Washington, D.C.--The Corcoran Gallery of Art canceled a retrospective ofthe photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe, saying that the photos mightoffend those on Capitol Hill who monitor its Federal financing.Meanwhile, the National Endowment for the Arts, which partly financedthe show, is under fire from Senator Jesse Helms because itcontributed funds to that show and other shows that he findsobjectionable. A number of other legislators are considering cuttingNEA's grant money. Representative Sidney Yates, in order to defusethe situation, is working on an amendment to the NEA's appropriationbill limiting its ability to give grants, while Representative DickArmey wants written guarantees from the NEA that it will not fund anyartwork potentially offensive to the majority of people. According toone art collector, "The atmosphere right now is pretty poisonous forarts funding."
Prisoners And Police
Washington, D.C.--The U.S. Supreme Court unanimouslyruled that police-brutality suits need show only that officers acted"unreasonably" under the circumstances, rather than "maliciously andsadistically." The Court also upheld Federal-prison censorshipregulations "reasonably related to legitimate penological interests,"meaning that wardens may ban any publication they believe"detrimental to the security, good order or discipline of theinstitution ... or might facilitate criminal activity."
Thank God I Flunked
Torrance, California--Teachers and union representatives arecriticizing school-district administrators for usingwriting-proficiency exams to determine which students need drugcounseling. Two thousand students were asked to write essays aboutdrugs. Those who seemed exceptionally knowledgeable were recommendedfor visits to a school counselor or psychologist.
Washington, D.C.--The U.S. District Court struck down as unconstitutionalmajor portions of former Attorney General Edwin Meese's ChildProtection and Obscenity Enforcement Act ("The Playboy Forum," June1988). The ruling held that the law violated the First Amendmentrights of publishers and film makers who deal in legitimate eroticmaterial.
Delray Beach, Florida--Southern Bell officials report that a hackergot into the company's computer system and programmed it to routeoverflow calls intended for probation officers to a dial-a-porn line, where they hear sex talk from Tina. According to a Southern Bellspokesman, "We're very alarmed."
United Nations--A State Departmentofficial says that the United States will withhold its $19,000,000annual contribution to the United Nations Population Fund because itsubsidizes (though it does not endorse) abortions in China.
Montreal, Quebec--The Canadian Public Health Association released avideo tape that instructs high school students how to use a condom.The 27-minute video was released after a survey of high schoolstudents revealed that 52 percent of them are sexuallyactive.
Atlanta--Pregnant women have been warned to go easyon caffeine for the sake of the fetus. Now men are being warned to goeasy on caffeine for the sake of fertility. Researchers at EmoryUniversity found that some men who drink too much coffee experiencechronic infertility; caffeine apparently impairs their spermproduction.
"Right-WingRevenge" ("The Playboy Forum," August) noted that the InternalRevenue Service had cut off the tax-exempt status for some liberalorganizations--including People for the American Way. Oursource, The Wall Street Journal, was apparently engaging inwishful thinking. The IRS has assured us that contributions toorganizations such as People for the American Way are tax-exempt.Send those checks.
No Butts About It
North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina--This waterfronttown has fought its share of battles over nudity on the beaches, andnow it's trying to repel an invasion of young women wearing the thongbathing suit. "We have had a city ordinance since 1976 againstrevealing certain parts of the body--including the buttocks,"says one city official. Thong-clad women are asked to find anotherbeach.