Men, Watch OutAndrei Codrescu's March 9 column, ''Sex...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 21, 1992

Men, Watch Out

Andrei Codrescu's March 9 column, ''Sex Mania Replaces Sex,'' deplores America's preoccupation with sex, even as the country's libido is shrinking.

Sadly, Mr. Codrescu exploits the humor in his article to mock Anita Hill's earnest crusade against sexual harassment.

While right-wing ideologues and prudes rebuke women for bringing sexual matters to courtrooms and Senate chambers, left-wing ideologues indulge in ironic banter.

They would have women take sexual harassment right between the eyeballs, happy that the American libido, a barometric index of American sanity, is alive and kicking.

Women who want to discuss sexual harassment in public forums are neither morally depraved nor icily frigid. Discoursing about sexual harassment is not the equivalent of discoursing against sex.

Harassment is unwelcome attention that is excruciating to the victim. It is not the same as laughter, love or jocular flirtation. It is certainly not an exciting road to romance or sex. Crude and sadistic, harassment can be used by both sexes to overpower and intimidate. Often the perpetrator has no sexual confidence and has not learned the pleasant nuances of communicating affection or attraction.

Sexual harassment can be aggressive and persistent in the face of negation. Women who are more frequently harassed than men may lose sleep, become tense and diminish their productivity. How to outwit the harasser tactfully -- and how to keep one's job -- may become morbid obsessions, especially during times when jobs are hard to find. Victims who capitulate may wind up feeling psychologically macerated.

European and Latin American men have scorned America's candid discussions about sex. It is often said that there are matters more profound than date rapes or sexual harassment. But such flippant statements should not detract from the fact that American women are currently blazing trails in the field of women's rights. It may take decades but women all over the world will follow suit. Although smug and snide at the present time, European, Latin American and other Third World men will one day be facing the same thorny issues that American men are being forced to confront now.

I am benumbed by the scores of articles that have appeared, written always by men, dissecting or deriding women's so called over-reaction or over-sensitivity to sexual innuendo.

It is evident that both sexes have to change their behavior but it is American men who seem to be in a dither because they are being held accountable for both deeds and words.

Hopefully one day soon, they'll calm down and carry on the mating business in a less cavalier fashion.

''Sex Mania Replaces Sex'' would have been a tolerable piece if it had left Anita Hill alone.

Usha Nellore

Baltimore

Oregon Health Plan Provides a Model

Most Americans, it now seems, are ready to support some form of a national health-care system.

Our current fee-for-service, business-oriented method of providing health care is only satisfactory for those who can afford full coverage health insurance. This currently excludes millions of Americans in all walks of life and of all ages, many of them people who could be more productive if their health care needs were satisfied.

A pundit once said that the two greatest sins of any nation attempting to be great in the eyes of its people and of the world are to allow its citizens to live in poverty or to suffer from poor health.

All of the currently viable candidates for high office seem to be supporting some concept of national health care planning.

No single plan, however, has been developed which would answer as many of the needs of under-served Americans as has the Oregon Health Care Plan.

The targets of the Oregon Health Care Plan are the under-served. The goals are the provision of the basic necessities of health care, as agreed upon by physicians, community leaders and consumers.

The increased costs projected for such a program are modest by most standards. There is no attempt made under the Oregon plan to cover all aspects of health care. No nation and no plan can afford the level of health care and service which the well-to-do can provide for themselves and their family. There will inevitably be two standards of care.

The Oregon plan currently awaits congressional approval. This is not just a recently devised plan proposed as a political tool during an election year but a plan three years in the making and one with input and advice from all income levels throughout the state of Oregon.

It is a plan which this country can use as a model.

Robert E. Martin, M.D.

Baltimore

Car Phone Menace

It is time Maryland came up with a law requiring drivers with hand-held car phones to pull over to the side of the road when using them.

I am tired of avoiding people who weave into other lanes and forget where they are while talking on car phones.

They have no consideration for anyone else on the road.

The law should allow police to ticket anyone using a hand-held car phone while driving.

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