- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Call it news

“In the end it’s just me sitting in my house with a computer and a keyboard. I don’t think about the millions of people who may be reading. It feels like a very solitary activity. …

“What scares me is I’ve got so many smart people reading it: the congressional leaders, the executive branch leaders, the judicial branch leaders, the Hollywood moguls. It’s frightening, because it’s easy to make mistakes on the Internet. You can make up anything about anybody and send it everywhere, all with a hit of the send button. …

“[Y]ou look at these tanned, blow-dried gym bunnies like Brian Williams, NBC’s next anchor — all they do is read off a teleprompter, and no one has a problem calling them journalists. In the end I really don’t care what I’m called, as long as it’s not blogger. As Roger Ailes told me early on, you don’t need a license to report. You need a license to do hair. …

“As far as I’m concerned, if ‘American Idol’ gets 25 million viewers, that to me is as important as the latest bill passed in Washington. That to me is news — and it’s also news to most Americans in this new century.”

Matt Drudge of www.drudgereport.com, interviewed by Camille Paglia in the June 10 issue of Radar

Chimps and us

“[A]ccording to the latest estimates, we share 98.8 per cent of our DNA with the chimpanzees. What distinguishes us from our closest living relative is due to a 1.2 percent genetic distance. …

“In fact, some hints of genes underlying uniquely human traits, such as our big brains as well as our ability to use language, have already been discovered. …

“[W]e developed speech and, of course, grew our absurdly large brains that outweigh a chimp’s three times over. The result is mankind’s most distinguishing feature: our use of culture based upon the extensive use of symbols to transmit ideas. We communicate through material artifacts, abstract symbols such as words or numbers, or, lately, information fired down a glass-fibre cable. Culture is an accumulative process that means everyone is standing on the shoulders of giants. …

“Only with the rise of modern humans about 200,000 years ago do we see the emergence of artifacts other than tools. … In other words, we began to embark on the evolutionary road to culture. Now, the intriguing thing about the human’s ability to embrace culture is the fact that it is universal. It would thus defy any biological logic if the prerequisites, such as cognitive abilities and language, did not have a genetic basis.”

Carl Gierstorfer, writing on “The chimp genome,” in the June 14 issue of the Spectator

Furiously dumb

“Directed by John Singleton, a onetime wannabe-auteur who seems to have embraced his inner hack, ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ is the latest in a fairly new subgenre: the bling-bling action flick. Like other examples of the breed … this one effortlessly fuses 1990s Hollywood action noise with hip-hop materialism, five-minutes-ago slang, ghetto-fabulous fashion and gangsta-rap machismo fantasies. … This ‘Furious’ is even dumber and more ruthless than the first — a bigger, louder, glitzier, four-wheeled modern equivalent of those hippie-pandering American International Pictures flicks from the ‘60s about hairy bikers sticking it to The Man. …

“It’s hard to say which is more up to date, the hubcaps, rocket boosters and on-board computer systems on the hot-rods, or the staggering array of [cosmetic surgery] on the women. …

“‘2 Fast’ is interesting mainly as proof of how Hollywood has completely absorbed dead-end underclass fantasies. Like other bling-bling action flicks, it flatters its young, ethnic polyglot audience without challenging it, and it never has anything on its mind besides money and all the liquor, shiny cars and hot sex that money can buy.”

Matt Zoller Seitz, writing on “2 Stupid,” in the June 11 issue of New York Press

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