- The Washington Times - Friday, December 8, 2000

The fifth Beatle

"If you subscribe to the inevitability theory of history, then the Beatles would have made their mark on the world whether or not they had ever met Brian Epstein… .

"But the fact is, there was no one else in the Beatles' orbit with the vision or persistence to see what Epstein did when he ventured into the dank recesses of the Cavern Club to see one of the band's sloppy and rude lunchtime sessions. How else do you explain a proper, mannered record-store manager … suddenly deciding to manage the Beatles the first time he saw them? How do you explain his persistence in the face of rejections from almost every British record label, and the laughter that accompanied his unwavering assertion that one day the Beatles would be bigger than Elvis?

"The only possible explanation is that Epstein possessed a visionary genius… .

"Epstein sometimes said his bond with the Beatles was something indescribable, nearly mystical. But he remained an outsider… .

"In the inner circle and yet outside of it, Epstein lived out the most intense version of the longing the Beatles created in all of us who heard them: the desire to be one of them."

Charles Taylor, reviewing Debbie Geller's book, "In My Life: The Brian Epstein Story," Tuesday in Salon at www.salon.com

Sold as a commodity

"Pornography has always been a bigger business than most people realize, but in recent years it has undergone an unprecedented boom, largely because of the growth of satellite and cable television services, which rake in billions from X-rated programming.

"But the Internet has emerged as an even better delivery vehicle. Adult content is already the Web's biggest business, with estimated annual sales of $2 billion.

"And 'what you see now is just the beginning,' says Dr. Al Cooper, a California therapist and academic… . 'There is much, much more to come.' …

"Web-tracking firms estimate that more than 6 million Web users spend at least 11 hours a week at sex sites and some spend 80 hours or more… .

"Dr. Cooper believes that the massive interest in pornography stems from a deep conflict within North American culture, which bombards people with sexual imagery yet still approaches sex from an essentially Puritan perspective.

"We are inundated with sex as a simple answer to life's complex problems. Entire industries sell sex as a commodity, and we are constantly being sold on the idea that sex can make us happy."

Peter Cheney, writing on "The Triple-X Crisis," Tuesday in the (Toronto) Globe & Mail

Kick in the groin

"To be blunt, it is absolutely insane for black people to conclude that Al Gore would be about 10 times (90 percent to 9 percent) better for them than George W. Bush, when the rest of the nation is evenly divided. Something is wrong with this picture and it is not the Republican program.

"Being the decent man he is, a President Bush would probably make nice to the black establishment the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, Jesse Jackson once he were sworn in… . That would be a mistake, because in 2004 they would kick him in the political groin once again, just as they always do to Republicans… .

"It seems to me that the question is no longer 'What can Republicans do to earn the support of blacks?' but 'Why are blacks so out of touch with the rest of the country?' At some stage, for their own good, black people will have to be weaned off their political addiction to 'civil rights' issues. Those who exploit black voters by appealing to their vulnerability on 'civil rights' are no friends of black people. They are manipulators… .

"The terrible truth is that the black establishment has become intensely partisan, intolerant, self-centered, power-crazy, vindictive, mean-spirited. This establishment must be confronted, not accommodated."

Ward Connerly, writing on "The GOP's Black Problem," in the Dec. 18 issue of National Review

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