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The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s Fifteen Annual San ‘,Antonio Inter-American Bookfair , Szi Literary Test-Iva’, r November 20 23, 2002 at the Guadalupe Theater 1.300 Guadalupe Street Featuring: Marjorie Agositt, Gioconda Beni, jay Brandon, Sandra Cisneros, Maria Espinosa, Robert . Flynn, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Stephen Harrigan, Rolando Hinojosa, Tish Hinojosa, Paulette Ries, Dente t ri a, Mart inez, Ruben Martinez, M ayra Montero, Cecile Pineda, Sergio Ramirez, Manuel Ramos, raarsahnus, Pamela Uschnk, Alma Luz Kalainu ya Salaam and many more Apecial ihonde$ to Oar i?Iflittligkg Trinity Citiversity, Barnett & Noble Bookstares, Endowment fin. the Arts, San lirtonii. !lam of Aria and Cultural Affairs, Tr-Am Committee oft the flunsonities, Testy: Commb sion on the Arts, San Antonio Public Library Foundation, \(.,’nits of li sus ot ;’…;m1 Antonio, :11nnto Community College international Progratn:s, thin qf the luctscatue Rbrd, Mexican Cultural Institute, :tioint litory’li Unit:, Oar Lady \(lithe Lake 1.1111iN ‘`’-stns hatiel -101 Cis u, Eiwronat Peare & Justice Center, and minty gcoberous indiridttobc, Boob:fair director: ttryce Mithp;ott Boy Scouts, continued from page 25 adult Eagle Scout began to walk calmly towards the boys, presumably to resolve what seemed a common enough conflict. But then, out of nowhere appeared an adult leader of the local Girl Scout troop. She bolted towards the boys, who eyed her with fear and loathing and suspicion. When she came within a few steps of the harmless melee, the boys instinctively dropped everything and scattered, as if running away from a raging fire. The woman screamed at them to stop. The boys kept running. The Eagle Scout looked over at her and shook his head, as if to say,”you know, I had a plan.” Maybe the event means nothing, but I can’t see those boys running from a man. The rest of this book is mildly entertaining.When not engaging the big issues, Mechling recounts his direct observations of the Boy Scouts being Boy Scouts. His method here is to describe a scene in vivid detail and then lay a thick layer of analysis over it. His descriptions, in general, are bland and his layers, in general, are as heavy as a hairshirt, which is exactly the item that you’ll feel you’re wearing as you suffer through some of his improvisational interpretive riffs. For example, after describing a game where the boys row out to an island, dig a “poison pit,” fill it with water and watermelon debris, urinate in it, and then play tug-of-war over it, he explains its deeper significance in the following babble \(par”Key to this interpretation [of the pit] is the willingness to see the island as a metaphorical woman…..Recall that the island is called T.I.,Tit Island, and that when approached from the water it resembles a supine woman.The boys dig into this woman’s belly a pit, a ‘hole,’ a metaphorical vagina, which they fill with water. The misogyny we found earlier as part of the folklore constructing a male identity explains why poison might be associated with a woman’s genitalia. For these boys, young women’s genitals and menstruation are mysterious, perhaps dangerous, matters…..[R]ecall that the watermelon rinds, flesh, and seeds are swept into the pit and that the folk speech of these boys makes explicit the metaphoric connection between red melon flesh and menstrual blood….So the symbolic power of the pit is twofold: it literalizes the put down of the other male into the passive, inferior, female position, and it punishes the other male by bathing him in symbolic dirtmenstrual blood and urinewhich he must wash off in the lake.” Well, you know, sometimes a game is just a game, and while Mechling indulges in this kind of freewheeling analysis a bit too often, it is at worst a humorous distraction from an ambitious if only partially successful attempt to write a narratively driven academic book. Plus, where else will you be able to read a book with a chapter that begins with “Somehow I slept through the reveille whistle,” ends with “I dropped off to sleep,” and, in between, includes footnotes citing articles like “Childhood Attitudes Towards Flatulence,” and presents a lively description of a ritual where boys masturbate on a cookie and make the last ejaculator eat it? Christ, it’s hard to be a man. James McWilliams never has been, is not, and never will be a Boy Scout. STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION. for a subscription price of 832. Publisher, The Texas ‘Democracy Foundation; Managing Editor, Barbara l3elejack; Editor, Nate Blakeslee. Owner:The Texas Democracy Foundation, 307 W. 7th St., Austin.TX 78701. Extent and Nature of Circulation:Average Data and for Issue Other Classes Mailed Throughoft USPS: avg. 389, actual 55. Free Distribution Outside the Mail: avg. 0, Requested Circulation: avg. 93%, actual 95%. Signed Rosie Bamberger, Circulation Manager. 10/10/02. Open Forum, continued from page 12 dence and rational argumentare welcome. But the polemics of Gitlin, Cooper and Hitchens fall short. There is a tradition of former leftists shoring up their positions in mainstream institutions by trashing former colleagues. Nice work, if you can get it. But for the rest of us, the real work of advancing progressive politics remains. Robert Jensen, professor of journalism at the University of Texas, is author of Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream. He can be reached at [email protected] . Rahul Mahajan, Green Party candidate for governor, is the author of The New Crusade: America’s War on Terrorism. He can be reached at [email protected] . 11/8/02 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 29