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Right-Wing Thanksgiving; Ode to Hermaphroditism; Ken and Diane; Greta Plays Softball


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Jonah Goldberg

RIGHT-WING THANKSGIVING
This must be an abbreviated file today for I am about to leap into the breech of the pre-Thanksgiving travel mosh-pit. I am filing from scenic Nashville today. And, I must employ virtually every form of land conveyance in order to consume the turkey that is rightfully mine waiting for me in New York. Oh, yes. It will be mine.

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I can only imagine what the subscribers to the vast Right Wing conspiracy theory think Thanksgiving at the Goldbergs is like. Uncle Ken unties the drumsticks on the turkey so he can peek into the stuffing hole. Mom brings in hungry street urchins and lets them watch, unfed, as we sup. Richard Mellon Scaife comes by with goodies for the kids — forged pictures of Bill Clinton at a Thai brothel with Michael Jackson and a man who looks mysteriously like (the real) Vince Foster. Alas, we don’t have much to be thankful for this year. Monica blew it. Our “Manchurian Intern” had trained for years but when all was said and done she couldn’t be trusted. Nevertheless she swings by before she heads back to Israel for debriefing by the Mossad. She has a lot to be thankful for: a book deal, an interview with Baba Wawa, gravy.

ODE TO HERMAPHRODITISM
The counter-culture’s problem with rigid gender roles has been well documented and discussed. But I thought the controversy was largely over, or at the very least, academic. Sociobiology — the idea that genetics largely drives our behavior — has made deep inroads into even the calcified Left. More encouragingly, so has common sense. Men Are from Mars, Women From Venus confirms what everyone knew for millenia; girls and boys are different. Sure this bothers the feminists and much mischief is done to “rectify” the situation, but on the whole America seemed to be coming to grips with the idea that femininity and strength or masculinity and sensitivity are not at loggerheads.

But yesterday I found a bizarre article in my favorite section of the New York Times. In Tuesday’s Science Times Natalie Angier wrote an essay about her frustration that there aren’t more role models for “sexually ambiguous” children. She compliments Barney for having a diverse cast of Hispanic, black, Chinese, Korean, blind, crippled, fat, hearing-impaired kids. But, she asks, where are the androgynous kids? Where are the boys who might be girls and the girls who could be boys, if you look closely?

It is a bizarre article from a normally lucid and clear-eyed reporter. Which is dismaying, because she reveals a great deal about herself which makes me think twice about her reporting. Angier recounts that when she goes to the “local food co-op” the clerk compliments her daughter’s good behavior. “If my son were here,” declares the clerk, “he’d be pulling everything off the shelves!” Angier is dismayed because the assumption is that girls are well- behaved and boys are rambunctious.

I am not a science reporter for the Times. So please consider my response that of a laymen. Nevertheless, No Duh.

Toy companies spend millions every year trying to devise toys that both boys and girls will play with — thus doubling the market share for the same product. But, they can’t do it. Boys make rockets and missiles out of the dolls and girls have tea parties with Gloxnar, Destroyer of Planets. Boys and girls have different programming, and I might add, thank God they do. It seems to me we blur the lines between boys and girls quite a bit already. Some of it is good. Some of it is too much of a good thing. And some of it is bad. But I don’t really see the need to “re-educate” humans while they’re still on the vine.

What’s ironic is that Angier bemoans the lack of androgyny on Barney. She concludes her essay wistfully: “And maybe someday Barney will come to work in a skirt.” My problem with Barney is precisely the opposite. Barney is sexless. He is supposed to be a giant dinosaur and he behaves like an over-medicated, chemically castrated, super-sissy. If I could change anything about the show it would be some unadulterated violence. Eat the children if they don’t clean up. “I love you, you love me, you’d be great with some gravy . . .” If you don’t share your toys, lose a leg. No big deal, kids in wheelchairs are welcome on the show — and they’re easier to catch.

KEN AND DIANE
Ken Starr is on 20/20 tonight, a major coup for Diane Sawyer. But, according to reports the interview is Barney-like too. I understand why Ken Starr wants to rehabilitate himself as a nice man — mostly because he is a nice man. But it would be preferable to drum up some anger. Apparrently the only news is that Starr’s office was clueless about Tripp going to the Paula Jones’s lawyers too. The rest of it is cashmere sweaters and huggie-feely sentimentality.

I want an interview with Jackie Bennett — the guy who told Monica she didn’t need her mommy. I want to hear from the people who are really pissed off and I want to know why.

GRETA PLAYS SOFTBALL
Following are Greta Van Susteren’s first three questions of Abbe Lowell, the Judicary Committee’s minority counsel, from yesterday’s Burden of Proof on CNN. Apparently she too thinks it’s all about Ken Starr:

1. Abbe, you know, we heard the president say that he made statements in his testimony that was legally accurate but people think deceitful or misleading. When you listen to Ken Starr testify, was there anything you heard Ken Starr say that was legally accurate but was misleading or even deceitful or deceptive?

2. What about the issue, though, the monitoring that you quizzed him about? I mean, he suggested that there was no offer to Monica Lewinsky to monitor Vernon Jordan or other people, yet there was a 302 form, which is an FBI form, which later would suggest that perhaps he was misleading.

3. Abbe, why is it important, or why is it even relevant whether or not Ken Starr’s conduct is good conduct? You know, there’s a lot of criticism that the only issue here is the President’s conduct, yet the Democrats cross-examined him, and so did you, on issues of his conduct, whether or not his process was fair.

How do you answer those questions?



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