Education: Oddly Enough

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The Independent Culture
You'll pick it up: Camden and Islington Health Authority is contributing pounds 60,000 towards workshops that include sessions showing gay men how to tie each other up and how to pick each other up in bars. Its contribution will be part of a total funding package of pounds 285,000 a year from 12 other London health authorities to the project, run by the volunteer organisation, Gay Men Fighting Aids (GMFA). "We can't preach down to them," said a GMFA spokesman. "They'd never come to learn about HIV if we did not have this session. We do teach them how to pick up other men," he added, "but it's more a confidence-building exercise." According to a health authority spokeswoman, "It runs on a year-by-year basis, but we are not certain what will happen after 1999."

Skin school: A Swedish teacher who stripped naked in front of her class has won her legal battle for compensation for unfair dismissal. The teacher was sacked a year ago for shedding her clothes in front of a class of adult, unemployed women at Kristinehamn's adult education college. She told Karlstad court in central Sweden that she had decided to teach her class naked to help strengthen her pupils' self-confidence. The court ordered her former employer, Varmland County Council, to pay pounds 11,500 in damages.

Washington PC: President Clinton's adulterous ways may not make him the best role model for American college students, but evidently his illustrious predecessor George Washington is. In the hopes of instilling moral character, officials at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, say that they will hand out copies of Washington's "110 Rules of Civility" to all incoming freshmen. Although the 200-year-old tips were written long before the days of frat parties and date rape, President Washington's advice is still relevant. Rule No 90 recommends no scratching, spitting, coughing or nose- blowing at mealtimes. Rule No 51 should encourage freshmen to do laundry: "Wear not your clothes foul, ripped or dusty." Horny college students can take a useful tip from rule No 109: "Let your actions be manful, not sinful." And, finally, there is the very sensible Rule No 99 for the party- hearty freshman: "Drink not too leisurely, nor too hastily, and before and after drinking, wipe your lips."

Porn free: America's leading porn stars have been hailed as champions of human rights by the president of the country's largest civil liberties group. Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told porn stars at the World Pornography Conference, sponsored by California State University, that their work defended the fundamental right to freedom of speech. "I want to underscore how extremely essential your efforts are. I want to thank and applaud you for your fight and contribution for First Amendment freedom and to galvanise you to `keep it up', so to speak." Among topics discussed at the convention were "Spanking Stories: Straight Theories, Bent Practices" and "A Short History of Sex Toys".