- The Washington Times - Monday, December 27, 2004

Everything online

“When I read the news that Google was initiating a drive to digitize and upload to the Internet millions upon millions of books from some of the finest research libraries in the world, my first, somewhat whimsical reaction was to recall one of my favorite stories, Jorge Luis Borges’ ‘The Library of Babel.’

“The Library of Babel contains everything. Not just every book that has been written, but every book that could possibly be written. …

“As an undergraduate I spent many happy hours in the stacks of the main library at the University of Michigan. … It titillates me no end to think that some of the dusky pamphlets that I dug up 20 years ago, which had clearly not been read by a single living soul since the day they had been tagged with their Dewey Decimal number, might soon be accessible via the wireless laptop sitting on my kitchen counter. This is a dream come true, and kudos to Google for helping make it happen on such a large scale.”

Andrew Leonard, writing on “What Google promises us,” Dec. 14 in Salon at www.salon.com

‘Mommy State’

“Lots of people today claim we are living in a Mommy State. We’re children to be scolded, smacked, ordered around. Wear your seatbelt, lose weight, be nice to everyone. It’s worse than annoying. It can drive you batty. It’s like being in kindergarten all your life, or being forced to sit at the little kid’s table during Thanksgiving when you’re 35 years old. …

“There’s truth to the theory about Mommy. I don’t think it goes far enough, though. Mommy is now insane. These days we’re supposed to not think bad thoughts. Orwell called this ‘thought crime.’ God forbid one of those thoughts slips out. You could end up in the pillory.

“Now, we’ve got kids expelled from school for bringing nail clippers or aspirin. …

“I’d be as happy as a turtle in a mudhole if the government would just protect life, liberty and property. It just won’t do that, though. Instead it just wants to keep growing and growing like the Blob. …

“Freedom to slavery to going bonkers. How did all of this creep up on us? I think lots of people wanted it, without the foggiest idea of where it invariably leads. They started wanting security, to be taken care of by the Mommy State, to be protected from life, to have the world made of Nerf. It’s a delusion. They’ll find that out, in the long run.”

Bob Wallace, writing on “Attack of the Mommy Monster,” Dec. 15 at www.lewrockwell.com

Big, fat ego

“I managed to attend the [Dec. 6] L.A. World Affairs lunch featuring [filmmaker] Michael Moore. … What did he have to say?

“Well, first he emphasized that America loves Hollywood. No, the outrageous behavior of people like Whoopi Goldberg did not turn off ‘the people.’ The problem is, John Kerry wasn’t Hollywood enough. In Michael’s view, the Democrats have to ‘stop running wonks who don’t have a story.’ If the Democrats used Hollywood more, they could hone the stories. Even get Tom Hanks to run. Who wouldn’t vote for Tom Hanks? … The only tough question from the audience was voiced by an elderly man who asked Michael if his movie hadn’t caused a move to Bush as a reaction. Oh, no, Michael replied. ‘“Fahrenheit 9/11” prevented a Bush landslide.’”

Barbara Bernstein, writing on “Letter From Mooreland,” Dec. 15 in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

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