applicant, hoping she would begin.rn”Does that mean you’re a Republican?”rnasked a female professor. (1rnchecked the scene on mv mind’s VCR:rnshe, head cocked to the side, staringrnsmugly, awaiting my answer—1, leaningrnforward, inches from her face, suddenKrnscreaming, “NO, LADY, IT MEANSrnrMAFySClST!” Click! 1 hit the fastforwardrnbutton just in time.) “Yes itrndocs.” I said, laughing amiablv.rnScanning the room, 1 noticed no onernelse was laughing. Just a few polite, nervousrnsmiles. “Am I the onlv Rc]3ublicaurnin this room? ” Silence. Then an olderrnprofessor came to my rescue, “On, no,rnno—we have Republicans here, and Irnthink ou’ll . . . ” “Are vou Republican,rnJack?” someone shouted at m- rescuer.rn”No, no, no!!!” said Professor Jack withrnthe alacritv of one wronglv caught in thernguillotine. No further rescue was attempted.rnI started to about membershiprnrequirements for the local countryrnclub, but no one seemed to know.rnRetreating north, I ended up attendingrna small school in Pennsylvania. Therntown had a statue of Jimmv Stewart inrnthe courthouse square, so I figured thernplace couldn’t be all bad. Een still, Irntried to keep a low profile. When fellowrnstudents asked about mv prior experience,rnI blandly replied that 1 “hadrnworked in Washington for the government.”rnA nice phrase that had a way ofrnmaking e es glaze over with visions of merntoiling over form 1047-C in some windowless,rnfluorescent-lit bureaucraticrnbunker. People rarch inquired further.rnOn the first dav of class, I learned thatrna number of people in the program practicedrnBuddhist meditation and wouldrnwelcome anv newcomers to theirrnWednesday night meetings. On the secondrndav, I learned that wc would bernmaking a weekend retreat for a hvpnosisrnseminar. And bv the end of the week, Irnalmost got into a fight over abortion withrnm’ new best friend, a liberal Jewish classmaternfrom Long Island. Being a eonser-rnative ps-cholog student was going tornbe no da- at the Coors Brewcrv.rnIn the days ahead, I glumly wanderedrndown departmental hallwavs, noting thernfaculty office doors decorated with thernusual Doonesbury cartoons, anti-Bushrnbumper stickers, and announcements forrnWomn Rjcultv Empowerment meetings.rnOnce, my heart skipped a beatrnwhen I spotted a “Support the NRA”rnsign on one door. It turned out to bernthe door to tlic janitor’s room. Fine. Hernand I became buddies. I le would tell merndeer-huntnig stories, and 1 didn’t callrnhim names.rnBeing a practicing Catholic didn’trnhelp either. E,’cr since Freud. Catholicism,rnwith its in-()ur-face moral absolutes,rnhas been high on the list of ps-rnchot]ierap’s demons—right up therernwith cold, domineering mothers. Tlicrnfield is full of “recovering Catholics “rnsaved from tlie danmation of eternalrnCatholic guilt bv a baptism of the couch.rnNot vet sav V to this fact, I innoeent-rnIv noted that I’d be a little late for arndepartmental function liecausc I hadrnto go to Mass first. “I didn’t know vonrnwere a bead sc|uce/,er,” a classmaternremarked, “I used to be one, too.”rnHmmm, bead sc|uec/,cr—hadn’t licardrnthat one. Mackerel snapj^er, es, butrnbead squeezer was a new one.rnAgain, I tried to fit in. In a clinicalrnpsveh program. evcrvbocK stares a lot.rnLong, soul-searching stares, like in thernmovies. Stares that let vou know I’ve beenrnthere. Or I am there. Or at least./’///;t’rnthere. And I did mv best to return thosernoh-so-svm|)athetic lingering stares,rnglistening in cmpathie recognition, w ithrnmv own gee-winz stares of gratefulrnaeknowlcdgmcnt—this whether therntopic be the breakup v ith mv girlfriendrnor the breakdown of iiiv car.rnI tried. Mv colleagues tried. But I ,ordrnknows it was tougli for tlieni to get |)aslrnthe bead-squeezing, woman-o|)|5ressing.rnright-winging, Neanderthal facade andrnsec the real inc. Just like those luternHouse clods. onK different. 1 su])|)ose 1rnshould be grateful that the program letrnme stav in. Ihev did their best to sliapcrnmc into a bona fide thera|5ist. And 1rncan spot a dvsfunetional sibling triangulationrnwith the best of thein.rnYet somehow 1 never did fit in Andrntodav? Well, the life of a sensitive conservativernis neer easv. Sure oii couldrnend up being the object of some |5iettrnyoung liberal thing’s missionarv infatuationrn(“such a nice guv—he just needs arnlittle straightening out”). On the otherrnhand, vou could wind up making endsrnmeet as a psvchothcrapist in a nonprofitrncounseling agcncv in the Bronx. Likernmc. So let that ])e a lesson to ou empatheticrnYoung Republicans. Cud) thosernmoments of sentiment. In the wordsrnof i’.T. I’oz, “1 he Tin Man should havernleft well enough alone.”rnPaul Foster writes from the Bronx.rnNew York.rnFILMrnWhat Victims?rnb Philip JenkinsrnNatural Born KillersrnProdueed br jaiie Ihimsher. DonrnMurphy, and Chniou TownsendrnDveeted Iw ()/ncT StonernStory by Ouentin larantinornSereenplay Av David Veloz. Riehardrnl(utowsl<:i. and Oliver StonernReleased by Warner BrothersrnThe rek’.ise ot Oliver Slone’s newrnfilm tilural Born Kdlers was heraldedrnbv the sort of publieitv barragernthat arouses Hie ske]itieisin of even thernniosl iiueritieal tilnigoei Mow can anvrnfilm, si ill less OIK’ dealing with so exploitedrnand exploit,itivo a theme as serialrnmurder, iiiei it so much apparent h-rnpcrbole ‘ hi illiant, ” “revolutionai v,”rn”flabbergast iii^, ” ‘”daz/liiig, ” and so on^rn’lo ni siiipiise, I eoiild not ehallcngernanv of tluse rl.iiiiis and would go stillrnfurthei p,iri from its aesthetic c|ualities,rniitnriil V’oni Killers is a |)overfulrnmoral doeuiiu iit. among the most importantrn,meiieaii films released in 20rnvears. It also challenges our criticalrnvocabularv, forcing tlie use of terms thatrnwould never normalh occur in the contextrnof a poi^ular film: words like radical,rnoverwhelming, and (c|nite uiR|iK”stionablv)rnsubversive. Comparisons to Juvenalrnare not absurd.rnThe two alural Born Killers of therntitle arc luL and lallf>r, jilavedrnrespeclivcK l) Woodx I larrelson andrnJuliette L(-\is, Both characters are tliernviolent products of bnitalK abusivernNOVFMBER 1994/47rnrnrn