- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2004

Hating America

” ‘Osama! Osama!’

“That’s what Mexican soccer fans chanted in unison at the American squad that had just lost 4-0 to Team Mexico in an Olympic Qualification Soccer Match in Guadaljara on Feb. 10. …

“The game had begun with Mexican fans nearly drowning out the U.S. national anthem with their booing. …

“[I]t appears in recent years that crude anti-Americanism by Mexican fans in soccer matches with the U.S. is becoming a tradition. It was present in 2002, when the U.S. team beat Mexico in a World Cup qualification match, and back in 1998, there was an infamous outburst of anti-American heckling at a game in Los Angeles — much of it perpetrated by Mexican residents in the U.S. …

“Just imagine if a similar incident had taken place in the United States, with Mexican athletes at the receiving end of such treatment. …

“One prominent American did speak up — Colorado [Republican Rep.] Tom Tancredo. …

“Tancredo put the incident in perspective: ‘What would happen if any other nation had chanted “Hitler!” after defeating an Israeli team?’ ”

Alan Wall, writing on “Mexicans Chant, Americans (Mostly) Cower,” Wednesday at www.vdare.com

Fear of choice

“A few decades of research has made it clear that most people are terrible choosers — they don’t know what they want, and the prospect of deciding often causes not just jitters but something like anguish. The evidence is all around us, from restaurantgoers’ complaints that ‘the menu is too long’ to Michael Jackson’s face. …

“Instead of calculating opportunity cost as the value of the single most attractive foregone alternative, we seem to assemble an idealistic composite of all the options foregone. … When a person says, ‘I feel like a plate of spaghetti,’ he envisions a particularly good plate of spaghetti. And, as the psychologists Daniel Gilbert of Harvard and Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia have observed, ‘If it is difficult to know whether we will be happy 15 minutes after eating a bite of spaghetti, it is all the more difficult to know whether we will be happy 15 months after a divorce or 15 years after a marriage.”

Christopher Caldwell, writing “Select All,” in the March 1 issue of the New Yorker

Hyperventilating

” ‘When violence breaks out,’ Paula Fredriksen breathlessly declared in a hyperventilated article for The New Republic, ‘Mel Gibson will have a much higher authority than professors and bishops to answer to.’ In the article ‘Mad Mel,’ Fredriksen, a professor at Boston University, went on to dismiss the movie she had not seen as an ‘anti-historical, anti-intellectual, anti-Semitic film about the crucifixion.’ This judgment was based on the fact that she simply does not believe that the New Testament is reliable. End of story. …

“Ironically, Maia Morgenstern, who plays Mary, is the Jewish daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Furthermore, the only appearance that Gibson makes in the movie is when his hands are seen driving the nails into Jesus on the cross — simultaneously driving home the point of his own culpability in the death of Christ.”

Steve Beard, writing on “Brutal ‘Passion,’ ” Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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