The SANDBOX
                Great American Conversations
                    With The Alumni of RHS
                Issue 101 ~ October 31, 2000

      "Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all."
                        - Shakespeare

Contents:
       Censorship & Barb
       Jenny (Smart) Page  RHS '87

       DIVERSITY vs. DEVIANCY
       John Allen (Class of '66)

       If It Could Be, It Would Be
       Mary Ray Henslee (61)

       Checking Things Out
       Jerry  Lewis (73)

       ----------------------------------------

Subj:   Censorship & Barbie
From:   Jenny (Smart) Page  RHS '87
jpage@3-cities.com

Once again, let me state this as clearly as possible:

I have never, in past, present or any future
 comments regarding Harry Potter, advocated
 censoring these books.  We're all adults (I think)
 here, so I hope its not necessary for me to quote
 some dictionary as to the definition of "censor." 
 Read this out loud, if that's what it takes for this to
 sink in: Read this book if you want to! I'm not
 saying you can not or should not! 

Let me state this again, as clearly as possible:  

It's not appropriate for MY FAMILY.  I prefer to
 make other choices for OUR reading material.
 Period.    

Chuck, I am as against censoring materials as
 apparently you are. Maybe even more so. 

As a side note, Chuck, I was really starting to hope
 that you would take a more active role in raising
 my kids.  You see, we made our first trip to the
 orthodontist last week, and well, we could use a
 secondary insurance to help cover it...it is open
 enrollment season for most plans isn't it?   :) (See,
 I'm trying to lighten the mood here, folks...)

For Linda McKnight, regarding why my daughter
 doesn't have a Barbie:

This again comes down to the "appropriate role
 model" thing.  It has nothing to do with Barbie
 looking anorexic, or even her being materialistic
 and having to own a gazillion outfits.  What turned
 me off to Barbie was when they started selling the
 doll in sexy lingerie a few years ago -- we're
 talking see-through teddy, with the feather
 trimmed robe and high heeled slippers, etc.  Barbie
 looked like something out of a Frederick's of
 Hollywood catalog.  Sexy lingerie is fine for
 adults. But its not something I want my (then)
 preschool aged daughter playing with.  There are
 alternative dress-up dolls, and they don't come
 with thong underwear.  Simple as that.  It's not
 appropriate for our family.  We chose something
 different. 

Maybe I ought to submit my Christmas shopping
 list for approval....oh, sorry, I probably can't say
 "Christmas" without being ridiculed..."Winter Gift
 Exchange Opportunity Day" shopping list, how's
 that?

                       Jenny (Smart) Page
                              RHS '87

                                ~~~

Subj:    DIVERSITY vs. DEVIANCY
From:    John Allen (Class of '66)
miles2go@cheerful.com
 
For many years now, the words "deviancy" and
 "deviant" have taken on a universally negative
 connotation rather than the true definition which
 describes something "different from the norm."  If
 one applies the word "deviant" or "deviancy" to
 describe homosexuals or homosexuality, there
 is not a thing in the world wrong or inaccurate
 about that use.

Undeniably, homosexual behavior deviates from the
 obvious and NORMAL biological purpose of
 sexuality in all species, and therefore, from a
 strictly functional standpoint, qualifies as  
 "deviant."  Further, since only about 3-5% of the
 population is homosexual, from the standpoint of
 its prevalence within the human species in
 particular, homosexuality also qualifies as "deviant."

As a rule, however, most people do not want to be
 described as decidedly different than the norm and
 I suspect the homosexual community itself has
 decided that "deviant" is a negative use of the
 language in regard to their behavior, whereas
 "gay" is seen as a positive, if exceptionally
 "oblique" and heavily veiled, use of the language. 
 By way of kowtowing to the whimsy of various
 minority groups who strive to redefine
 themselves in what they perceive to be more
 favorable language, the language becomes
 bastardized a little bit more every year.  For
 instance, it used to be perfectly acceptable, even
 amongst the black population of this country, to be
 described as "Negro" or "Colored" (probably the
 most accurate way to describe any race other than
 Caucasian).  Around 1968 (when Martin Luther
 King was assassinated), those terms became very
 UNacceptable and the term "black" became the
 almost dictated terminology.  In recent years, if
 one wants to be truly politically correct, the term
 African American must be used.  All this
 reminds me a great deal of teenage girls who decide
 to change their names from, let's say, Sharon, to
 "Shari" with an "i" (and preferably a heart over the
 "i") as if what they are called and how it is spelled
 will somehow by itself make them more popular. 
 My personal favorite bastardization within the last
 12 months is the growing use of the word "issue,"
 to the near extinction of the word "problem."  Who
 started THAT very trendy trend?  Some lawyer, no
 doubt!!

But I digress; this article was prompted by a recent
 comment from another SANDBOX contributor. 
 The comment was that her life had been
 enriched by every gay and lesbian friend she has
 had.  When I read things like this, I have to
 wonder if it is the friend as a whole who has done
 the enriching, or only the gay or lesbian nature of
 the friend which has done the enriching.  If it is the
 latter, I would like to see an explanation of
 SPECIFICALLY how the gay or lesbian nature of
 a person, taken apart from their whole personality,
 is so enriching.  If, on the other hand, it is the
 friend in his or her entirety who does the enriching,
 then why pigeonhole that friend by describing him
 or her solely by sexual preference.  Why not
 describe the friend as "the florist," "the astro
 physicist" or maybe just "the gal with the red
 Chevy?"  Perhaps, as I suspect, the original
 "enrichment" comment was simply a knee jerk,
 politically correct thing to say so as to be SEEN
 AS politically correct in a society which,
 increasingly, values image much more than substance.

My personal attitude toward homosexuality was
 best described by Dennis Miller about three years
 ago during one of his HBO Special "rants" when
 he said, "I don't want you to think I'm homophobic
 or anything, but the thought of having sex with a
 MAN is so repugnant to me, I sometimes marvel
 that you WOMEN can do it."  Look, I don't go
 out of my way to make life miserable or even
 difficult for homosexuals, but as a practicing
 hetero man, I don't understand homosexuality any
 better than I understand women, and I don't think
 it unreasonable or uncaring to say that I never will. 
 Further, I don't see the need to "enrich" my life by
 wasting time trying to do something that is
 effectively impossible.

               ---John Allen (Class of '66)

                              ~~~

Subj:   If It Could Be, It Would Be
From:  Mary Ray Henslee (61)
           Mah@satx.net

A man writes a book and says he wants to do away
 with the internal combustion engine and this is
 what we should base our vote on?  Don't we all
 want a perfect world?  If it could be, it would be. 
 In the meantime we had better vote for someone
 who wants to keep what we do have running and
 someone who is concerned about our national
 security.  While Gore is daydreaming about 25
 years down the road, he is not dealing with the
 here and now.  We are continuing to depend on
 foreign sources that could cut us off in the blink of
 an eye.

If Gore really wanted to help preserve our
 environment for future generations, he would be
 promoting zero population growth, but that
 wouldn't be politically correct.  Pollution begins in
 the home, in our bedrooms.  Overpopulation is the
 real culprit.  We have only in recent years had
 ozone days in San Antonio due to the population
 boom, not due to industry because we have none
 here.  When I lived in Houston during the early
 sixties, pollution was not an issue because the
 population was under control.  The oil refineries
 were there just as they are today and the swamps
 were giving off polluting gases just as they are
 today.  And, hey, the tanks that we drove were not
 environmentally friendly by any stretch of the
 imagination.
 
Our skies are overcrowded with Airlines because
 more people are flying than ever before, but you
 don't hear environmentalists saying down with
 planes.  They are probably contributing more to
 the depletion of the ozone layer than anything that
 is going on down on the ground.

More people, more industries needed to make the
 goods that more people require.  

Gore is not going to put an alternative automobile
 on the road any quicker than it is feasible or he 
 would have already done so.  Since we rely on
 mostly foreign oil, I don't think that we are being
 motivated to keep gasoline engines for our own
 economy.  We just have not come up with any
 viable replacement.  Cars are running cleaner than
 they ever have before, but more people, more cars. 
 

It wasn't too long ago that we were told aerosol
 cans were the biggest culprit to the ozone layer.  I
 don't think scientists have all the answers right now
 and I sure don't think Al Gore does.  Al Gore does
 not have the corner on wanting to live in a clean
 environment, we all do.  He just has a corner on
 impressing extremists who want to have their
 cause validated by someone with their same
 extremist views.

All of our politicians breathe the same air as we do
 and so do their children.  I don't think that any one
 of them will stand in the way of progress toward a
 cleaner environment within reason.  This
 administration has not functioned with reason and
 has now created an oil shortage and higher prices. 
 Cutting consumption is only a temporary fix to our
 shortage because as the population grows, so
 grows the need for more cutbacks.  This is
 something San Antonians know only too well
 as we watch our lawns die because of a water
 shortage due to our overpopulation and lack of
 planning. 

If this country does not develop its own source of
 energy immediately, we are going to be in serious
 trouble economically and strategically.  Are you
 going to think Gore is a rational thinking man
 when you can't drive your car because you have
 used up your rations?  Are you going to think
 Gore is a rational thinking man when the economy
 crashes and you no longer have a job?  Are you
 going to think Gore is a rational thinking man
 when the trucks can't roll to get food to the
 grocery stores?  Are you going to think Gore is a
 rational thinking man when our fighter planes can't
 protect us because they have no fuel?  Are you
 going to think Gore is a rational thinking man
 when we are no longer a world power because we
 have not had the foresight to develop our own
 energy sources? 

What difference does it make if the gasoline we
 use to fuel our cars and planes is refined on our
 own soil or on another country's soil?  The
 outcome is the same....the pollutants are all going
 into the same atmosphere, depleting the same
 ozone layer.  Hello?

One pound of learning requires ten pounds of
 common sense to apply it (Persian Proverb).  I
 think the most important qualities to look for in
 any elected official are integrity and common
 sense.  

                   Mary Ray Henslee (61)

                               ~~~

Subj: Checking Things Out
Re: The SANDBOX Issue 98
From:   Jerry  Lewis (73)
jlewis@owt.com

The Harry Potter dialog continues...  I am very
 skeptical of the report quoted by Janie O'Neal
 Janssen.  Although the wording is different, the
 tale is similar to a satiric piece from theonion.com,
 which as far as I can tell doesn't print anything that
 is not made up.  

I did go to the Philadelphia Trumpet web site, but
 wasn't able to view the article to see if there were
 any references or descriptions of how this
 information was gathered.  Judging from the
 available material, I don't think The Trumpet is
 exactly an unbiased news source.  

Before 'trumpeting' such a story around, I'd like to
 see some back up to the allegations.  The advent of
 easy distribution via the web and e-mail of opinion
 and fiction masquerading as fact has made me
 more cautious about blindly accepting any
 uncorroborated material in general. 
 
If you're interested in the Urban Legends site's take
 on the situation, check out

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/stooopid/potter.htm
  

It mainly is pointing out that any rumor that quotes
 the story from theonion.com is not correct, and 
doesn't have any other references.  So in the spirit of
skepticism, I'd like to see some more research. 
In the way of an inquiry, I did a search for the
 Pagan Federation (PF), mentioned in Janie's post. 
 The site did come up, and indeed, they did just hire
 a 'youth officer' to "deal with inquiries from under
 18 year olds that are not allowed to join..."  In the
 extended article it mentions thousands of letters
 from a teenage magazine article that mentioned the
 PF.  No word of Harry Potter.  I looked at the
 other headlines and links and no mention of
 anything remotely sounding like it would have
 anything to do with Harry Potter.  Not conclusive,
 but something to keep in mind during the investigation.

I also searched the New York Times (only two
 weeks) and the Seattle Times, but didn't come up
 with anything relevant to this discussion. (scanning
 the first page or so of titles).

                        All for now ...
   
         Jerry  Lewis (73) jlewis@owt.com  
        http://www.owt.com/users/jlewis/ 

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Shippenville, PA
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