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Opinion Column
For the week of April 25 through May 1, 2001

Principal is out of touch

Commentary by Pat Murphy

Principal Doug Flaming of Vallivue High School in Caldwell may have been charitable in describing his school as "very conservative" and thus the reason for banning "The Grind" from the prom dance floor last weekend.

Some might use the word "backward" as a better description of the school’s cultural inclinations, and not because Vallivue doesn’t even correctly spell Valley and View.

Principal Famling believes "The Grind" is "too suggestive for an event that involves minors." Translated: sexually suggestive.

This thinking is a return to the dark ages of rock ‘n’ roller Elvis Presley’s early days on TV more than 40 years ago, when horrified American parents rose up to protest Elvis’ (gasp!) gyrating hips as (gasp!) sexually evocative.

On Jan. 6, 1957, Presley’s second appearance on TV impresario Ed Sullivan’s show, "Elvis the Pelvis" was shown on TV singing from the tummy up, but not swinging his hips so parents would be spared the sight of (yikes!) gyrating hips, although grinding motions to keep the hula hoop spinning was just fine with parents, thank you.

Principal Famling is out of touch.

Teens will dance "The Grind" elsewhere whenever they want, and its gyrations are far less dubious than what a lot of teen prom-goers might do later that night when alone.

"The Grind" is tame compared to the tight, almost suffocating belly-to-belly embrace of teens slow-dancing to romantic mood music in dimly lit high school gyms at proms in the 1940s and 1950s.

One wonders about Principal Famling’s other up-tight rules: does he insist that biology students learn human reproduction from romantic fairy tales about the stork?


Democrats and sensible Republicans who shared a vision of better days in Idaho politics may have breathed a sigh of relief prematurely when Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth quit her seat.

She’s baaaaaaaaaaack, talking to Washington political consultants about returning to office.

According to the publication Rollcall, Chenoweth is interested in U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo’s seat if he resigns to accept a lifetime federal judgeship appointment by President Bush.

If Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne didn’t appoint her to the vacancy, then she’d run for the seat in the 2002 general election, so it’s reported.

Idaho’s delegation seems less oddball since the gravel-voiced, right-wing Chenoweth departed Washington along with her often wacky views.

Anyway, Chenoweth would be excess baggage in Washington today. With George W. Bush and his appointees now reigning, the arcane, extreme positions Helen Chenoweth advocated are handled quite nicely.


One can’t help but admire this sort of economic ignorance.

Facing CNN’s live cameras amid tear gas fumes, one of the protesters in Quebec City battling police during the Summit of the Americas shouted, "I’m against capitalism!"

He said it with a straight face — while wearing designer sun glasses (a product of capitalism) and designer sweater and coat (capitalist products, too), venting his views on CNN (capitalism personified), after presumably driving to Canada or flying on a jet (more capitalism) with a credit card or cash provided from his capitalistic job (if he had one) or from his parents (beneficiaries of capitalism).

In this young man’s mind, a socialist worker’s paradise would be a better provider than the system that now provides his luxuries and spare time to be a demonstrator.



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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.