- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 3, 2003

Hollywood morons

“People always have the wrong impression of me. …

“I’m not right-wing and I’m not left-wing. But you know, in Hollywood, if you don’t agree with some kind of ridiculous assertions, people are quick to label, because there are those who maybe aren’t so intelligent or who maybe aren’t as rigorous in their thought process. They just have knee-jerk responses to things.

“Like, I sat with somebody who was once the president of a studio and we were having dinner and he said, ‘George Bush is an utter moron.’

“And I said, ‘Oh, on what do you base that assertion?’ And he said, ‘Well, he’s just a moron.’ And I said, ‘Can you give an example?’ And he said, ‘Well, there’s a lot of examples.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m not asking you for 300, I’m asking you for one.’ And he sputtered for about 10 minutes and he couldn’t think of one, because that’s actually a pretty stunning statement to make, that anybody’s a moron.

“I mean, whatever it took to get elected president of the United States, I don’t think being a complete and utter moron is one of those predicates. It’s just a facetious statement.”

James Woods, interviewed by Amy Reiter, Thursday in Salon at www.salon.com

‘Code of honor’

“America, it seems, remains culturally divided along the Mason?Dixon line, and the crucial difference now, as at the time of the American Civil War, is honor. … In the modern era, honor is generally considered obsolete. …

“Southerners retain two vital aspects of the old honor system: a high degree of sensitivity to insults and a tendency to respond with violence and aggression. This has important consequences today, as it did in America’s past. …

“From the earliest days of the American Republic, honor played a vital role in the political process. … The code of honor was strongest, though, in the South. … In the 1840s and 1850s, three successive editors of the Mississippi Sentinel were killed in duels. The next survived only because she was a woman, and thus immune from challenges. …

“It was Southern honor that caused the War of 1812. … In the vital vote in Congress to declare war on Britain, senators from the maritime areas of northeastern America voted against war. It was the senators from the South who voted in favor, not because they were suffering from British policy, but because they regarded it as outrageous, an insult to America’s young nation, a challenge which could not be rejected without undermining their honor and their manhood. …

“The South’s political influence has possibly never been greater. It was Al Gore’s failure to win a single state in the old Confederacy that lost him the presidency.”

Paul Robinson, writing on “Sword of honor,” in the July 26 issue of the Spectator

Century of Hope

“If you only remember one thing about him, it’s this: Bob Hope made more people laugh than anyone in human history. He’s the only comedian to have been, over the years, the No. 1 star in radio, in film, and then television, at a time when each of those media was at its high point.

“The ‘Road’ pictures with Bing Crosby were the highest-grossing series in movie history until James Bond came along. His six decades with NBC hold the record for the longest contract in show business, and his TV specials for the network remain among the most-watched programs of all time. Plus he logged some 10 million miles, playing up to 200 live performances a year until into his 90s.

“Success on that scale breeds a particular kind of contempt. Younger comics who for 30 years have despised Hope as a pro-war establishment suck-up forget that he more or less invented the form they work in: the relaxed guy who strolls on and does topical observational gags about the world we live in. When he started eight decades ago, there were no ‘stand-ups.’”

Mark Steyn, writing on “Bob Hope 1903-2003,” Thursday in the London Telegraph

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