Subject: Changing Minds, Changing Words
Re: "The Good Word: How Do You Avoid Saying Retarded?"
From: Rob Leder
Date: Thu Jul 5 11:49 p.m. PT
Since almost no one considers abnormally low intelligence to be a desirable condition, any word that is attached to this condition will eventually become tainted. Replace "retarded" with "wonderful," and in 50 or so years there will be considerable hand-wringing over the use of such an insensitive term. Anyone who doubts that a word could lose its original meaning so quickly should consider the word "gay"—not because homosexuality has anything in common with mental retardation, but simply because "gay" is probably the most obvious example of a rapid semantic shift.
Subject: Need To Know
Re: "Explainer: What's the Latest With the Missing Intern?"
From: Bruce Stram
Date: Thu Jul 5 2:42 a.m. PT
One side effect of the Clinton era is to give the legitimate press a strong push in the tabloid direction they were headed anyway. Bill Clinton lied under oath twice and lied directly to the American people to cover it up. That's ample reason for coverage of a sex scandal. None of that sort of predicate is present in the Condit affair, but the distinction has been lost, so the press just covers the sex scandal even though there is no legitimate news to be had.
Subject: The Right To Choose Nuclear Power
Re: "The Breakfast Table: Peter D. Kramer and Andrew Solomon"
From: Ben Kirkup
Date: Mon Jul 9 10:21 a.m. PT
It has been suggested that liberals backing down on their opposition to nuclear power is equivalent to conservatives backing down on the rights of children who cannot yet defend themselves against abortions. But … nobody opposes nuclear power on moral grounds, everybody has practical concerns. Abortion, infanticide, pornography, etc. are moral issues, not practical issues. No conservative would say that he opposes abortion because there are too few babies being produced. … In any case, conservatives and liberals frequently change their positions on practical issues as things become palatable or circumstances change.
Subject: Skirts in Court
Re: "Culturebox: Athletes in Skirts"
Date: Sun Jul 8 7:35 p.m. PT
Many women I know will wear shorts for a casual match or lesson and wear skirts for league matches. Some women like to psych out their opponents by wearing shorts in an attempt to appear more athletic or—a different phenomenon—to appear more nonchalant (like the person who walks onto the court with just a racket and no well-stocked tennis bag). The most likely reason I have been able to come up with is that many women still cling to a cheerleader fantasy and tennis skirts (especially the pleated ones) remind them of the perkiness of a cheerleader outfit. I also think women just like to look nice, and, let's face it, most women look better in a skirt than in shorts.
Technical Problem of the Week: Some parts of The Fray were out of action on July 4th, so star poster Cato the Censor "had to talk to my family, because there was nothing else to do. They are very nice." Apparently, Mrs. Cato did not find this funny—we hope we haven't gotten him into any more trouble. We were reminded of last year's "Shopping" article on mattresses (scroll down to the Fray Notes). That was a supervalue Fray, containing not only an idea for good dinnertable conversation over Thanksgiving, but also an all-time favorite post: the one about bedding journalists.
The discussion of women in the Fray continues: LT's post features provocative ideas on the difference between male and female posters and more evidence of why she got her star (yes, inquirers, she is the female star poster you've been wondering about).
PresidentBushdoesn't have a star. We don't know whether Ender is telling us something about his own life—surely not!—but, inspired by President Bush at Yale, he has encouraging words for those who may not make the White House but have another goal in view: "To all the posters who barely graduated high school, never went to college, smoked plenty of pot, experimented with about everything else, abused alcohol, smoke cigarettes, drink coffee, had lots of pre-marital sex, used birth control, don't attend church, etc. I say: You, too, can be a star poster."