SOCIETYrnAmerica’s CraziestrnBillionairernby Luke BoggsrnUnless you are just back from a longrnstay aboard Russia’s rapidly disintegratingrnMir space station, you have probablyrnheard about Ted Turner’s plans torngive a billion dollars to the United Nationsrn—as if the world needed absoluternproof that Atlanta’s Captain Outrageousrnis more than a few cards short of a fullrndeck.rnOver the past quarter-century, Turnerrnhas built a lowly UHF television stationrninto a global media colossus. Over thernsame period, he has built a similarlyrncolossal reputation as America’s mostrnoutspoken and, yes, craziest billionaire.rnIn the 1970’s, the captain was amusing-rncrazy. As a sailor, he won the America’srnCup. 7s owner of the Braves, he putrnpeople in the seats with outrageousrnstunts, like the time he pushed a ballrnalong the basepath with his nose. Turnerrnonce greeted a high-profile free agentrnwith a new number, 17, and a new lastrnname, Channel. (The free advertisingrnfor Channel 17 did not last long.)rnIn the 80’s, Turner was still nuts, butrnwith a harder, meaner edge. When hernwas not launching CNN or dreaming uprnthe Goodwill Games, he busied himselfrndismissing Christianit)’ as a religion “forrnlosers” and blaming the frosty relationsrnbetween Castro’s Cuba and the UnitedrnStates on his own government ratherrnthan his dictator buddy’s lawlessness andrnbrutality.rnIn 1987,1 saw Turner give a ramblingrnoration —clearly unscripted and unrehearsedrn—to a group at Georgia Tech.rnJust back from Cuba, he asked why thernadminisfration was giving Castro such arnhard time. Reagan and his crowd, saidrnthe captain, were out of touch and toornold to change. The time had come, hernsaid, for fresh leadership and new ways ofrnthinking—a curious prescription givenrnCastro’s decades in power.rnIn the 90’s, Turner has been busy,rnmarrying Jane Fonda, going toe-to-toernwith Rupert Murdoch, being namedrnTime’s “Man of the Year,” and selling hisrnmedia empire to Time-Warner. Alongrnthe way, he has said a lot of outrageousrnthings. For example, ready to do his bitrnfor the planet, Turner announced inrn1995 that he did not always flush.rn”Sometimes,” he explained, “I just gornout on the front porch and take a whiz onrnthe grass.” After the Heaven’s Gate suicides.rnTurner found a silver lining:rn”There are already too many people inrnthis world. If a few crazy people want tornget rid of themselves, it’s a good thing.”rn(Two decades ago, Turner was less concernedrnabout population growth. In arn1978 Playboy interview, he said sexualrnfrustration was a major force behindrncrime and violence: “Lots of sex for everybody,rnthat’s a solution to the world’srnproblems.”)rnOnly once in recent years has anyonernseriously challenged Turner for the titlern”America’s Craziest Billionaire.” Thatrnchallenge, of course, came in 1992,rnwhen a little Texan with a big wallet decidedrnto do all he could to run GeorgernBush out of office. (Remember whenrnPerot said a “Republican dirty trickrnbrigade” was plotting to spoil his daughter’srnwedding?)rnWith his latest move, however. Turnerrnhas seen Perot’s craziness and raisedrnhim a thousand million. In the BillionairernBoys Club Race to the Edge of Sanity,rnTurner has left Perot eating his dust.rnIn the army of crazed gazillionaires, Perotrnmust now play buck private to Turner’srnfive-star general.rnTurner’s U.N. gift rockets him highrnabove the merely eccentric craziness ofrnPerot into an orbit occupied by billionairesrnwho have gone nuts with thatrnwhich defines them—their money. Forrnall his paranoid delusions, Perot has yetrnto go crazy with his own cash. Sure, hernthrew away a few million on his campaigns,rnbut that’s nothing. Turner isrnthrowing away a thousand million.rnWhich brings us to a real conundrum.rnWhich comes first, the money or therncraziness? Is it the nuttiness of peoplernlike Turner and Perot that helps makernthem wildly successful, or does thernsound of all those billions piling up justrnscramble their brains one day? We willrnprobably never know.rnYet, there are people —think BillrnGates and Warren Buffett—at the otherrnend of the Billionaire Sanity Continuum.rnI cannot help wondering if there isrnnot some secret, some bit of wisdom theyrnmight offer that could help Turner andrnPerot find their way back from the brink.rnCould Turner have possibly selectedrnan organization less likely than the U.N.rnto give him his money’s worth? I supposernhe could have gone one step furtherrnand sent his billion to the spendthrifts inrnWashington. For all its lofty intenfions,rnthe U.N. is not much better. It is a ponderouslyrninefficient, stiibbornly ineffectualrnorganization, dedicated to a purposernthat it cannot hope to achieve.rnWhy not a billion dollars for medicalrnresearch, to fight cancer, heart disease, orrnAIDS? Why not Harvard scholarshipsrnfor 10,000 of the ghetto’s best and brightest?rnWhy not houses for 20,000 homelessrnfamilies? Why not a nice decaf latternfor every man, woman, and child in therncountry?rnAs we consider this grand gesture,rndoomed as it is to failure, remember thatrnTed Turner is first and foremost not arnphilanthropist but an entertainer. And itrnis as an entertainer that he shines brightest.rnSo enjoy the laughs. That is all anyonernis likely to get.rnLuke Boggs writes from Alpharetta,rnGeorgia.rnHow WilliamrnWeld MainstreamedrnDeviancernby Peter LaBarberarnBack when William Weld was stillrngovernor of Massachusetts—an officernhe quit to concentrate on his futilernfight with Jesse Helms—his homosexualrnallies in the state were fond of callingrnhim the nation’s “most pro-gay governor.”rnIt’s easy to see why. Like Nixon goingrnto China, Weld blazed a new pathrnfor the Grand Old Party, infuriating socialrnconservatives with his zealous advocacyrnof homosexual—even gay youth —rn”rights.” His legacy raises stark questionsrnabout where “moderate” Republicansrnhope to take the nation.rnTo understand how far Weld pushedrnthe pro-gay envelope in Massachusetts,rnone need look no farther than thernschools. Under his stewardship, Massachusettsrnbecame ground zero in thernmovement to promote homosexual-affirmingrneducational policies, and thernstate’s “educrats” are now working withrngay groups to export them to other schoolrndistricts nationwide. In 1994, after Weldrn40/CHRONICLESrnrnrn