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The News You May Have Missed

February 2006By Michael S. Rose

Michael S. Rose is Web Editor of New Oxford Review.

Miss Penitentiary

Forty women from 10 prisons around Sao Paulo, Brazil, will be competing at the city's Carandiru Women's Detention Center in a beauty pageant to be judged by celebrities, soccer players, and journalists. The female convicts, serving sentences for everything from armed robbery to drug trafficking, are vying to be named Miss Penitentiary, a title that brings a $160 prize and a possible break into a modeling career once the winner is released from the big house. Prison officials came up with the idea of the beauty contest "as a way of trying to boost inmates' self-confidence" (Billings Gazette, Nov. 24).

Gender Bigotry

If the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has its way, teachers won't be able to acknowledge that there are "boys" and "girls" in their classrooms. Rebecca Bigler, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, reveals the plan in SPLC's flagship publication Teaching Tolerance (Fall 2005). Writes Bigler: "It happens every day across the nation: Teachers welcome their students to class by saying 'Good morning, boys and girls.'... Imagine if a teacher used race labels in similar fashion: 'Good morning, whites and blacks.'" Bigler believes this "gender bigotry" is intolerable and must be stopped.

Voluntary Human Extinction

According to the San Francisco Chronicle (Nov. 16), the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT, pronounced "vehement") is dedicated to phasing out the human race so that the Earth's biosphere might return to good health. VHEMT founder Les U. Knight, who had a vasectomy at age 25, told the Chronicle that "Wherever humans live, not much else lives." His solution is a simple one: Every man and woman should "voluntarily cease to breed" -- that means, of course, sterilization, abortion, contraception, and sometimes infanticide. VHEMT's motto: "May we live long and die out. Thank you for not breeding."


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