- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Hollywood vs. reality

“‘Love ‘em and leave ‘em,’ the old saying goes. The new power women … from ‘Charlie’s Angels’ to the working women of HBO’s ‘Sex and the City’ — jump in and out of bed with the hot man of the moment, no strings attached, before proceeding to conquer the world. … According to the typical script, they all live happy, secure lives without having to commit or depend on a man. Indeed, a popular prime time refrain is ‘Who needs a man?’

“Does Hollywood know reality? …

“Mothers who have never been married experience domestic violence at more than twice the rate of mothers who have been or currently are married.

“Never-married mothers also suffer from violent crime at three times the rate of mothers who have ever been married.

“When a mother cohabits, a child is 33 times more likely to experience serious abuse and 73 times more likely to suffer fatal abuse than a child with married parents.”

Kathryn Hooks, writing on “The Violent Reality of Lovin’ and Leavin’,” June 12 in Dot Commentary

Lost history

“History education has gone off the rails, though not primarily in ways that conservatives sometimes focus on. We tend to criticize the politically correct emphasis on formerly marginal ethnicities, races and genders — all of it at the expense of such topics as the Four Freedoms and the Constitutional Convention. … What is worst about modern history teaching is the way in which so much of it is done, whether the subject is women workers of color or dead white statesmen.

“I saw the shift in my lifetime. In 1965, when I was in fifth grade, I was taught a ripping yarn, a kids’ version of Herodotus and the Persian Wars: Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis; menacing Darius and Xerxes; plucky Athens and Sparta. It was sequential, exciting, important. By the time I was in high school, though, I was being exposed to something else, called ‘Social Studies,’ in which abstract lessons were illustrated by ‘units’ floating in ahistorical space. …

“Why did American educators abandon traditional history for social studies? In part, precisely because they were American. We have a tradition of believing that we are beyond tradition or history, before the Fall or outside time, as if the New World made us New Men.”

Richard Brookhiser, writing on “Lost in the Mists of Time,” Friday in the Wall Street Journal

Che chic

“Long declared to be mere footnotes to history, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are riding high in the American media. The Cuban Revolution, it seems, is everywhere once again, and cold, hard historical judgment is harder and harder to find. HBO may have pulled Oliver Stone’s fawning documentary ‘Comandante’ … but the scheduling decision doesn’t appear to be a sudden spasm of political conscience. …

“And in the fall, we’ll have a brand-new Che movie, an adaptation of ‘The Motorcycle Diaries,’ Guevara’s record of his seven-month motorbike trip across South America in 1952. …

“Current vapid commercializations of the Che mystique include the cover of Madonna’s new CD ‘American Life,’ on which the venerable pop star strikes a Che pose. …

“The refusal to see Che for what he really was is proving to be a strangely obstinate phenomenon. … Three years ago, for example, presidential hopeful Gary Hart published a novel called ‘I, Che Guevara’ under the pseudonym John Blackthorn. … But oddly, given Che’s actual history of affection for totalitarian methods, this fictional Che turns out to be a fan of Thomas Jefferson and the ideals of the Republic. Mr. Hart’s fantasy of Che Guevara, in other words, is a suave projection of the average, decent, middle-class white American liberal’s political sensibility.”

Lawrence Osborne, writing on “Che Trippers,” in the June 16 issue of the New York Observer

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