- The Washington Times - Monday, August 2, 2004

‘Asymmetrical’

“July [was] a bad month for our civilization. Islamic terrorists right out of Gibbon’s pages on Attila are caught with heads of their victims in their refrigerators in Saudi Arabia — while Britain and the United States squabble over the extradition of an Islamic fascist [Abu Hamza al-Masri] whose career was dedicated to convincing Muslims in the West to destroy the United States while whining that infidels were occupying the ancient caliphate. In fact, the opposite is true: Detroit is the largest community of expatriate Arabs in the world outside the Middle East. Emigrants flock to gracious hosts in Michigan to live under tolerance and freedom impossible in their own Arab countries. …

“Can someone please tell the Arab world that its millions are stampeding to the Christian infidel West, while very few Americans want to go to the ‘Holy Lands’? …

“The receptive Arab Street lives in a perpetual world of asymmetrical thinking — nursing fantasies, inventing false grievances, and above all demanding from the West what it would never offer to others.”

Victor Davis Hanson, writing on “If the Dead Could Talk,” Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Baby boom

“Gwyneth’s Apple, Helen Hunt’s MaKena Lei, Debra Messing’s and Cate Blanchett’s respective Romans, Marcia Gay Harden’s Hudson and Julitta, Heidi Klum’s Leni, Courteney Cox Arquette’s Coco. … They are the babies whose entrances into the world have recently provided the entertainment media with its hottest storylines.

“For more than a year, we have been drowning in the most intimate details of celebrity pregnancy. … Stretch mark for stretch mark, the gestations of the rich and famous are more intimately dissected than the gravidity of our own closest girlfriends. …

“In some respects, it’s such a humanizing relief, these glimpses of women we’re used to seeing perfect and fat-free suddenly walking down the street in ill-fitting clothes. … How about the groans of sympathy for that flaxen sylph Paltrow, who pushed out Apple at 9 pounds 11 ounces? Oof, we thought, clucking with the knowledge that birth isn’t like maintaining a hot body and a cool wardrobe: There were no personal chefs or free designer clothes paving a comfortable shortcut for this bruiser of an infant’s journey from womb to world.”

Rebecca Traister, writing on “Pregnancy Porn,” Saturday in Salon at www.salon.com

Celebrity party

“On behalf of refuting the idea that celebrities have nothing interesting to say about politics, we’ve culled the following comments surrounding [last] week’s Democratic National Convention in Boston:

“Actress Meryl Streep, telling a Knight Ridder reporter [about] rumors that the role she plays in the just-released remake of ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ is based on Hillary Clinton: ‘So somebody — I’m not saying it’s Karl Rove — has picked this up and fed it to everybody. Because every single person here has asked me about it.’ …

“Actor Ben Affleck, responding to Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s ‘Hardball’ about where he fits on the political landscape in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California: ‘I’m definitely a girlie man.’ …

“Actor Richard Dreyfuss, as quoted by the Associated Press: “George Bush is very, very good at making people believe that if you’re glib and thoughtless, that that’s kind of a John Wayne macho deal that is a very necessary part of America.’”

from “Celebrities Uncensored,” Friday in the Wall Street Journal

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