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The shift from the word on the page to the image on the screen has also blurred the distinctions between men and women as roles, dress, hairstyles, and even language undergo ongoing revisions that serve more to unite the sexes than to separate them. In sharp contrast to the styles that dominated print eras, Victorian dandies and Renaissance fops would never have been mistaken for members of the opposite sex. Unisex is a concept that began with television.

The ascendancy of iconic information over written words seems to encourage lifestyles less encumbered by the stiff uniforms of print people. The starched shirt collar with a tie hanging down between its two pointed tabs-an abstract representation of male genitalia-has long been a symbol of patriarchal dominance. It has given way to shirts with no starch and no collar, and no ties. The tribal mode is suddenly in style. Western young people pierce themselves with metal studs and wear rings in their noses, lips, eyebrows, navels, and nether places. Most of the metal is worn on or around the face. This tellurian attention to a feature recognized by the right hemisphere points to the right's rising importance. Similarly, tattooing was once reserved chiefly for those members of the culture distinguished by their lack of interest in the alphabet. Now, among the television generation, it is increasingly acceptable to adorn one's body with-images. Young white people sport hairdos that more resemble those of the tribes of American Indians than those of the Protestants of Europe. For hundreds of years in America, African Americans tried in vain to emulate the looks of Caucasians. Since the advent of television, Caucasians increasingly try to emulate African Americans by imitating their slang, styles of dress, and musical forms, because they have intuited that African Americans are closer to their tribal ancestry and therefore are better guides to this preliterate wisdom than are any of the European American print people.

The environment, human rights, education, health care, child care, and welfare are all concerns of the gatherer/nurturer. Governments, long ruled by hunter/killers, are becoming increasingly responsive to these issues. The current backlash to this trend makes it easy to forget that neither the Greek city-states, the Roman Empire, nor European nations during the Enlightenment had a coherent plan to deal with poverty, health, or universal education. Childhood itself was an all but ignored stage of development.

The contemporary age has seen a sharp rise in violence against women. This is a reaction by men who are threatened by their correct perception that they are rapidly losing power. Women and the men sympathetic to their cause should see that the rapists' and batterers' violent outbursts are the symptoms of a group reluctant to relinquish power willingly. Lost among the rape and domestic violence statistics is the trend among most men to interact with women in a more egalitarian manner than their fathers did and to be better fathers to their children than were their recent forebears. Many have expressed concern over the pervasiveness of sex in contemporary society. The rows of pornographic magazines in the corner convenience store seem to refute the idea that images advance women's equality. The flood of smut is, however, but another indication that the right hemisphere is rapidly achieving freedom from the left's priggishness. The repression of sexuality by the written word for the last three thousand years has created so great a longing for release that a marked reaction toward the other direction is to be expected. It will not last. The Hebrew, Orthodox Christian, Protestant, Islamic, and Communist reformations all frowned on sexuality. Our present culture, relishing in its release by the image, is overindulging in it. After a time, I predict, culture will adjust, and sexuality's place in culture will eventually reach a healthy equilibrium. It is very difficult to discern the pattern of the present, but one can dimly perceive that we are privileged (or damned) to live in the middle of a social revolution of unprecedented proportions. If the 1960s were the West's contemporary mini-Renaissance, then the 1990s are our mini-Reformation. The pendulum that had swung far toward liberating right hemispheric values is now swinging back toward those of the prim, grim left-as it shall swing again. But a lesson from history needs to be repeated: a small but determined minority can impose its will on a silent majority. Women saw the gains they had made in the late Roman Empire evaporate after the Orthodox Christian takeover in the fourth century. The same sequence of events occurred in the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation. A similar threat exists today. Television, fortunately, with all its faults, often exposes the flaws in the literalists' messages as no other medium can.
     
     
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