Sunday, July 09, 2000

Signs of our times




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        Some headlines are like highway signs that say “Last Chance for Gas” in a desert of decadence. “Turn Back Now, Before it's Too Late,” they warn.

        Here's one from the New York Times that says the fashion industry spent $6 million “to present men with the possibility of pairing hot pants with knee socks, wearing metallic leather jumpsuits unzipped to the navel or styling their hair so that they look like female extras on The Dukes of Hazzard.”

        Cross-dressing Elvis meets Saturday Night Fever in drag, I thought. Now that the fashion industry has decided women should dress like hookers, it figures that men should look like pimps.

        Wrong. I am so unhip. Turns out they are not pimps, but guy-hookers. The Times calls them male hustlers, “the airily coiffed man-boy, whose open shirts, tight sweaters and gold accessories suggest that he is for sale.”

        I don't expect Dockers to sell many metallic leather jumpsuits to Dilberts like me. We're too square on top and round in the middle to saunter around in hot pants and open shirts without inducing panic and nausea.

        But when male prostitutes are “cool,” the vultures are starting to circle on the outskirts of weirdo culture.

Impeach history
        Here are a few more that don't fit in my In-Basket or my Out-Basket, because they belong in that Hand-Basket that is headed for beachfront property on the Lake of Fire:

        • House members won't be punished for impeaching Clinton.

If that doesn't sound odd, you may need to loosen your metallic hot pants. For those who have already forgotten, the president lied extravagantly under oath, obstructed justice, used his power to intimidate witnesses and bombed innocent people in Africa, among other felonies, all because he was caught exploring the frontiers of thong fashion with a young intern.

        And now we are semi-surprised that House members are not being hounded out of office for impeaching him, as if it was all their fault. It's like hearing that “Crash victims won't be sued by airline.”

        • Court victory could destroy the Boy Scouts.

That's the spin from the gay rights groups that sued to force the Boy Scouts to accept a homosexual scout leader. They insisted they never aimed to destroy the scouts. But as soon as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the scouts' liberty to choose their own leaders, gay activists launched a new attack, warning that no schools, churches or companies would dare to sponsor the “bigoted” Boy Scouts.

Spin wins
        • Supreme Court approves murder of infants.

If you missed this one on the TV news, it's because they used kinder, gentler words, like “procedure” or “right to choose” — doubletalk curtains to hide the ugly truth about late-term abortions that mangle kicking, flinching babies who are just inches away from being born.

        The dissenting justices were not so squeamish. They spelled it out:

        “... The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. ... The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.”

        And that's the more humane method that justices were afraid might be outlawed by Nebraska's attempt to ban what Justice Antonin Scalia called “live-birth abortions.”

        Call me a backseat driver, but a culture that dresses like prostitutes, condones lying and debauchery by its leaders, persecutes traditional morality and legalizes the murder of babies — that culture is running out of gas.

        Peter Bronson is editorial page editor of The Enquirer. If you have questions or comments, call 768-8301, or write to 312 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.