Culture Notes


Issue: "Global Warming," Nov. 29, 1997

Mehr pornographie, bitte: Germans want more sex on TV

Americans in Europe have long been taken aback by the sex and nudity shown on European television. Apparently, the appetite for salacious TV has a way of growing. In a recent survey, 48 percent of Germans wanted to see more pornography on TV. Already, German stations, including public television, are showing soft-core porn late at night. In fact, porn competes only with soccer for the highest ratings. But the public is not satiated. A year ago, only 32 percent wanted more pornography. Today, nearly half want to see more and more. "The last taboo has fallen," reported TV Today magazine, which commissioned the study. "Every second viewer wants more porn on television." How long before the United States catches up with Germany?"

Raping with drugs

The sexual revolution has now reached the point of chemical warfare. At nightclubs, parties, and singles bars, the come-on line is being replaced with a drug slipped into the woman's drink. Rohypnol is a prescription anti-insomnia medication, legal in over 60 countries, though it has never been up for approval by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. On the street the pills are known as "roofies," "roaches," "the forget pill," or "the date-rape drug." The way it works is that the gallant gentleman sneaks the pill into whatever the lady is drinking. The drug, tasteless and easily dissolved, makes her drowsy, disoriented, and oblivious to whatever is happening to her. This enables the gentleman to have his way with her. The morning after, the drug induces short-term amnesia, so the woman cannot remember what happened to her. Traces of the drug quickly disappear, so it becomes almost impossible to prove that she had been victimized. This Lothario's dream drug has been implicated in over 2,400 cases of rape or attempted rape, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. State legislatures across the country are introducing bills to outlaw Rohypnol and to provide sanctions against using it to commit sexual assault. Meantime, the DEA is working to reclassify Rohypnol from a Schedule VI drug-a prescription medicine that can be misused-to a Schedule I, joining the ranks of LSD and heroin.

Postmodern math just doesn't add up

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The same educational experts who gave us the "Whole Language" approach to teaching reading-sending reading scores plummeting-have also given the nation's schoolchildren what could be called "Whole Math." Students no longer have to memorize the multiplication table, do geometric proofs, or calculate the exact answers. Instead, they use calculators, work in groups, and get credit for coming close. One mother, Madalyn McDaniel of Atascadero, Calif., sat in on a sophomore math class. She was quoted in the Wall Street Journal: "There was no emphasis on right answers. In an effort to improve self-esteem everyone's solution was discussed and valued equally." Ironically, this new New Math is called "Standards" mathematics because it is based on the new national standards developed for the federal government by the educational establishment. Already the standards are being used by textbook companies and curriculum designers. Mrs. McDaniel and other parents are challenging the new approach to math before local school boards across the country. But the education professionals are insisting that in an age of computers, traditional math skills are obsolete. When the ancient sophists said that truth is relative and there are no absolutes, Socrates refuted them by pointing to mathematics. Numbers, at least, are examples of objective, universal truths. But today's sophists are denying the validity of arithmetic-and they are the ones in charge of setting the math standards for the nation's schools.


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