Jewish World Review Dec. 1, 2003 / 6 Kislev, 5764
Hey, we're all victims here
Expert victimologists estimate that 91.2
percent of people in North America and
Europe now qualify as victims, at least in
their own minds. This is because hurt
feelings keep spreading, and "society"
keeps grinding us down. As the
everyone's-a-victim movement continues to
gain momentum, here are some notable
victims of 2003:
- Male witches have
been marginalized by
society, according to
the book Male Witches
in Early Modern
witchcraft is commonly
viewed as a female
accounted for more
than a quarter of the
60,000 people executed
for witchcraft in Europe,
according to authors
Lara Apps and Andrew
- Two student groups wanted to sponsor a pig roast at the Massachusetts
College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. School authorities said no because
the event might offend vegetarians, the Berkshire Eagle reported.
- Andrew Burnett got so angry at a female driver who tapped the bumper of
his car in heavy traffic that he reached into her car, picked up her small dog,
and hurled it into traffic. The dog died, and Burnett was convicted of cruel
killing of an animal. On appeal, Burnett argued that the death was really the
dog's fault, since the animal had safely reached the other side of the road
and should have stayed there. Instead, the dog tried to make it back to its
owner and was run over. Burnett's conviction was upheld.
- People with tattoos are often unfairly stereotyped, making it hard for them
to get ahead at work, said Rep. Lois Capps, a California Democrat. She was
trying to wheedle $50,000 in federal funds for the Liberty Tattoo Removal
Program of San Luis Obispo County. She got the money.
- To avoid victimizing American Indians, costumes were forbidden at a
school Thanksgiving pageant in Skokie, Ill., because the cardboard
headdresses to be worn by children portraying Indians contributed to a
stereotype. So the celebration of Pilgrims meeting Indians was conducted in
whatever clothes the students were wearing that day.
- Two black women are suing Southwest Airlines because a flight attendant,
attempting to get passengers to sit down for takeoff, said over the intercom,
"Eeny, meeny, miney, moe; pick a seat, we gotta go." The women said the
flight attendant's comment harmed them emotionally by bringing to mind an
old racist version of the rhyme, ending, "Catch a n- - - - - by the toe." The
commonly accepted form of the jingle ends in "Catch a tiger by the toe."
- Lawyers are victims of bad publicity and society's prejudices, according to
Florida attorney Tod Aronovitz. As president of the Florida bar for 2002-2003,
he was in a position to do something about it, so the bar committed
$750,000 to a "Dignity in Law" public relations effort. Lawyer jokes have not
yet been stamped out, but by May 2003, positive media coverage of lawyers
had tripled, in large part because of the targeting of reporters who write about
law, the bar reports.
- A high school student in Trento, Italy, faced with the prospect of having to
repeat junior year because she failed math, hired a lawyer who argued that
she was suffering from "irreversible psychological pathology," or math phobia.
A regional court ruled that the condition made it impossible for her to study or
master math and allowed the school to move her directly into senior year.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones and husband
Michael Douglas sued the British magazine
Hello! for publishing unauthorized photos of
their wedding that allegedly made her look
fat and frumpy. Zeta-Jones said she was
devastated by the photos. Defense lawyers
noted that the couple might be concerned
about money: They had sold exclusive
rights to photograph the ceremony to
another magazine for $1.6 million.
- In February, a giant
representation of the
most prominent feature
of male anatomy
appeared on the
Harvard campus, built
out of snow by
members of the men's
crew team. Amy Keel,
class of '04, decided
that the snow sculpture
was an assertion of
male dominance as
well as an implied
threat to women. So
she and her roommate
knocked it down. In
sympathy with the knock-down, Women's Studies lecturer Diane Rosenfeld
lamented that the sculpture follows on a long line of public phallic symbols,
including the Washington Monument and missiles. Wendy Murphy, a lawyer
and visiting scholar at Harvard Law School, deplored the administration's
silence: "What if students had built a snow sculpture of a Nazi swastika or a
Confederate flag?" This may have been Harvard's first suggestion that all men
are born with the equivalent of a Nazi-Confederate symbol built right in.
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