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In Search of Female Pilgrims, Barbie Outrage

A selectman, er, selectwoman, in Provincetown, Mass. wants to remove an oil painting of the Pilgrims voting on the Mayflower Compact in the 1600s from city hall because it doesn't have any women or American Indians participating in the process, according to the Provincetown Banner.

Selectwoman Sarah Peake described herself as "disturbed" by the image and called for a vote to have it removed. Three of the four town selectmen initially supported removing the oversized painting by local artist Max Bohm, but relented following public pressure and will now leave the painting where it is.

Mamma Mia!

A Connecticut resident is angry that an Italian-themed festival was held on public property in his town, according to the North Haven Courier, because it exhibited a "bias for a single culture."

Morris Pederson complained to the town selectmen of North Haven, Conn., that the Italian Festival of Angels should not have been hosted on public property. The annual event provides food and crafts vendors to the hundreds of local residents who attend.

Pederson suggested instead an international festival with food from all over the world so no nation or culture feels discriminated against.

Izzat So?

Officials at the University of Missouri in St. Louis have rejected complaints about the content of an on-campus show put on by a gay group because they say controversial and potentially inappropriate material is a First Amendment issue, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Log Cabin Republicans of Greater St. Louis complained about an October drag show on campus sponsored by several organizations for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) students. The Republicans said the show mocked heterosexual people, contained inappropriate language and simulated sexual acts.

But university spokesman Bob Samples rejected the complaint. "On a university campus, you have hundreds of events each year, and not everyone is going to find every one appropriate," he said.

Disrespectful Visual Representations

Officials at the University of Michigan will be moving two 50-year-old sculptures from a new arts building because they are sexist, according to the Michigan Daily.

The two sculptures by Michigan sculptor Marshall Fredericks are among 39 placed on the Literature, Science and Arts building when it was built in 1948. Entitled "Dream of the Young Man" and "Dream of the Young Girl," they depict, respectively, a boy dreaming about a ship with wind-filled sails, and a muscular man flanked by oxen taking the hand of a woman.

When construction of a new building is completed next year, only 37 of the 39 sculptures will be making the move.

Critics have longed complained about the last two, calling them sexist because they portray finding a suitable husband as a woman’s central preoccupation.

"The visual representation doesn't seem to hold the same respect for women as it does men," said Fran Blouin, director of the Bentley Historical Library on North Campus.

Feel the Wrath of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club!

The North County Times reports that a California mayor who had the gall to rename his town's annual parade from "Holiday Parade" to "Christmas Parade" is now catching flak from some of the usual suspects.

Mayor Dan Dalager, a lifelong resident of Encinitas, Calif., says he merely restored a title that existed when he was younger. Somewhere along the way, he says, someone changed it. So he changed it back.

But now three local groups — a Girl Scouts troop, the Leucadia Town Council and the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Southern California — have told the city they won't play in Dalager's parade because of the change.

Dalager said he changed the name of the city's Spring Egg Hunt to the Easter Egg Hunt last year without anyone kicking up a fuss.

Painful Truths

Human rights activists and NGOs in France are threatening to sue a French commentator who pointed out that most of the rioters in that country in recent weeks have been Muslim, according to Islamonline.

Alain Finkielkraut is accused of inciting racial hatred in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published last week.

"In France there are also other immigrants whose situation is difficult — Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese — and they're not taking part in the riots. Therefore, it is clear that this is a revolt with an ethno-religious character," he was quoted as saying.

France's Audio-Visual Council urged authorities at France Culture radio to fire Finkielkraut for such comments, and the The Jewish Union for Peace issued what was described as a "strongly-worded statement" blasting Finkielkraut's blatant racism.

The Best and the Brightest

The Harvard Crimson reports that kids at the $40,000-a-year institution are upset about a parody ad for The Salient that featured a Muslim Barbie-like doll programmed to say things like "Yes, Husband" and "Human Rights? That’s silly."

The school's Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations hastily organized a discussion in response to complaints from some Muslim students that the ad misrepresented Muslim views and was ethnically and multiculturally insensitive.

"Islamic values are misunderstood," said Nura Hossainzadeh. "As an American-born Muslim, my personal values are not so different from Western values."

For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head on over to the TongueTied daily edition.

Mailbag:

Camille G. writes:

I would like to suggest that anyone who is offended by the term "Christmas" consider working on Dec. 25. If they are not Christian, then they don't deserve the holiday off!! This year it falls on a Sunday, but we should consider this for next year. Schools will have to remain open for all the children whose parents don't want Christ mentioned and non-Christian teachers can man the classes. Christian values are what this country was founded on and is what has given those, who protest everything, their rights to do so. Find something really important to protest!!

Jim H. writes:

I have often wondered in recent years if immigrants might yet save the U.S. and Western Europe from our decline into laziness, stupidity and moral depravity. Many of them seem to have a better understanding of "Western" values than those born in the west.

Ralph G. writes:

Hispanic is not a race; it is a linguistically defined culture. Hispanics come in all races. One need only watch major league baseball to see examples — Jose Jiminez (black), Erubiel Durazo (Caucasian) and Vinny Castillo (part Native American, i.e. Asian). There are dozens of others.

Louis R. writes:

The article about the Stetson U. kids dressing up as their friends, especially when the friends were enthusiastic about it, is proof positive that the thought police are alive, well, and in control of the American campus. Ironically, they are often the ones who railed against the Establishment in the 60’s. The oppressed have become the new oppressors.

Benjamin S. writes:

Regarding the article about teachers in Madison, Wis., telling their third-graders to compose and mail letters urging a halt to the war in Iraq as part of a civics lesson:

If the teacher wishes to teach "citizen action" to the children, she should teach them how to look up who their House Reps and senators are, and educate them why civics matter. She should teach them how to discover the opinions of their reps, or what the current issues are. She should encourage them to be interested, educated citizens. And once that's done, she can encourage them to take action by writing their reps with their own opinions, and not just parroting the opinions of the teacher.

If she really wanted to be daring, she could encourage the children to engage their parents in a discussion on these issues.

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