- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 13, 2000

Militant movies

"This year's Oscars featured contests between 'American Beauty' a stylish semicomic drama about pedophilia, homosexuality, and the emptiness of the life most Americans consider to be normal and 'The Cider House Rules,' a bit of pro-abortion agitprop… .
"This year's Oscars suggest that Hollywood is getting more aggressive and militant in its willingness to push the liberal agenda in the culture wars. At a time when cultural conservatives seem demoralized, self-questioning, and thinking about giving up, the cultural liberals are newly confident and in-your-face, circling their weakened enemy and poised for the kill… .
"The marketing for ['The Cider House Rules'] concentrated on its being the tender coming-of-age saga, saying little or nothing about the pro-abortion theme… . But the Oscars showed the movie's true agenda: Take abortion and wrap it in a 'tender' and 'compassionate' package, thereby making it seem like something that is morally good… .
"[The message of 'American Beauty'] become real by violating 'society's rules' … has ingrained itself into the assumptions of thousands of young people. In the fake, controlled world posited by postmodernism, the only way to break out is to express yourself by acts of pure freedom, in defiance of all norms."
Gene Edward Veith, writing on "Salvation by transgression," in the April 15 issue of World

Genteel atmospherics

"While shopping malls are still the workhorses of retailing, they are kind of boring… . A suburban shopper doesn't want to be seen as just another mass consumer parking in one of the countless spots at the local megaplaza and then going in and buying one of the identical pairs of casual Friday khaki slacks. They prefer to go to smaller, more focused niche stores… .
"The result is that even big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Target are trying to divide themselves into little boutiquey areas. And inner-ring suburbs, the hot caldrons of this trend, are rebuilding themselves to look like little urban streetscapes, with wider sidewalks, small stores and small restaurants …
"Walking around Bethesda and similar suburbs, you can't miss all the genteel atmospherics that now surround the process of buying and selling… . The Spring Mill Bread Company in Bethesda isn't just selling you good bread at a good price. It's selling you good bread at nearly five bucks a loaf, but at least you know the wheat comes from a 'no-tillage' family farm in Montana. I don't even know what 'no tillage' means maybe they just ask the soil to turn itself over but it makes me feel good."
David Brooks, writing on "Exiles on Main Street," in Sunday's New York Times Magazine

'Moral urgency''Moral urgency''Moral urgency'

" 'Seattle East,' 'A16,' 'Mobilization for Global Justice' by whatever name you call it, a coalition of Teamsters and turtles, students and scholars, church, human rights, consumer and environmental activists is about to descend on Washington and call the global economy to account… . On April 16, there will be a rally and direct action against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
"Already, A16 has generated consternation in high places… . Hysterical corporate apologists have been fulminating against know-nothings and protectionism.
"But the cacophony won't drown out the message. Even in the midst of the longest U.S. economic expansion on record, the global economy faces a growing crisis of legitimacy. The movement against it has many voices, but it is united by a sense of moral urgency. This is the new internationalism that has captured the imagination of the most politically committed young people, just as civil rights and Vietnam did for their parents' generation… .
"And this is just the beginning. Spring is in the air and a new movement is blossoming."
from "Seattle Sequel in DC," an editorial in the April 24 issue of the Nation

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