- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Adolescent actors

"It is commonly said … that boys need fathers in order to grow up into well-adjusted men. It is less commonly said and equally true that boys lack proper masculine role models even in homes where the father is present.

"Consider the number of men you know who seem to be not wholly adult but stuck in some eternal adolescence symbolized by the wearing of casual clothes at weddings, funerals, and even leveraged buyouts… .

"[C]onsider the leading men in Hollywood movies and compare them with the stars of the '40s and '50s. Whether they were bachelors in romantic comedies or married men in domestic ones, actors like Cary Grant or Spencer Tracy seemed eminently mature. They wore suits, danced fox trots, and solved problems… . It was an adult world they inhabited, and we could all imagine their handling life's difficulties with efficiency and aplomb.

"Can we imagine Brad Pitt or Sean Penn giving us that same confidence? I think not. They seem to live in a world of glorious irresponsibility. Even their pleasures rock music and discos seem adolescent… .

"Adolescent irresponsibility can often be a charming quality. But it wears badly. And it is at war with the formation of a strong responsible character that in men we used to call manliness. We shrink from even using the words 'manly' or 'manliness' today because the feminist sensibility in polite society regards such terms as sexist."

John O'Sullivan, writing on "The Manly Ideal," in the July 3 issue of National Review

Feminist flood

"The women's liberation movement, as it was called in the '60s and '70s, was the largest social movement in the history of the United States and probably in the world. Its impact has been felt in every home, school and workplace, in every form of art, entertainment and sport, in all aspects of personal and public life in the United States. Like a river overflowing its banks and seeking a new course, it permanently altered the landscape… .

"Its achievements the work women do, the treatment women expect, the way women express themselves have become the very air we breathe, so taken for granted as to be invisible, and so we do not ask how they came about… .

"Although today most Americans associate feminism with NOW and abortion-rights organizations, in fact the major feminist programs and ideas came from the larger multi-issue, left-wing, decentralized women's liberation tendency."

Rosalyn Baxandall and Linda Gordon, writing on "Second-Wave Soundings," in the July 3 issue of the Nation

Hillary's needs

"Mrs. Clinton's call in 'It Takes a Village' for sexual abstinence among teen-agers … may be the furthest she's gone from what would have been predicted. It's probably her most ironic advice… .

"Hillary Clinton has chafed endlessly and self-pityingly at the bonds imposed on her by her unelected status, while always reinforcing the narrowness and cheapness of her husband's conception of his job. She has also actively reinforced the president's opportunity and cynicism, while publicly justifying everything he does… .

"Hillary and Bill Clinton have presided … over a full-blast profaning of all the secular temples of the American Republic. This has been done more or less without protest from the first lady, and often with her aggressive encouragement, because a strong woman has her needs after all."

Christopher Hitchens, writing on "Is Hillary Clinton Eleanor Roosevelt?" in the July/August issue of the American Enterprise

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