- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Blonde ambition
"We are … obsessed with blonde hair.
"For instance, even though only one in 20 of us is naturally blonde, a third of women lighten their hair. Why? Because blonde hair gets you more attention. Blonde hair is a magnet for sex and money. When she bleached her own hair, [author Joanna] Pitman tells us, the change was dramatic. People stared. 'The way they looked,' she says, 'it felt as if my head was radiating some kind of spectral glow.' …
"Clerics in the Middle Ages feared blondes, and no doubt went mad with desire thinking about them, too. When, in puritanical times, Eve took a dip in the ratings, people began to portray her as a blonde: Eve the seducer, the hussy. (Centuries later, she was played in this spirit by Mae West, who said, 'Would you, honey, like to try this apple?') …
"Before Madonna went blonde, she typically sold 5 million copies of every album. Afterwards 20 million. Before Norma Jean went blonde, she was just Norma Jean. Afterwards Marilyn. …
"But there has always been something about blonde hair which brings out the dark side of human nature. Perhaps that's the attraction."
William Leith, writing on "All the fun of the fair," Saturday in the Spectator
Moral equivalence
"In 'Far from Heaven,' for which she received a Best Actress nomination, [Julianne] Moore plays Cathy Whitaker, a Connecticut housewife whose life seems, well, heavenly: a handsome husband named Frank, two wonderful kids, and a lovely home complete with servants.
"Then Cathy catches Frank having sex with another man and learns that, from Frank's perspective, their life together has been a sham. … Devastated, Cathy turns to her black gardener, Raymond, for comfort a move that leaves her even more isolated.
"While 'Far from Heaven' does depict the impact of Frank's actions on his family, there's no sense of blame. It's as if the devastation had been caused by a stray meteor instead of someone's actions. However much one may sympathize with Frank's plight, the fact remains that his pursuit of sexual and self-fulfillment must of necessity come at the expense of his obligations and commitments to his wife and his children. …
"Then there's the relationship between Cathy and Raymond. Writer-director Todd Haynes' point wasn't that racism is bad; it's that racism, disapproval of homosexuality, and disapproval of an unfettered pursuit of self-fulfillment are morally equivalent to each other."
Roberto Rivera y Carlo, writing on "Duty, Honor and the Movies," Thursday in Boundless at www.boundless.org
Big in Europe
"My European correspondents tell me that Michael Moore is huge there, and that American conservatives should not ignore this phenomenon. I know what they mean. Moore's books and documentaries are making millions of dollars in Europe, as they reassure many Europeans as to their prejudices about America. And young people are learning about America through Moore.
"This reminds me of something David Horowitz says: Conservatives have no idea how influential Noam Chomsky is. Someone did a survey not too formal, but a survey nonetheless and found that Chomsky is something like the seventh most-cited intellectual in history. That includes Aristotle, Kant all of them.
"Also, Howard Zinn's American-history textbook has sold something like a million copies and it is straight Communism. No one knows this. Because conservatives aren't supposed to whine about such things, you know? It's unseemly."
Jay Nordlinger's "Impromptus," posted Monday in National Review Online.

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