- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Leno and Letterman

"Let's face it, there are Jay Leno devotees and David Letterman admirers, and since feigning objectivity doesn't pay either camp any compliment, I'll admit up front that I place myself in the latter group. I prefer Letterman's much-abused, apparently out-of-fashion irony an irony in his case that is less crusty than amusingly starchy. It manifests itself as the steadfast comic distance maintained by a man determined to control his destiny yet doomed to have that control denied. Such perpetual frustration … is what makes him funny.

"I know that Leno is an intelligent guy, but after a week and a half of seeing him interview everyone from Matt Damon to Jonathan Taylor Thomas … it's obvious that his 'Tonight Show' is primarily a place for celebrities to go hawk their wares, to describe the movie/TV show/ calendar they've just brought to market, with Leno acting as genial assistant huckster."

Ken Tucker, writing on " 'Late' Is Enough," in the Feb. 18 issue of Entertainment Weekly

Gay wrongs

"It's time to challenge the fiction that the 'gay rights' movement speaks for all or even most gay people. It does not. Gay rights legislation violates the principles of authentic liberalism, and homosexuals should speak out against it to distance themselves from the excesses of a militantly destructive movement, to help avert societal damage, and to right some grave wrongs. Those wrongs are the political assault being waged on the heterosexual family by the theoreticians of the gay rights revolution; the endless ridicule of religion that suffuses the gay press; and the limitless contempt for all tradition and 'bourgeois values' that permeates the gay subculture… .

"To expect approval or official sanction for so personal a behavior as sexuality is a sign of weak character. To unblushingly ask (nay, demand) such approval in the form of some act of government is an act of unparalleled bad taste. It is also a confession of such a devastating lack of self-esteem, of inner emptiness, that its public expression is hard to fathom. Self-esteem is not a quality to be sought from others, nor can it be legislated into existence."

Justin Raimondo, writing on "A Gay Man Decries 'Gay Rights,' " in the March issue of the American Enterprise

Cause for hysteria?

"Masturbation. Voyeurism. Pedophilia. Repressed homosexuality. Teen promiscuity… . One of 1999's most critically acclaimed movies … fairly brims with such stuff, and not only do audiences not seem to mind, but it barely registers when they discuss the picture… . The picture is, of course, Sam Mendes' 'American Beauty,' and its success carries not a whiff of the disrepute that accompanied the receptions of such daring 1970s mainstream films as 'Carnal Knowledge' and 'Last Tango in Paris.' …

"One hundred years after the dawn of film and a generation or more since the sexual revolution perhaps we've all settled down enough to see that the candid treatment of sex on film need not be cause for hysteria. Then again, maybe not. The even larger box office of the raucous, raunchy 'American Pie' … could lead one to some slightly different conclusions… .

" 'It used to be that teen-agers would go to the movies to see adults having sex,' film critic Roger Ebert is fond of noting. 'Now adults go to the movies to see teen-agers having sex.' The fact is, between highbrow fare like 'American Beauty' and lowbrow comedy like 'American Pie,' all sorts of people are having sex onscreen these days, and just about everyone is going to the movies to watch them do it."

Glenn Kerry, writing on "Breaking the Sex Barrier," in the March issue of Premiere

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