PERSPECTIVErnDiary of a Peripheral Malernby Thomas FlemingrnMidatlanticrnIt has been a long day for this straight European male. O’HarernAirport is a decompression chamber between Middle Americarnand the rest of the world: rude United clerks who act as if theyrnown the airline; the gauntlet of guards at the X-ray machines,rnnone of whom is able to speak English; and everywhere thernstench of the Disney world cuisine—pizza, hot dogs, and everyrnfew feet a McDonald’s, whose blend of grease, sugar, and MSGrnis the olfactory signature time of the New World Order.rnIf they still make movies for my particular minority, they arernnever shown on transatlantic flights. In the past few years, Irnhave been subjected to Whoopie Goldberg as a make-believernmale WASP on Wall Street, Robin Williams as the fag who putsrnthe straight Gene Hackman in his place, and coimtless otherrnpropaganda exercises designed to give European and AmericanrnChristians an inferiority complex.rnThe minority pecking order is clearest in commercials, fromrnwho gives advice to whom, who are the wise and who are thernschnooks: Kids, for example, are always smarter than grown-ups,rnwomen smarter than men, blacks smarter than whites. It is arncaste system diat mocks Christianity, demonizes the European,rnand lets us know that people like me are in the untouchablernclass. Frankly, I prefer it this way; I do not wish to be touchedrnby the people who make and watch commercials.rnThe dumb/evil white man stereotype is everywhere, not justrnin ads for laundry powders that make things whiter than white.rnToday’s “in-flight feature” stars Antonio Banderas as the newrnZorro, who avenges the death of his brother by killing the Americanrnblond devil. After two drinks and as much wine as the battle-rnhardened stewardesses are willing to bring me, I enjoy ThernMask of Zorro, which for all of its anti-Spanish/anh-Europeanrnmessage still celebrates the manly virtues of courage and honorrnand loyalty—even if the heroine handles a sword about as wellrnas the hero.rnAnthony Hopkins, as the old Zorro, is wonderfully miscast.rnHave they forgotten, in Hollywood, that the whole point ofrnputting Hopkins in movies is to portray the Englishman as anrnugly, sagging, incompetent? In between sword fights, I leafrnthrough an Italian newspaper. La Repubblica. The front pagernincludes an essay on politics by Salman Rushdie, who denouncesrnAristotle—”the Macedonian philosopher”—for hisrnviews on women, slavery, and “barbarians.” Why does he takernAristotle’s position on barbarians personally? My ancestors werernprobably just as barbaric as Mr. Rushdie’s, but I (like all civilizedrnmen) identify with the Greeks against the Persians.rnRushdie’s musings inspire a number of questions that keeprnme from sleeping. By what curious process did this renegadernMuslim, who hates his own tradition as much as he despisesrnours, become the spokesman for the West? What kind of arnnewspaper would let Rushdie get away with describing the entirelyrnGreek Aristotle as a “Macedonian”? If making money outrnof foreigners makes you one of them, then Mr. Rushdie wouldrnbe an Englishman. I think of Joyce Gary’s Mr. Johnson, sippingrntea and talking about the queen. What are copy editors for, ifrnnot to correct the ignorance and effrontery of hterary poseurs?rnWould looking up Aristofle in the Oxford Classical E)ictionaryrnconstitute a sort of thought-crime against the Third World’srncontempt for fact and logic? All that talk of non-contradiction,rnif s so left-brain.rnI used to be haunted by the usual Gold War nightmares of arnSoviet conquest of my beloved country. What would it be likernto be ruled by aliens who imposed thought control on your children,rnteaching them to despise their parents, hate their ancestors,rnand spurn their cultural birthright? In the Union of SovietrnSocialist Americas (which would include Canada and Mexico),rnGeorge Washington would be alternately worshipped as a predecessorrnof Lenin and denigrated as a slaveholder. Wliat foolsrnlO/CHRONICLESrnrnrn