- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 23, 1999

Home-movie weirdness

"One of the most fascinating bits of 'The Blair Witch Project' mythology has nothing to do with the movie's supernatural plot; it's deciphering whether the biggest [independent movie] success story to date is indeed the work of inspired wunderkinds, or a stroke of marketing genius hewn from the haphazard footage of unskilled directors. Critics say 'the film was a fluke, that it did the business it did because of the Web site,' says Eduardo Sanchez, 31, who directed the pseudo-documentary with Dan Myrick, 36… .
"Granted, most of 'Blair Witch' is improvised, but Sanchez and Myrick weren't just stumbling through the Maryland woods that week in October 1997… . And breaking the decade-old fright-fest formula shiny knives piercing the blood-smeared flesh of helpless babes shouldn't be underrated either. Sanchez and Myrick intuited moviegoers' ennui with both gore and the special effects kicked off by 'Star Wars' and ran screaming in the opposite direction. They also knew their target audience raised on the handheld camera stylings of 'Cops' and Leonard Nimoy's 'In Search Of' tales would dig their film's home-movie weirdness."
Noah Robischon, writing in the Dec. 24 issue of Entertainment Weekly

It's about sex

"In Planned Parenthood v. Casey (the 1992 case that reaffirmed Roe [vs. Wade]), three Republican appointees [to the Supreme Court] said that, but for the abortion license established in Roe, 'the state might as readily restrict a woman's right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term as to terminate it, to further asserted state interests in population control, or eugenics, for example.'
"Now do you get it? The liberty to abort is indistinguishable from the liberty to have children. And both are indistinguishable from, we are to suppose, involuntary impregnation.
"But no one really thinks this way not Supreme Court justices, not even most law professors… .
"The justices … have shackled together decisions not just about pregnancy, but sexual liberation more generally. The revolution in constitutional law is a lot like the Clinton scandal: Fundamentally, it's about sex… .
"As the sacredness of various sexual choices increased, the sacredness of religion decreased… .
"The sacralization of sexual freedom marks a Copernican turn in our jurisprudence."
Gerard V. Bradley, writing on "The Fantasy Life of Justices," in the Dec. 31 issue of National Review

Still gung-ho

"For decades, [Arizona Sen. John ] McCain has brandished his years as a wounded, roped and beaten American prisoner of war in North Vietnam to build his reputation… .
"McCain's gung-ho attitude toward the Vietnam conflict has its roots in the months he spent in Vietnam's skies. In [his recent memoir] 'Faith of My Fathers' he described how, looking down at Soviet ships unloading arms in Vietnamese ports and at the construction of surface-to-air missile sites, he chafed at the 'frustratingly limited bombing targets' that restricted air raids to military installations, roads, bridges and power plants, calling such constraints 'senseless' and 'illogical.' 'We thought our civilian commanders were complete idiots,' he wrote.
"McCain expanded on this theme in a [1998] speech… . 'Like a lot of Vietnam veterans, I believed and still believe that the war was winnable,' he said… . 'I do believe that had we taken the war to the North and made full, consistent use of airpower in the North, we ultimately would have prevailed.' "
Robert Dreyfuss, writing on "McCain's Vietnam," in the Jan. 3 issue of the Nation

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