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Abuse with results

http://Atlantic Wire" target="_blank">Atlantic Wire took note of David Plotz's piece in Slate about his abusive high school basketball coach. The recently leaked tapes of now-fired Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice, who threw balls at the heads of players and called them "fairy" and "faggot," brought back memories for Mr. Plotz, who admits that, as a teenager, his own abusive coach made him a better player:

"When I was a high school freshman, my basketball coach shoved me, pushed me, mocked me and chucked basketballs at me. He compared me in unfavorable ways (and remarkably foul language) to girls and senior citizens," Mr. Plotz writes, before admitting that he sympathizes with Mr. Rice because his own experience "didn't register as bullying or abuse, just as coaching."

Still, Mr. Plotz readily admits that he would have confronted Mr. Rice if those basketball players were his own children: "If my kids endured what I did, I would be in the principal's office demanding heads. Yet I'm a hypocrite, because I'm certain that the abuse I would abhor today made me a better basketball player and a better teammate, and possibly even made me a better person."


Bashing Thatcher

Peter Whittle in City Journal: "Within hours of Margaret Thatcher's death, some concerned voices on the left expressed hope that their comrades would have the self-possession to remain reasonably dignified in reacting to the news, bearing in mind that this was not just the passing of an obviously towering political figure, but also of a frail 87-year-old lady.

"You'd think such an appeal to decency would be unnecessary, but that is to be unfamiliar with the more unhinged elements of the British left, which, in the former prime minister's declining years, have boasted of the parties they would throw when the day finally came. As I write, the ugliness is already evident: the hard-left member of Parliament George Galloway has taken to Twitter with the message, 'Tramp the dirt down,' and the Durham Miners Association has declared Thatcher's death 'a great day' for coal miners."


Beyonce vs. America

The Borowitz Report: "Arguing that their recent trip to Cuba had made them 'America's No. 1 national-security threat,' a group of Republican lawmakers today called for tougher sanctions on the entertainers Beyonce and Jay-Z. 'We must send a strong message to Beyonce and Jay-Z that the United States of America will not tolerate this kind of provocation,' said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., who blamed President Obama for 'permitting the crisis to escalate dangerously. While the president has allowed himself to be distracted by North Korea, Beyonce and Jay-Z were engaged in threatening activities right in our own hemisphere,' he said, charging the president with being 'soft on Beyonce.' ...

"Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called for the 'toughest economic sanctions possible to isolate the growing threat posed by Beyonce and Jay-Z.' But while economic sanctions may be politically popular, White House spokesman Jay Carney cautioned that they would probably have little to no effect: 'Right now, Jay-Z and Beyonce have more money than the U.S. government does.' "


Champions of chastity

Jessica Valenti for Agence Global: "The talk of marriage these last few weeks -- whether about same-sex marriage, young marriage or, most hilariously, Ivy League marriage -- reminds me of a fight I had with a high school boyfriend. We had just gotten back together after a brief break up, during which time we both saw other people. He felt very strongly that I had done something wrong by dating someone else. He, of course, was in the clear.

"When I pointed out the double standard, he explained ... If both women and men went around hooking up and having sex, society would be besieged by sexually transmitted diseases. It was up to women to be monogamous and sexually conservative in order to ensure that this wouldn't happen. (Apparently men are incapable of such a feat.) ...

His teen boy logic ... is actually not far off from conservative culture's last grasp at saving marriage as they imagine it. And the core of these death-throe attempts to hold onto a version of marriage that never really existed is the idea of women -- chaste women -- as a stabilizing force in society.

"Take Focus on the Family's 'talking points' on marriage. Under the headline, 'Marriage is Essential to a Thriving Society,' the organizations says straight marriage is necessary because it 'socializes men.' "

opinion_commentary

Greg Victor (gvictor@post-gazette.com).


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