health care reform. And I think hernwould also have approved of Dr. Elders’rnobsession with condoms. Latex is arnsolution to lust as much as Band-Aidsrnare to Kaposi’s sarcoma, or as “war” wasrnto “poverty.” Variously perverted constituenciesrnof the Clintons wouldn’t havernit any other way.rnMeanwhile, a voire sante. Got a light?rn—/.O. TaternCIGARETTE SMOKING is bad forrnyour health. But so are automobiles,rncandy bars, fast food, martinis, television,rnand even sunshine. Since the daysrnof James V and I, we have heard aboutrnthe dangers of tobacco. So whv all thernfuss surrounding the cigarette industryrnthis spring?rnEven more absurd than RepresentativernHenry A. Waxman’s House Subcommitteernon Health and the Environment,rnwhich felt the need to holdrnhearings to determine whether nicotinernshould be regulated by the Food andrnDrug Administration as an addictiverndrug, was National Public Radio, whichrnfueled the hysteria with an interminablernstring of special reports on both the industryrnand the campaign against it.rnWhile Representative Waxman was boldrnin asserting that tobacco companies havernaltered nicotine levels in cigarettes tornhook smokers, NPR was downright belligerentrnin reporting that 13 of the additivesrnto cigarettes have not receivedrnfederal approval and are therefore hazardous.rnThis last allegation, which promptedrnthe six largest tobacco companies to releasernpublicly a list of 599 ingredientsrnfound in various combinations in theirrnbrands of cigarettes, triggered one of thernworst battles in the antismoking war sornfar. Having already denounced the evilsrnof tar and nicotine, critics of the industrvrncould now talk about the potential dangersrnof inhaling additives like methyl salicylatern(which causes birth defects inrnhamsters), caramel color (which producesrncatechol, a co-carcinogen, whenrnheated), and licorice root (a flavorantrnand moistener containing glycyrrhizicrnacid, which produces carcinogens whenrnburned). An advertisement run in majorrnnewspapers by Philip Morris on the dayrnbefore the subcommittee hearings assuredrnconsumers that all of the additivesrnon the list are common foods or havernbeen approved by federal agencies, butrnskeptics (rightly) argued that this doesrnnot necessarily make them safe. Angelicarnroot extract was on the list, for example,rnand has been approved by the FDArnfor use in chewing gum, baked goods,rnand beverages, but it has also causedrncancer in laboratory animals.rnAs a result of the publication of thernlist (to which the Department of Healthrnand Human Services has had accessrnsince 1984), both the government andrnthe media have professed indignation atrncigarette companies for misleading andrnmanipulating the American consumer.rnYet the above example demonstratesrnthat in blackballing this one industryrnthey have missed the real scandal: potentiallyrndangerous additives like angelicarnroot are common in processed foodrnproducts, which are ingested even byrnnonsmokers on a daily basis. Moreover,rnfew people in positions of power havernvoiced concern over chemieallv-alteredrningredients in food. While all branchesrnof the federal government have becomerninvolved in the battle with the tobaccornindustry, there were no congressionalrnhearings or Surgeon General reportsrnwhen court cases around the country revealedrnthe “clandestine production andrnsale of adulterated fruit juice” to be arn”widespread and highly profitable practicern. . . that is costing American consumersrnan estimated $1.2 billion a yearrnand exposing them to undisclosed andrnunapproved chemicals” (as the New YorkrnTimes reported last October). And thernartificial sweetener aspartame, whichrnsome scientists believe was released ontornthe American market without adequaterntesting, continues to receive governmentrnapproval, despite the fact that it accountsrnfor 80 percent of all complaints to thernFDA’s Adverse Reaction MonitoringrnSystem.rnIn short. Representative Waxman isrnhypocritical in cracking down on tobaccorncompanies for practices that therngovernment overlooks—or even approvesrn—in manufacturers of other consumablernproducts. When the chairmanrnof the House’s health subcommittee arguesrnthat these companies should bernheld to the “same strict standards” asrnmakers of aspirin and soda, he is ignoringrnthe fact that Tylenol and Goea-Cola arernno less guilty of manipulating consumersrnin their own way than Philip Morris andrnR.J. Reynolds. Americans are addictedrnto junk—to salt, sugar, caffeine, texturizers,rnmoisteners, and flavorants—andrnjunk is what most of their manufacturersrnhappily provide to them.rnWaxman accuses tobacco companyrnexecutives of “lacking corporate responsibility,”rnbut the publication by these executivesrnof a list of ingredients that arernFDA-approved raises questions aboutrnthe corporate responsibility of the federalrnagency whose dut’ it is to protect thernhealth of consumers. One other recentrnnews item shows that the FDA is notrnabove the manipulation of consumers itrnso loudlv condemns in other organizations.rnAccording to the New York Timesrnon April 18, the FDA may have collaboratedrnwith the manufacturer of a geneticallyrnengineered bovine growth hormonernin clearing the drug for sale.rnThree congressmen have asked the GeneralrnAccounting Office to investigaternthree top-level FDA officials who werernpaid by Monsanto, the manufacturer ofrnthe new drug, for legal work or scientificrnstudies before joining the government;rnall three subsequently helped to developrnthe FDA’s formal opinion that the drugrnis safe, that it should be approved, andrnthat labeling dairy products from herdsrnthat have been treated with it is unnecessary.rnGigarette-smoking is a vice engagedrnin willfully by teenagers andrnadults: milk, however, is a supposedlyrnnutritious substance given by parentsrnto small children. If the federal governmentrnwants to get serious about protectingrnconsumers from corporate irresponsibility,rnit can start by defending youngrnAmericans from threats of its own creation.rn—Christine HaynesrnACADEMIC CHARLATANISMrnthese days includes not only defenses ofrnplagiarism and violent campaigns of intimidationrnagainst proscribed opinion.rnThese symptoms of the bankruptcy ofrnhumanistic learning worry some and findrncelebration among others. But who onrneither side of the fault line in the academicrnhumanities can find grounds torndefend giving degrees in subjects onrnwhich no member of a faculty has professionalrnqualifications or expertise ofrnany kind? And who can exculpate approvingrndoctoral dissertations on literaturernthe original language of which therndoctorate’s signatories read with difficulty,rnif at all? You would think accreditingrnagencies would ask some toughrnquestions. But, busy with their search forrnsufficient stigmata of cultural diversityrnon the campus, they lose sight of thernmore fundamental question of merernchadatanism.rn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn