A MIXED BAG OF MAD COMPLAINTS
by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Correspondent
SEATTLE, Wash. -- Herewith is Ink Soup's opinion on various burning topics of the day: The most depressing thing I've seen so far in this primary season (if you don't count the sign in a neighbor's yard backing Kucinich) is the entry of Ralph Nader, this time not as a Green but as an Independent.
The friends who urged him to take this step, according to a recent editorial cartoon, are named Bush, Cheney, Ridge, et al.
I admire this old Princetonian's fight against corporate mismanagement and greed, but I deeply deplore the political blindness that brought him into the fight. That alone is reason enough not to vote for him. Rather than vote for him one might as well skip the intermediate steps and vote for Dubya in the first place.
But Ink Soup has the solution: let him be endorsed by Al Gore.
We do not of course speak for ourselves, though God knows ... but never mind. We are thinking of great minds like William Saffire, James Kilpatrick, and Dave Barry, writers whose opinions on social and political matters have shaped the world as we know it, reduced to work that TA's in English departments endure only because no one of any standing would stoop to it: explaining the difference between who and whom, and castigating those who need it, i.e., all their readers.
Actually overheard in a lockerroom not a thousand miles from here: "It's not that I have anything against fairies, you understand, but the institution of marriage is a sacred...etc., etc."
Having grown up in the South in the Thirties and Forties, I had a postdoctoral degree in this sort of prejudice before I was an adolescent. "It's not their skin color--I actually like black skin--it's just that they are so lazy and stupid and they smell like ..."
Well, I do not like gays or straight people either. I like or dislike individuals whatever their sexual taste. Two men, long partners in life, happen to be on the ministerial staff of my church, and they are splendid examples of civic and religious virtue.
I think that gay men and women are entitled to all the rights and privileges of our country, and one of those rights is to be acknowledged as a legally committed couple, with all the fiscal and legal benefits enjoyed by others in that status.
Isn't it bad enough that every other clue is needle case (etui) or Miami county (Dade)? Must we endure such a crash of the entire system as that shown in the New York Times puzzle of Feb 11 and that of the Seattle Times of the day after, both of which depended upon the identical quotation from Chekhov? "Any idiot can face a crisis. It's the day to day living that wears you out." Better pay for Will Shortz!
Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, writer, and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.