"Man with first name of 'Roscoe' not best...

CONFUCIUS SAY,

March 08, 1993|By THEO LIPPMAN JR.

CONFUCIUS SAY, "Man with first name of 'Roscoe' not best judge of what is 'normal name.' "

Maybe neither is man with first name of "Theo," but for all you know that may be a nom de plume.

Roscoe Bartlett is in trouble today for not making it clear he was insulting "normal" Americans, that is, people whose ancestors came from northern and western Europe.

The congressman complained that two-thirds of the winners of Westinghouse scholarships in the state didn't have "normal" names. They had "Asian names [and] Middle Eastern names."

Now, why should he be criticized for this? It's true. The problem in this country is that among the youth of today the Smiths, the Jones, the Bartletts, etc., are normal. Normal as in C, maybe C+.

It's the Nguyens, Sus, Fongs and so forth who get the A+s and B+s.

What Representative Bartlett should have said is, to a meeting of, say, the Daughters of the American Revolution, "You people had better shape up. You're normal! You're average! You're dragging this country down! Where are your values? Why aren't your kids studying?"

Actually he'd do better to make that speech to the Sons of the American Revolution, as it is more okay to insult males of European descent than females. In fact, it is not only more okay but obligatory for the politically correct to insult such people on a regular basis. Also when berating males you get to use the phrase, "You just don't get it!"

* * * Nom de plume is Italian for "manly deeds, womanly words." No, wait a minute, that's Fatti maschii parole femine. That's the motto on the Great Seal of Maryland. Del. Sheila Hixson of Montgomery County wants it removed. She says it is an insult to women. She wants the motto changed to Maschii porco, "men are swine." (Just kidding!!)

That there are masculine and feminine traits and sensibilities is undeniable. Why acknowledgment of this is insulting to some women escapes me. Most men and most women possess both male and female traits and sensibilities.

There is a school of thought to the effect that feminine traits are vital in a male national leader. Bruce Miroff argues this in his new book, "Icons of Democracy." He dismisses Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy for their swaggering and paternalistic masculinity without compensating feminine sensibilities.

He argues that the best presidents "should have the strength of purpose and tenacity of will that American culture has generally designated as masculine, but also the sensitivity, openness and willingness to nurture others that American culture typically disparaged as women's ways." He sees Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt in this category of leader.

I think Bill Clinton may be in it, too. Also Hillary Rodham.

* * * P.S. "Roscoe" is underworld slang for a concealed weapon.

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