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Jewish World Review Dec. 7, 1999/ 28 Kislev, 5760

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle -- THE CHILDREN OF THE UNIVERSE finally inhaled too much caffeine from their Starbucks for they rioted in the streets of Seattle.

Dressed in Gap khakis and recycled Polartec, and fully studded from nose to toe, they were moved to civil disobedience because the World Trade Organization was meeting there and, well, trade is just darn bad. They were side-by-side with the Teamsters who also see trade as evil and so joined forces with the spawn of the age of Aquarius.

The brotherhood did draw the line at wearing Birkenstocks. No Teamster worth his featherbedding wage surrenders his Red Wing boots for funky sandals. And then Pat Buchanan, looking irritated as always, made a showing of solidarity with these Hatfields and McCoys of environmentalism.

When historians make a list of this century's oddest cause pairings, I vote for the time Karl Marx praised Jesse James and his long-barreled shotgun for advancing class warfare, the cola wars that somehow linked Pepsi, Coke, religion and Joan Crawford together and last week's protests in Seattle.

Seattle may win for the Gen X mountebanks protesting in the streets were actually protesting the president they adore. It was Chicago '68 with the added screwiness that they were upset about sea turtles, not war.

Seattle was the Molly Maguires under the influence of Morris Albert's Feelings. Feelings are motivators and justification; facts, compromise, and others' feelings be damned. Feelings permit superficial demands along political lines and analysis along nonsensical ones.

Last month, the New York Times offered parents insights into what attracts children to today's best-selling books.

M.I.T.'s Professor Henry Jenkins offered his feelings on children's fondness of Harry Potter, "I was in a gay book store in Detroit and found a huge display of Harry Potter books. It made sense, since Harry Potter is essentially the story of a closeted individual, . . . living with relatives who do not understand him and who are horrified by his special abilities. It would not be difficult for a gay teen to read this book as an allegory for the experience of homophobia at school."

Professor Jenkins should understand teens don't read, grade school children don't either, if national tests are correct, but Harry Potter is read to them.

Last week, a child at one of my son's bus stop had his notebook Velcroed around his head, and my son wets his toothbrush to feign cleaning his teeth. Children enjoying Harry Potter are light years away from hygiene and rational behavior, let alone homophobia. Martin Silverman, the president- elect of the Association for Child Psychoanalysts, addressed Stuart Little, "The fear of mice is an anxiety about our own murderousness, because mice symbolize our weaknesses. Millions of kids are physically and sexually abused every day, and they're helpless and weak." My children like Stuart because he has a souvenir canoe for a boat and his bed is a cigarette box with clothes pins bed posts.

But feelings dismiss reality. And so the Seattle granola brains protested like lemmings raised on the mantra of public schools: business, capitalism and corporations are bad and I'm feeling for sea turtles. One protestor, interviewed for CNBC said, "I'm just tired of the oppression of multinational corporations." Nice big words, wrong little preposition ," she means oppression by multi-national corporations. Clarity of cause is not a requirement when feelings are aroused.

World trade is a an inevitable result of the technology that connects us so easily. World markets will lift everyone. NAFTA has not produced the gian