- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Collapse of authority

"How can you convince kids that you are interested in their well-being when from day one of the school year you feel bureaucratic pressure to speak to them in legalistic or quasi-therapeutic gobbledygook rather than a simple, moral language that they can understand? …

"The effect of collapse of adult authority on kids is practically to guarantee their mistrust and alienation. Schools in this country, particularly high schools, tend to become what sociologist James Coleman called an 'adolescent society,' dominated by concern with dating, sex, and consumerism. The loss of adult guidance makes it certain that adolescent society more powerful than ever, if we're to believe TV shows like 'Freaks and Geeks' and 'Popular' will continue its sovereignty. Quaking before the threat of lawsuits and without support from their superiors, educators hesitate to assert the most basic civic and moral values that might pose a challenge to the crude and status-crazed peer culture. When they do talk, it is in a language that doesn't make any sense to kids and cannot possibly compel their respect."

Kay Hymowitz, writing on "Who Killed School Discipline?" in the spring issue of City Journal

Culture warrior

"Johnny Hart's cartoon strips 'B.C.' and 'The Wizard of Id' … have delighted fans for 42 years and earned him a mantel full of awards… . They have also earned him the honor of being censored by major newspapers across the country for his witty Christian messages about Christmas, Easter and Halloween.

"[We] first interviewed Mr. Hart four years ago, shortly after the Los Angeles Times refused to use his Palm Sunday strip and the Atlanta Constitution dropped 'B.C.' altogether… . It was, he said, a symptom of the battle for America's soul, and he 'liked the idea that this has gotten Christians up in arms. That's what they all need.'

"Things haven't improved. Since then, the Chicago Sun-Times has also dropped 'B.C.' and five other major American dailies (including the Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post) want to be notified in advance if Mr. Hart includes any overtly Christian messages.

"Editors who suspend their 'liberalism' long enough to spike 'B.C.' argue that editors retain the right to remove potentially offensive material. But the double standard is getting worse every day, according to George Mason University law professor and First Amendment expert Daniel Polsby. He pointed out that the same people who love it when 'Doonesbury' creator Garry Trudeau promotes the secular religion of politics 'can't stand it when Johnny Hart does it with his religion.' "

Les Sillars, writing on "Widely Read And Widely Censored," in the April 8 issue of World

Woodstock capitalism

"If John Lennon had lived, would he have become an investment banker? It seems conceivable as yet another icon of countercultural idealism takes the money and runs in this golden age of markets and mergers. The ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., that utopian experiment in peace, love and capitalism, is selling itself to a multinational consumer-products behemoth whose name sounds like a machine tool Unilever. Not since General Motors acquired Saab, the tree-hugging car company from Sweden, have investors from the Woodstock generation been so dismayed.

"They call themselves 'socially responsible,' and they believe that one can do well and do good by buying shares in companies that share their views, selling shares in those that don't and engaging in shareholder activism to persuade those that are neutral. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were the poster children for this philosophy. They pioneered the concept of the 'double bottom line,' the notion that a company can pursue profits and social good at the same time."

David Brancaccio, writing on "Selling Out for Fun and Profit," in Monday's Wall Street Journal

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