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Jewish World Review Nov. 27, 2000 / 29 Mar-Cheshvan 5761

John Leo

John Leo
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Consumer Reports

Victims of the year get the recognition they deserve -- ONCE AGAIN, the United States is the undisputed world champion in the creation of social victims. Here are the winners of this column's Victims of the Year competition:

NON-HUGGERS VICTIMIZED BY HUGGERS. Two eighth-grade girls were punished at a Dallas junior high school after engaging in a hallway hug. They said the hug was friendly, not sexual, but the school's principal said hugging could lead to other things and create peer pressure for students who may not want that type of contact.

FOOTBALL PLAYERS VICTIMIZED BY BOOING. After Penn State's usually powerful football team lost five of its first eight games, the university faculty senate knew exactly how to cope: It passed a resolution denouncing "negative cheering," to be read to crowds at all Penn State home games. Possible future resolution: mandatory cheering after bad plays.

CHILDREN VICTIMIZED BY READING. A feminist professor says reading aloud to one's children is an act of violence that represses the young, forcing then into the jail of patriarchy and cultural structure. Children are unaware of this, said Peggy Kamuf of the University of Southern California, because the psychic pain causes repression of the memory.

VOLPE A VICTIM IN ABNER LOUIMA CASE. New York policeman Justin Volpe, pleading for leniency after his conviction in the horrific brutalizing of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima, told a defense psychologist, "I was the victim." The psycholgist said that when Volpe was punched during the brawl that preceded Louima's arrest, he was overcome by "fear, anxiety, physical pain and momentary disorientation," leading to a sense of powerlessness that caused him to torture Louima.

CANADIAN PSYCHES DAMAGED BY 'SOUTH PARK.' A Canadian woman says her son Kenny is victimized by the TV cartoon show "South Park," in which the Kenny character is killed each week. She said the show should be banned, or that the Kenny character shoud be named Dweebie or Doofus "or any name that has no potential of deeply hurting the psyche of any Canadian."

WOMEN VICTIMIZED BY URINALS. A women's anti-urinal movement in Sweden, Germany and Australia is partly based on the idea that males who stand up to urinate are committing "a nasty macho gesture" suggestive of violence toward women. The U.S. Navy stumbled into this argument by announcing that it is thinking of replacing urinals on its ships with stainless-steel toilets. Feeling victimized by criticism, Rear Admiral S.R. Pietropaoli wrote a testy letter to the Washington Times saying that plans to remove "trouble-plagued urinals" have "nothing to do with gender."

PICKLE VICTIMIZES BURGER-EATER. A Tennessee woman is suing McDonald's, claiming she was badly burned on the chin by a hot pickle after biting into a dangerous and defective McDonald's hamburger. Veronica Martin of Knoxville says the offending pickle left her with mental injuries and a permanant chin scar.

CLINTON: "I'M OPPRESSED, JUST LIKE YOU." In an interview with the Advocate, a gay magazine, Bill Clinton depicted himself as oppressed, just like gays and blacks. During the Lewinsky scandal and impeachment, gays and blacks stuck with him because "people who have been targeted, who've been publicly humiliated and abused, I think identified with what was going on. ... The whole thing was just a vehicle to try to find some last, desperate way to undermine the results of two elections ... and the fact that I tried to be a president for people who had been left out." The Washington Post commented dryly: "That's not the way we recall it."

G-D MADE ME DO IT. When Pope John Paul II said that an assassin's attempt to kill him in 1981 was one of the prophecies made to three Portuguese children at Fatima in 1917, the assassin said he should be set free because he wasn't responsible for shooting the pope -- it was all preordained, presumably making him an instrument and victim of God's will. The clemency request was granted for other reasons.

CALISTA AND MONICA: VICTIMS OF SIZEISM, SEXISM. Calista Flockhart, TV star of "Ally McBeal," said that she is criticized as too thin and Monica Lewinsky is criticized as too fat because a sexist public resents successful women. "I think it's a way to punish us for our advance," she said.

SINGLE PEOPLE VICTIMIZED BY HEARTLESS SOCIETY. A new victim group, the American Association for Single People, argued in a series of ads that "single people have been suffering in silence" and were "virtually ignored" during the presidential campaign. The group was especially irked by Ralph Nader, "who has never been married" and who "could easily tell unmarried voters that he sympathizes." The group recommends esteem-building books such as "It's OK to Be Single" and a book pointing out that Jesus was single.

JWR contributor John Leo's latest book is Two Steps Ahead of the Thought Police. Send your comments by clicking here.


11/20/00: It's a chad, chad, chad, chad world
11/13/00: The election rhetoric is running much too high
11/07/00: How yesterday's hero becomes tomorrow's heel
10/30/00: Would Bush's Supreme Court picks make a difference?
10/24/00: Yankees, go home!
10/17/00: Un-American activity?
10/10/00: A tempest in an ink pot
10/03/00: The Al Gore quiz
09/26/00: The sleeper effect
09/19/00: Baby-saving made easy
09/12/00: Line between reporting and editorializing continues to blur
09/05/00: In the key of F
08/29/00: Hollywood connection
08/22/00: Some friendly advice to the GOP
08/15/00: You can't make this up
08/08/00: The niceness strategy
08/01/00: When rules don't count
07/25/00: Anti-male bias increasingly pervades our culture
07/18/00: Banned in Boston
07/12/00: What Jacoby had to deal with!
07/11/00: Will boys be boys?
07/05/00: Partial-sense decision
06/27/00: Attitude toward death penalty gets in the way of facts
06/20/00: Double troubles
06/13/00: Fools paradise
06/06/00: Accidental conspirator
05/30/00: Faking the hate
05/23/00: Was it law or poetry?
05/16/00: Here, there and everywhere, people have gone bonkers
05/09/00: Tufts evangelicals are punished for acting on their beliefs
05/02/00: Elian's opera isn't over until nearly everyone sings
04/25/00: All the news that fits: The media serve up many stories from a standard script
04/19/00: Those darned readers: The gap between reporters and the general public is huge
04/05/00: Census sense and nonsense
03/29/00: Hollywood message films leave no room for other views
03/22/00: The Vatican confesses, but is it enough?
03/14/00: Watch what you say: The left can no longer be counted on to defend free speech
03/07/00: McCain's malleable messages
03/01/00: Bush's appearance at Bob Jones U. will dog him all the way
02/23/00: 'Multi-millionaire' show is new evidence we're insane

© 2000, John Leo