Tongue Tied: A Report From the Front Line of the Culture Wars

The Defense Department is investigating a mandatory training run at the U.S. Southern Command after a female officer complained that the weekly jog was demeaning, reports The Washington Times.

Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, who heads the U.S. Southern Command, cancelled the regular Friday morning run following the complaint. The exercise involved uniformed personnel running for about 30 minutes in a park near the command headquarters in Miami.

Military sources told The Times that an officer wrote a letter of complaint to Congress and the Pentagon complaining that the run subjected slow runners to ridicule from faster participants. As a result, the Pentagon's inspector general is looking into "command climate" at the headquarters.

Rebuilding Post-Structuralism

The Bulgarian-born author credited with planting the seeds of political correctness on American college campuses now says her ideas have been co-opted by totalitarian radicals who are more interested in group identity than individual freedom, writes Alan Riding in The New York Times.

Julia Kristeva is the matriarch of the so-called "post-structuralist" movement, which holds that language can be relative and that its hidden meanings can be seen through the prism of history and people's own experiences. Following the theory's rise, some groups began to see signs of oppression in the very language they themselves used.

Kristeva now says she and her work have been misunderstood by groups that held her out as an icon of feminism and multiculturalism. She believes the group identity adopted by some feminist, gay and ethnic leaders is "totalitarian" and that freedom of the individual should take precedence over communitarianism; that political assertion of sexual, ethnic and religious identities eventually erodes democracy.

"What is important is not to affirm the power and identity of groups, but to increase the freedom of individuals," she tells Riding. "To assume a group identity is a dead end. And if some people have interpreted French thinking to mean they should, they are totally wrong."

Voters Be Damned

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called on all organizations of "good conscience" to avoid Mississippi as long as the Confederate battle flag remains an emblem on the state's flag, reports Reuters.

The resolution at the group's 92nd annual meeting was one step short of an all-out boycott of the state. The NAACP has called for the battle flag's removal from all sites in the United States, except museum settings.

Eugene Bryant, a Mississippi delegate to the convention, said state law requires the flag to be flown at every public school. "Every day 1.3 million Mississippi children go to school under that flag. We're going to fight until that emblem is removed," he said.

Mississippi is the only southern state that still has the controversial emblem on its flag and in April an overwhelming majority of voters there rejected a plan to adopt a new state flag without it.

'Rape' In All Its Manifestations

Syndicated columnist John Leo has come out with a new dictionary of politically correct terms for modern aficionados of the genre. Among the jewels:

compound: the home and property of someone reporters consider an extremist
cult: any small religion disapproved of by three or more journalists
not multicultural enough: white
underrepresented: we need quotas
should look like America: we need quotas
numerical goals and timetables: quotas
race-sensitive programs: quotas
fair group representation: quotas
employment equity: quotas
equitable distribution of available resources: quotas
sensitivity training: indoctrination
freshman orientation: indoctrination
homophobia: disagreement with the demands, tactics or manners of any gay activist
emotional violence: criticism
verbal abuse: any joke or remark you don't like
symbolic rape: criticism

March Against Indian Mascots Rolls On

School mascots such as Braves, Redmen and Warriors are offensive to many American Indians and should be replaced, Kansas' State Board of Education was told last week, reports the Associated Press.

After hearing from Native American groups who said such names were hurtful and dishonor the tribes for which they are named, Board Chairman I.B. "Sonny" Rundell urged the group to pass a resolution stating Indian mascots are "unacceptable in an educational environment."

Those critical of changing mascots say the number of American Indians offended by the nicknames has been exaggerated, and that the cost of new uniforms and equipment would make the change unfeasible.,2933,29247,00.html

PETA: Just Say 'No' to Science

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is urging school kids to just say 'no' to dissection in science classes because "each animal sliced open and discarded represents not only a life lost, but also just a small part of a trail of animal abuse and environmental havoc."

The group offers prospective conscientious objectors guidelines for refusing to cut open frogs and the like: ("In any verbal or written objection, use the sentence, 'I will be unable to participate in the dissection due to my sincerely held religious and moral beliefs about the sanctity of all life.' These words provide the basis for a possible legal case."); and testimonials from the likes of Alicia Silverstone, who says frogs are for kissing not killing.

PETA says seven states have enacted laws that establish a student's right to refuse to dissect, and that some individual school districts also have "student's choice" policies in effect.

From the Central Servers:

Lynn B. in Stratford, Conn., writes:

As an educator — yes, I am in academe, the so-called ivory towers — who teaches about multiculturalism and diversity, I have a take on both which often gets me into "discussions" with other professional "experts." My thought is this: As a multicultural educator, a diversity trainer, it is not my position in the classroom or elsewhere to convince people to think or believe as I do. My goal is to help you (the student) be more aware of what your thoughts, values and beliefs are and how that impacts your work with others who may not be and/or think as you do. To do anything less, would be to advocate for the very opposite for which I teach. I then ask students to leave their PC at the door ... and let's get down to the real discussions.

David T. in Atlanta writes:

Confederate Soldiers who fought and died to defend their homes and families should not be vilified just because someone may disagree with their leaders' political persuasion.

Removing the plaques is an attempt to erase the very existence of these men. Robert E. Lee abhorred slavery and anguished over whether to accept the commission, but in the end chose to follow his heart and by doing so he gave up everything he had worked so hard to accomplish as a military officer as well as a lifetime of achievements.

To claim these men were doing so to keep the institution of slavery alive is absurd. Almost all of those men fought to defend their right to free choice.

Angie J. in Peebles, Ohio, writes:

Who is this Claire Etaugh and why does she think she speaks for all women?

There are worse things to be than sympathetic, warm, nurturing, gentle, and yes, even sometimes emotional and dependent. The opposite of that would be unsympathetic, cold, uncaring, and tough.

I happen to love being the one who bakes the cakes and washes clothes. I take pride in taking care of my husband. And shame on those women who put their family and children first!

Oh, the horror to think that this society would be full of such selfishness!

James P. writes:

Please tell me what is wrong with women being sympathetic, warm, gentle, nurturing, and emotional? As for dependent, we are all dependent on someone for something.

Ms. Etaugh apparently does not understand what children's stories are about. The last time I checked they are not political statements.

Gail A. writes:

Has it occurred to you (as it has to me) that Americans have become absolutely obsessed with the sexuality of others? The only reason it even matters that some guy has a sex-change operation is that it makes us uncomfortable. But like I've always said about the television, that's the reason they make a channel-changer and/or an on/off switch. If you don't like it, you don't have to pay attention to it.

Alex K. tells us:

As for the name "the Association of Medical Officers of American Institutions for Idiots and Feeble-Minded Persons" — it could certainly apply to a lot of politicians and bureaucrats across the country, now couldn't it?

J. Davis writes:

I believe Clark Flint would have better made a point about allowing gays to be Boy Scout leaders without using the language "cute little Boy Scouts."

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