- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2003

Film heritage
"When I was in college, my fellow students groaned when they had to watch a silent movie. Today, I'm told, some students groan when they have to watch a film in black-and-white. …
"So the question remains how do you interest people whose idea of a classic old movie is 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' in 'Stagecoach,' 'From Here to Eternity,' 'Imitation of Life,' 'The Lady Eve,' 'The Best Years of Our Lives,' 'Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!' 'Destry Rides Again,' 'The Magnificent Ambersons,' 'Swing Time,' 'Double Indemnity,' 'Rio Bravo' and hundreds of others, let alone 'The Birth of a Nation' … or 'Sunrise'? …
"What I'm arguing here is that a certain segment of American moviegoers, especially the younger ones encountering classic Hollywood style for the first time, must show some care for our shared movie heritage. … Doesn't our own past deserve at least that much respect?"
Charles Taylor, writing on "Out of the Past," Tuesday in Salon at www.salon.com
Diversity forever
"But if the Court lets such discrimination continue … either by explicitly blessing it or by allowing it so long as the university's lawyer thinks it can be defended as "narrowly tailored" (as she always will) … then what? …
"The scary thing about the diversity rationale is that it will always be available. The old justification for 'affirmative action' … that it was needed, temporarily, to make things up for those victims of past discrimination … does not apply anymore.
"The far-reaching agenda of the 'diversiphiles,' to borrow a neologism from Peter Wood, is laid bare in his important new book, 'Diversity: The Invention of a Concept.' That agenda goes beyond academia to, for instance, the workplace, and everywhere the agenda is pro-discrimination (pro-quota, pro-preference), and anti-merit and anti-assimilation. …
"Now, presumably these preferences aren't supposed to last forever. Must they last until the 'underrepresentation' disappears? Discrimination or no discrimination, there is no reason to suppose that each demographic group will be precisely mirrored in each walk of life. And the longer preferences are in place, the more entrenched they will become and the harder it will be to end them. The diversiphiles' lack of vision on race is leading us down a dangerous blind alley."
Roger Clegg, writing on "The Vision Thing" on Tuesday at National Review Online, www.nationalreview.com
Shades of gray
"J.R.R. Tolkien wrote about what he called 'the primary world' and 'the secondary world.' The primary world is the real world. The secondary world is the world of fiction stories, myths, fairy tales. Good and evil, he said, exist only in the secondary world. They don't exist in the real world. …
"The concepts of pure good and pure evil, as Bruno Bettelheim pointed out, generally exist only in 'children's' fiction, such as fairy tales. It's a simplistic view of things, but it allows children to start getting a grasp on right and wrong. When they get older, they should move beyond it and start seeing the complexities in people and the world, and realize the 'intermediate shades.'
"Sometimes, the child's view of good and evil does exist in 'adult' fiction. The example I use is that of Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged,' in which the characters are the whitest of whites and the blackest of blacks. [Whittaker] Chambers referred to the plot as the 'war between the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness.' Unfortunately, Rand sincerely thought she was describing the real world.
"Tolkien and Chambers are right. In the real world, no one is pure good or pure evil. Such 'good' and 'evil' exist only in fantasy. Everyone is imperfect: no one is 'good' or 'evil.'"
Bob Wallace, writing on "The Fairy Tale of Pure Good and Pure Evil," in www.lewrockwell.com


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