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Issue of anti-gay bullying comes to the Smithsonian

December 6, 2010 |  9:30 am

Berenice Abbott Janet Flanner 1927 credit AP NPG With good reason, the nation has been focused for several months on horrific stories of anti-gay bullying in American schools. The torment of kids by other kids, sometimes leading to the tragedy of suicide, prompted Congress to hold a briefing on the subject last month. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), who introduced the Safe Schools Improvement Act, and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act, were among those who spoke.

How do kids learn to bully? Emulating their elders is one obvious way. And Washington, alas, is also one prominent platform where adults who should know better engage in the practice.

If you think anti-gay bullying is just about kids, consider events at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery last week. Read my Critic's Notebook on the subject here.

-- Christopher Knight

Photos, from top: "Janet Flanner," 1927, photograph by Berenice Abbott; "Painting No. 47, Berlin," 1914-15, oil on canvas by Marsden Hartley.  Credit: Associated Press/National Portrait Gallery

Marsden Hartley Painting No. 47, Berlin 1914-15 recit AP NPG Art museum directors issue stern Smithsonian rebuke

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