cover of the video case. About deadrncenter, buried amongst the pointedrnspires and turrets, you’ll see somethingrnthat doesn’t look like part of a castle atrnall. That’s because what you’ll see is arnphallic symbol.rnDisney’s back, all right, but parents ofrnthe 90’s like me are getting a little morernfor our money than parents like minerngot for theirs.rn—R. Cort KirkwoodrnArlington, VArnMary and Leon PodlesrnReply:rnWe disagree with Mr. Kirkwood’s analysis.rnWe find that the logic of the Disneyrnstory remains true to the original folktalernof heterosexual love, in which the youngrnwoman overcomes her revulsion for thernrough side of the male personality (let’srnface it, the Beast is a beast) and learns tornlove him anyway, and in turn her loverntransforms and civilizes the Beast intornthe Prince, the mature and loving masculinernman.rnGaston represents the man who is notrntransformed by woman’s gentler nature:rnnot every man is, to the detriment of society.rnHe may tout the traditional valuesrnof home and family; he’s still a jerk. Thisrnis not to say that everyone who has arntraditional family is also a jerk. Afterrnall, he is only a cartoon character. Therngids who swoon over him are caricaturesrntoo: some women are silly, and some sillyrnwomen are blonde.rnWe would also argue that the Beastturned-rnPrince didn’t look all that wimpyrnto us. His kind of tenderness, in the 40rnseconds or so that we saw him transformed,rnseemed proper to the man inrnlove. As for his androgyny, we can onlyrnsay that to us he mostly just lookedrnyoung. But then we are of a certain age.rnYouthful beauty is to some extent androgynous;rnit is, we suspect, nature’s wayrnof making the parties to heterosexual attractionsrndifferent enough to be intriguing,rnbut not so different as to be frightening.rnAs for the orientation, morality, andrnagenda of the Disney artists, we do notrndeny that traces of homosexual rhetoricrncan be detected by the wary. Yes, we recognizedrnwhat they were getting at whenrnGaston says, “Must our children be sacrificedrnto appease his unnatural appetites?”rnWe know who is accused ofrnusing such language, and by whom.rnBut whatever their practices andrnpersonal agenda may be, they have respectedrnthe integrity of the story andrnconveyed it in their version. Should wernnot judge the work of art as it exists, regardlessrnof what we may think of thernartists? This was our point in the mainrnbody of the article: that stereotypes, inrnthis case folktale types of courting heterosexualrnlovers, convey truths. The p.c.rninsist that all stereotypes, complimentaryrnor not, must go. We might, if we werernmore prompt and diligent writers, havernused Aladdin as our example. It containsrnthe rankest of stereotypes of Arabs, yetrnthe story is delightful. Perhaps some ofrnthe artists involved were Jewish, andrnsome of them even Zionists. Does thisrnmean that they intended Aladdin asrnanti-Palestinian propaganda? We thinkrnnot. It’s just a fairy tale. If Beauty andrnthe Beast were to be used as anti-heterosexualrnpropaganda, we would rightly regardrnthe users with suspicion, but notrnthe artists who made it, and certainlyrnnot the work of art.rnOn ‘Beauty and Art’rnYour March issue (“Art in the 90’s: Visionsrnand Values”) was balm to a batteredrnspirit. My sculptor husband (deceased)rnwas punished professionally forrnhis stubborn adherence to the belief thatrnthe best art serves truth and beauty. Myrnown sculpture and, regrettably, that ofrnour son is ignored with a vengeance. Irnam forwarding the March issue to hisrnNew York studio.rnFor those who anticipate the ascendancyrnof truth and beauty as manifestationrnof a higher power, the present staternof the visual arts is discouraging. Biasedrnart history is disruptive, but bold lies,rnrepeated for gain, corrupt the presentrnand endanger the future. Millions ofrnbuzzing words whirling around putridrncorpses do eventually die from exposure.rnBut living artists, eager to become sacrificialrnpawns for commerce, seem unawarernof the deadly cost to themselvesrnand their culture. Today, in full publicrnview, ugly corruption is hawked and glorifiedrnto the confusion of all. Who benefitsrnwhen scorn and ridicule are heapedrnon artists who value life and want tornshare a positive vision? The noblest aspirationsrnwither in an unremittingrndesert.rnThere is comfort in the thought thatrnreverent or joyous art, wrought in thernpast, has never lost its power. As surelyrnas a good life serves holistic purpose, sorna deeply felt and disciplined art is substancernable to inspire, mystify, reinforce,rnand redeem human hearts. I recall thatrnevery quest and every pilgrimage had itsrnorigin in a solitary reverent heart. I prayrndaily for strength to persist.rn—Beverly FrazierrnDel Mar, CArnLIBERAL ARTSrnSEX EDrnNorthern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, sponsored a “Great Condom RatingrnContest” last spring. The promotion, which the university health service organizedrnas part of an effort to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases,rnmade available to students 5,000 plastic baggies stuffed with seven brands of condoms.rnThe baggies included a wallet-size instruction sheet and a survey asking participantsrnto rate the se’en brands as to their durability and sensualit}. Health servicerncoordinators Steve Lux and Michael P. Haines argued that humor helpsrnbreak through the anxiety surrounding the subject of sex, although they emphasizedrnthat the contest was one of several serious programs the university has institutedrnin response to statistics indicating that 75 percent of Northern’s students arernsexuallv active.rnAUGUST 1993/5rnrnrn