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Sample Foreign View of our silly preoccupation with sex and Monica

From USA Today Editorial Page

U.S. peeks at petty sex, as world problems burn

As a 23-year-old student of philosophy and English at Heidelberg University who is interested in American culture and politics, I wonder why the last superpower on the planet deals with such petty affairs as President Clinton's sex life. Your country has the power, maybe the responsibility, to deal with the more important affairs of world politics: war, ecological catastrophes, rising poverty and a worldwide financial crisis. Instead you investigate every single detail of Clinton and Monica Lewinsky's sexual activities.

Posting the independent counsel's report on the Internet was disrespectful, unnecessary and aimed at damaging Clinton. Broadcasting his testimony proved to many Germans that political and social life in the U.S. has dropped to a Baywatch level. The most powerful nation sat in front of TVs watching the president humiliate himself, forced into petty word games and silly definitions of sex. I wonder if it is worth it.

Andreas Volk, Kraichtal, Germany

Attitudes toward sex differ

As a European who lived in the United States for nearly five years, I'm still puzzled by the American attitude toward sexuality.

There's no doubt President Clinton made some wrong decisions. Clinton's Opponents say it is the lying about his sex life they find inexcusable. This makes me wonder whether any American has a real choice but to lie about his or her sex life.

Nudity seems taboo in American society. Parents hide their nakedness from their children. TV viewers are warned when programs contain nudity, as if it were a dangerous virus. In most European countries we don't equate nudity with sex. We don't freak out at sex. We see it as a healthy, normal part of the human experience. I hope Americans change their dysfunctional approach toward sexuality. Maybe then presidents won't feel they need to protect themselves and others. Lasse Nielsen, Amsterdam, Netherlands