male and female male, where the beautifulrnhas been deliberately uglified, wherernperversion is presented as normality,rnwhere there is no respect for anythingrnbut the disreputable, where the estimablernis no longer esteemed, wherernvalues are relative and not worth anythingrnin themselves in any case, whatrnmore logical next step than that life andrndeath become conflated and so lose theirrnmeaning?rnThe television taste terrorists who arernalways trampling at the outermost limitsrnof the tolerable will never stop until theyrncome up against some ultimate taboo,rnsome innermost steeliness against whichrnthey will shatter themselves into a millionrnopaque fragments. What wouldrnJohn Logic Baird have thought, if he hadrnforeseen in 1936 the brown-foamedrnflood of dross bearing down on Britain?rnIf he had known what was coming,rnwould he not have pulled the plug out,rnand smashed the first fitfully flickeringrnapparatus?rnDerrick Turner writes from London andrnis the editor of Right Now!rnLetter FromrnBostonrnby Eugene NarrettrnLatin QuotasrnThe fall of 1995 may be remembered asrnthe time when the miscast and overheatedrnmelting pot cracked and spat itsrnsinged ingredients all over us. O.J. Simpsonrnwas freed, Mark Fuhrman convicted,rnand Louis Farrakhan lectured us “onrnthe idea that undergirds the Westernrnworld, white supremacy.” But while O.J.rnwalked, Colin Powell posed, and Louisrnthe Charmer indicted white folks forrn”poisoning religion,” a less spectacularrnevent in Boston exposed the quotidianrnbias and official lies through which thernstate now enforces its power.rnLate in 1994, then 16-year-old JuliarnMcLaughlin took the admission tests forrnBoston Latin, the city’s most prestigiousrnhigh school. Julia did quite well, placingrnin the third quartile in her attempt tornwin one of the 432 spots in the school’srnclass of ’99. But, alas, Julia is white andrnhad to step aside while Boston Latinrnfilled its quota of 35 percent “minority”rn(black and Hispanic) students. Onernhundred and three of them who scoredrnlower than Julia were admitted while shernwas turned away.rnSuch events have been a familiar featurernof the last 20 years. Usually they disappearrnwithout a trace. But in this casernthere was a difference: Julia McLaughlin’srnfather, Michael, was an attorneyrnwith Lane, Altman & Owens. When hernfiled a discrimination suit against therncity, veins started to bulge in the elite’srnpublic face.rnFirst up to the plate was the mayor,rnTom Menino, who has blamed violencernin Roxbury, Boston’s blackest section,rnon racism. Menino is adroit at pitchingrnto the p.c. majorettes at the BostonrnGlobe, the nation’s most militant enforcerrnof quota-state pieties. True tornform, he tried to sweep the Boston Latinrncase under the carpet, offering to find anrnalternate place for Julia if McLaughlinrnpere would drop the suit. For reasonsrnwhich remain obscure, the compromisernbroke down, and everything was out inrnthe open.rnIt’s an especially messy case for the liberalrnestablishment because it confoundsrnthe usual categories of victims and villains.rnJulia is female, which puts her inrnthe right, but she’s white, which isrnwrong. Worse still, her father, a whiternman and thus doubly bad, was challengingrnthe quota plan that in 1976 had imposedrnbusing on Boston after severalrnvears of bitter racial struggle. That, ofrncourse, was very good in the liberal catechism,rneven though it led to the depopulationrnand decay of many neighborhoodsrnand the wrecking of most Bostonrnschools. (Indeed, four years ago a largerngroup of black parents petitioned the cityrnto end busing.)rnAs usual, a p.c. rationale was offeredrnby a Globe columnist who speculatedrnthat McLaughlin’s problem was biasrnagainst girls. It turns out that in order tornassist minority youths, Boston Latinrnweights math scores on admission tests arntad more than verbal, at which most girlsrndo marginally better. Therefore, said thernGlobe, we should not abolish but adjustrnthe quotas to favor girls. To the chagrinrnof feminists, this theory was shot downrnby the legal counsel for Boston’s publicrnschools, who admitted that “math scoresrnwould not have affected McLaughlin’srnchances. The focus for this case,” hernsaid, “is race-conscious assignment.” InrnEnglish, that means quotas.rnNot to be deterred, another Globernstalwart suggested choosing students viarna racially based “group lottery.” Mercifully,rnno details were offered to indicaternhow such a plan would both avoid andrnretain quotas. Perhaps group lotteriesrnwill become part of Mr. Clinton’s plan torn”mend, not end afflrmative action.”rnIn the meantime, U.S. First DistrictrnJudge Arthur Garrity, who handed downrnthe busing and quota plans 20 years agornand then actively administered thernschools until 1990, was appointed to hearrnMcLaughlin’s suit. He astonished allrnparties by declaring, incorrectly, that hisrnruling did not mandate a fixed numberrnof minority students, but only thatrnBoston’s schools “not be resegregated.”rnThat, of course, was precisely what happenedrnin the aftermath of his busingrncommand, which condemned the city tornthe nightmare of “controlled choice,” inrnwhich families and students, competentrnand otherwise, scramble for places in thernhandful of decent schools, all of themrnruled by Garrity’s 35 percent quota. Everyrnspring, Boston’s families play arnbizarre game of musical chairs as studentsrnturned away by quota limits dashrnfor the next best opening. Meanwhile,rnhaving demonstrated his moral superiority,rnGarrity relaxes in the leafy tranquillityrnof suburban Weston, the wealthiestrncommunity in the state.rnBut stammering in city hall and apologeticsrnin the press were only the initial reactionsrnto Michael McLaughlin’s effortrnto get justice for his daughter. A preliminaryrnhearing last September 10 turnedrninto a love feast between Garrity, liberalrnmedia, and activists who turned out tornhear him praise Michael Alves andrnCharies Willie, the “marvelous masters”rnwho had administered his quota plan.rnHe acknowledged that “students of allrnraces had suffered denial of preference”rnbut nevertheless asserted that “the consequencesrnof controlled choice havernbeen excellent.” Still more astonishingrnwas Garrity’s claim that “the School Departmentrnhas more power in these mattersrnthan a federal court.” “These remarks,”rna reporter deadpanned, “came asrna surprise to parents and School Committeernofficials who fought him for morernthan a decade.”rnBut for all his self-serving revisions ofrnhistory, Garrity didn’t entirely forget thern32/CHRONICLESrnrnrn