leading her to take a leave of absence instead.]


A husband and wife who drive a tractor-trailer for a living listed their traveling expenses as a business deduction, which the IRS allows if you're traveling away from home on business. The IRS rejected their deduction, because, said the IRS, they were away so much that the cab of their tractor-trailer had to be considered their real home.

According to science journalist Michael Fumento, the following symptoms are said to have been caused by the mysterious "Gulf War Syndrome": aching muscles, aching joints, abdominal pain, facial pain, chest pain, blood clots, flushing, night sweats, blurry vision, photosensitivity, jaundice, bruising, shaking, fevers, sinus growths, irritability, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, weight gain, loss of appetite, heartburn, nausea, vomiting (one veteran's vomit allegedly glowed in the dark), bad breath, hair loss, graying hair, rashes, sore throat, heart disease, diverticulitis and other intestinal disorders, kidney stones, a growth in the eye, tingling and itching sensations, sore gums, cough, cancer, diarrhea with and without bleeding (including one case that allegedly caused spinal damage), constipation, testicular pain, edididymitis, unspecified swelling, "early Alzheimer's" disease, dizziness, inability to concentrate, choking sensation, depression, lightheadedness, hot and cold flashes, labored breathing, sneezing, sensitive teeth and other dental problems, lupus (an autoimmune disease), neurological disorders, a deadly "softening of the brain matter," miscarriage, birth defects (including, according to one badly educated Army nurse, a case of "congenital cataracts, which [my daughter] did not have before my return from the Gulf"), nasal congestion, bronchitis, leg cramps, twitching, paralysis, hemorrhoids, thyroid problems, welts, rectal and vaginal bleeding, vaginal blistering following contact with veterans' semen, colon polyps, increased urination, a "bulging disk" in the neck, hypertension, blood in urine, insomnia, headaches, and "a foot fungus that will not go away."

Five independent studies, including two published in the New England Journal of Medicine, concluded that there was no evidence a "Gulf War Syndrome" exists. Persian Gulf veterans' rate of death and hospitalization from disease was roughly the same as that of other soldiers, and considerably less than that of the civilian population. The Gulf War soldiers did have a slightly higher death rate overall, but this was due almost entirely to car wrecks. According to the Institute of Medicine, the only adverse physical consequences linked with Gulf War service not directly related to combat were about 30 documented incidents of leishmaniasis, a parasitical disease caused by sand fly bites.

Within days of the release of the final report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, which also found no scientific basis for a "Gulf War Syndrome," President Clinton announced a doubling of the budget to investigate the phenomena. The President also later appointed another panel consisting of five members and chaired by former Senator Warren Rudman (R-NH), who announced that he intended to meet with veterans' groups but signaled no corresponding intention to meet with doctors and scientists.

Proponents of the Gulf War Syndrome theory point to a number of possible causes for the malady, including nerve gas, anthrax, pills, vaccinations, depleted uranium in shells and tank armor, burning oil, burning kerosene from lamps, fresh lead paint applied to vehicles, a bacterium that is normally harmless, insecticides, and Scud missile fuel.

The Village Voice, February 1, 1995:
Most critics and fans agree that Piss Christ is Serrano's most significant photograph. At one point, as Senator Helms was slashing artists like a serial killer, this work became an emblem of free expression; it was alive with conviction and the belief that art is integral to civilization. Now, hanging in the New Museum, the fire is gone. It's still impossible to separate the work from the controversy, but Piss Christ looks quieter than ever, as worthy of contemplation as a church window.

[Ed.: Not so. When later displayed at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, assailants attacked and destroyed the photograph, injuring two museum guards.]

In Newcastle, England, photographer Geoff Weston had a show of his photos of pools of vomit outside selected bars in the area. Gallery owners said that his photos "connect ideas about class, a crisis in masculinity, and abstract expressionism." A Newcastle pub owner disagreed, saying, "they connect 20 brown ales and a chicken curry."

A Liverpool court awarded damages to a convicted drug dealer after he complained that he suffered "high levels of anxiety" because his probation officer wrote a negative report about him.

San Francisco Judge John Farrell has come under criticism for unethical behavior. His two sons are members of the Boy Scouts, and he often drives the troop on outings and has chaperoned them on hikes. Some of his fellow jurists have suggested he resign from the bench if he continues to associate with the group, which excludes homosexuals. Critics, including many judges, say jurists should not be associated with organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

After Laura Carlton, 23, of Victoria, British Columbia, was inadvertently shot by a police officer during a raid, she sued the city for about $200,000—$50,000 of which was for her loss of earnings as a prostitute, which she regarded as a stepping stone to a future career as an exotic dancer.


The Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago sued to obtain Supplemental Security Income disability benefits for a 44-year-old man they alleged was disabled because of alcohol and opium dependence and antisocial-personality disorder. Lawyers for the Foundation argued that the claimant's admission of stealing $60 daily to support his drug and alcohol habits did not show he was capable of work.


In 1990, Brian Forrett broke into a Riverside, California, house, hog-tied the roommates who lived there, ransacked the house, stole the residents' guns and shot a visitor, Nathan White, who happened to stop by. The bullet hit White in the eye, permanently blinding him. Even worse, he received a blood transfusion that was tainted with HIV; now he has AIDS.

Police were told that Forrett had taken guns and ammunition. They located his car, but it contained no weapons. When they caught up with Forrett, he was trying to escape over a wall; police shot him twice, once in the back. An investigation cleared the four officers.

Forrett was sentenced to 32 years in prison, from where he launched a lawsuit against the Riverside Police Department, citing excessive use of force. Even Forrett's lawyer, Steve Yagman, who is well-known for taking on such cases against police, was disgusted by the case. "What my client did was morally repugnant," he told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. "He doesn't deserve anything."

Yagman tried to have himself removed from the case, but the judge would not allow it. He argued the case in March, 1995, and secretly hoped that the federal jury in Los Angeles would see through his arguments but, to his astonishment, it found for Forrett, awarding him $1 in compensatory damages from each of the four police officers involved. A hearing to determine punitive damages has yet to take place.

A 1993 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston determined that banks discriminate against black and Hispanic applicants for mortgages, leading the Comptroller of the Currency to closely monitor banks' lending policies, and also leading to investigations by the Justice Department and the Massachusetts Attorney General. However, a later study concluded that the Boston Fed's results were dominated by two banks that had relatively high rejection rates of minorities only because they specialized in soliciting loans from marginally qualified minority applicants. The original study apparently failed to examine default rates among various groups, also finding that white applicants were effectively "discriminated" against by banks who were more likely to approve loans to Asians.

In October 1994, the marshal's office in Norfolk, Virginia, was ordered to arrest more than 6,400 pounds of sea scallops. They contained between 85 and 87 percent water, but FDA guidelines set the maximum water content at 84 percent. On September 6, the U.S. attorney's office filed a civil lawsuit against the scallops in the U.S. District Court in Newport News, Virginia. The name of the lawsuit was U.S.A. v. 268 Cases, More of Less, of an Article of Food.

[Ed.: Forfeiture laws have taken on a curious animism.]

Nyleen Mullaly has sued the Minnesota Army National Guard, claiming that its weight restrictions violate her rights because she has an eating disorder. Mullaly weighs 220 pounds. Regulations place her maximum permissible weight at 155 pounds.

A San Francisco cab driver who chased a mugger with his cab and pinned him against the wall with the bumper, fracturing his leg, was sued by the mugger, who won $24,595. The award was later overturned, but the cab company had to spend $68,000 defending the case.

Another man who fell through a skylight while burglarizing a building in Redding, California, was awarded $250,000 in damages.

Joanne Marrow, a lesbian psychology professor at Sacramento State University in California, gave a lecture titled "The Anatomy and Function of the Clitoris." The lecture, according to several outraged students, included jokes about male genitals, personal anecdotes about her experiences with sex toys and slides comparing young girls' genitals to those of women who had experienced "the mutilation that goes along with having a child."

Student Craig Rogers said the course content made him "want to vomit," and he responded by filing a $2.5 million sexual harassment suit against the state of California, alleging that Marrow created a "hostile, offensive or otherwise adverse environment" in violation of university rules. Rogers, a devout Christian and father of two, said he did not oppose the course content itself, just the way it was presented. California's Board of Control, which oversees complaints against the state, dismissed Rogers' complaint and advised him to sue the school directly, an option he has not yet decided whether to pursue.

When asked why he didn't walk out on the offending lecture, Rogers explained that he thought the material would be on a test.

From "Staying Safe at School," a guide given to substitute teachers in the Seattle public schools by the Seattle Substitutes Association, a teacher's union. The guide was written by Claude Greene, senior security officer at Ballard High School in Seattle.
As a member of your school's staff, you are always in contact with students, not only in classrooms but also in lunchrooms, stairways, and hallways. As school district employees in the 1990s, we must watch out for our safety.

When you walk through the halls, always be mentally prepared, as a hostile situation could occur at any time. Be alert to what's going on around you, and, most of all, watch your body language and tone of voice.

  1. Be sure of yourself. Be aware of everything around you. Carry yourself erect, be energetic, and look around. Walking slouched over and standing in a corner are indicators of being a victim.

  2. As you walk, slightly to the right of the center of the hallway, you spot a student you wish to speak with on the opposite side of the hall. If you cut through the crowd you may insult students by making them move for you. And, of course, some will simply refuse to make room. To avoid this situation, go a step or two past the student, turn around, walk with the traffic, and then approach the student diagonally.

  3. When you go down the stairs, it is important always to keep to the right. This shows that you follow school rules. If students get unruly and start to run and charge the stairs, simply stop on the landing until the crowd passes. It's not only safer, it's more dignified.

  4. If you have to walk through a crowded hallway, do not walk with your body square. Walk with your body at a slight angle. This is less confrontational. In this position you will be less threatening, less "in the face" of the student. It's best to walk in an irregular pattern so you do not become an easy target [for abuse], such as a slap on the head from some student in the crowd.