REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM
- It may be instructive to reflect on some election year punditry, along with profundity from the usual suspects:
The New York Times pays Walter Mondale the ultimate praise:
So much for the snickers about Boring Mondale, the candidate who "dares to be cautious" . . . Mr. Mondale's choice of Geraldine Ferraro turned out to be more reminiscent of Lyndon Johnson's love of surprise, drama and history. . . .
Observing that Ferraro was not only the first woman but also the-first Italian-American on a major party ticket, the Times continued:
Much has been said about [Ferraro's home district] being literally [sic] the home of Archie Bunker, guardian of old grudges in television sitcoms. What that overlooks is that Geraldine Ferraro represents not just Archie, but also Edith and Gloria and even Meathead. If they identify with her as well nationally as in New York's Ninth District [which she would lose in the presidential election], she may yet end up with another first. (July 13, 1984)
The Times then proceeded to gush girlishly in an editorial entitled "History, and Tears":
"Waitresses grab the Mondale-Ferraro button off your shoulder. Men come up and say, 'Go for it.'". . .
Alice Travis, a sometime California officeholder and political professional, knows what she's talking about. . . .
There's obvious partisanship in some of the feelings for Geraldine Ferraro, but there's also more. There's obvious provincialism in the pride many New Yorkers feel in her nomination, but there's also more.
There's history, and those joyful tears. (July 20, 1984)
- The Los Angeles Times inadvertently raises the "social issue" 1984-style, in two adjoining headlines: "Reagan Blasts Liberal Crime Views" and "Democrats Consider Backing Gay Rights." (June 21,1984)
- The F.D.R. coalition unites toward the end of the Democratic campaign:
. . . Mr. Mondale, without citing a source, said twice during the [second presidential] debate that the joint Chiefs had urged the President not to assign the Marines to the barracks because they were indefensible and then five days before the Oct. 23 bombing had asked Mr. Reagan to evacuate them.
When asked today for the source of Mr. Mandate's charge, campaign aides directed reporters to his Washington headquarters issues department. There, an aide said the only information on which Mr. Mondale based his statement was an article in the current issue of The Nation. (New York Times, October 23, 1984)
- Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, fears for freedom of the press: "During the next four years . . . it is going to be very important how the press handles itself, for I fear there is a continuing movement afoot to cast the American press as untrustworthy and indeed somewhat anti-American." (New York Times, November 11, 1984)
- Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, who devised the doll-test relied on by the Supreme Court in the school desegregation case of Brown v. Board of Education, reflects on the waning fortunes of the civil rights movement, thirty years after Brown: "I never thought it would happen in my lifetime, but the term liberal has almost become a pejorative." (New York Times, November 18, 1984)
- The Claremont McKenna College Athenaeum forum series strives for diversity of opinion. From the brochure describing guest speaker John B. Anderson, Independent candidate for President in 1980:
John Bayard Anderson was born on February 15, 1922 in Rockford, Illinois. Elected to the U.S. Congress in I960, he earned a high rating from the conservative Americans for Constitutional Action during his first several terms, but late in the 1960s he began to show signs of moderating his political viewpoint.
During the 1970s Rep. Anderson was outspokenly critical of the Vietnam War and the invasion of Cambodia. . . . (November 1984)
- A lawyer explains to the Supreme Court a threat to the First Amendment, by a Connecticut law requiring employers to give religiously observant employees a day off each week for the sabbath:
"The problem with the law is that it amounts to excessive favoritism of religion," Mr. [Paul] Gewirtz, a Yale Law School professor, told the Court. "The government has thrust itself into the private market by giving religious people an affirmative right, to the detriment of non-religious people." (New York Times, November 8, 1984)
- A new dimension to the exclusionary rule. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Roy Wonder ends repression by reopening nine gay bathhouses closed by the order of another judge, who concluded that they played a part in worsening the AIDS epidemic. However, Judge Wonder also ordered bathhouse owners to require the ejection of customers who practice "unsafe sex."
[San Francisco Health Director Mervyn] Silverman said that city officials will continue monitoring sexual activity at the bathhouses to ensure that unsafe sex is not taking place. . . .
Meanwhile, a part owner of the Academy, one of the clubs closed last month, proclaimed: "I'm so excited; everyone is running around and very happy," (Los Angeles Times, November 29, 1984)
- Well Well Well, a newsletter distributed by the Counseling Center and Health Service of The Claremont Colleges, shows they really care:
The Women's Health Care Department of the Student Health Service is in the process of expanding. It is our goal to offer support to the woman student who is sexually inactive as well as to the one who is sexually active. (November, 1984).
- So how do you delete a file? Secretary of the Treasury and computer illiterate Donald Regan, defending his department's new tax bill, which eliminates business depreciation tax breaks established in the Reagan administration's 1981 tax law: ". . . What I meant when I said [the new bill was written on a word processor] is that a word or a thought can be changed here and there. You don't rewrite on a word processor." (Los Angeles Times, December 4, 1984)