- The Washington Times - Monday, May 31, 2004

Win-win news

“On Jan. 17, 1998, Matt Drudge posted a siren-decorated ‘World Exclusive’ declaring that Newsweek had spiked a story regarding President Clinton and a certain 23-year-old former intern. The report and several follow-ups sat there on his site … ignored by the rest of the media universe for four agonizing days. …

“Most readers already build in a Drudge discount, and meanwhile a horde of new reporters, professional and amateur, are set on the trail of a potentially newsworthy story. … ‘It essentially raises the marginal productivity of every other reporter to go and find that story,’ says University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt, who has written widely about the role of information in markets. ‘We’ll get a lot more stories, a lot better information as a result.’ …

“The New York Times and Matt Drudge may despise each other, but if they both do their jobs well, we all win.”

Matt Welch, writing on “Gossip Wants to Be Free,” in the May issue of Reason

Erotic irony

“The West and the Muslim world entertain vastly different assumptions about female sexuality. … In the West, it was until recently assumed that males and females experience eros differently. …

“Considering the Muslim reputation for archaic customs, it is ironic to note that Islamic civilization not only portrays women as sexually desirous, but it sees them as more passionate than men.

Indeed, this understanding has determined the place of women in traditional Muslim life. …

“If Westerners traditionally saw the sexual act as a battleground where the male exerts his supremacy over the female, Muslims saw it as a tender and shared pleasure.

“Indeed, Muslims generally believe female desire to be so much greater than the male equivalent that the woman is viewed as the hunter and the man as her passive victim. If believers feel little distress about sex acts as such, they are obsessed with the dangers posed by women. … A woman’s rampant desires and irresistible attractiveness gives her a power over men that even rivals God’s. …

“The entire Muslim social structure can be understood as containing female sexuality. ….

“For many Muslims, the West poses not just an external threat as the infidel invader; it also erodes traditional mechanisms to cope with the internal threat, woman. … Differences in sexuality, in other words, contribute to an overall Muslim reluctance to accept modernity.”

Daniel Pipes, writing on “Female Desire and Islamic Trauma,” May 25 in the New York Sun

Rude radical

“Did you hear about the college commencement speaker who was almost booed off the stage … because his commencement address was an anti-Bush rant? The speaker was E.L. Doctorow. The college, God bless it forever, was Hofstra University on New York’s Long Island. …

“Mr. Doctorow … gave a 20-minute address ‘lambasting President George W. Bush and effectively calling him a liar.’ …

“I want to explain to Ed Doctorow why he was booed. … It is not that the poor boobs of Long Island have an unaccountable affection for George W. Bush.

“It is that they have class. …

“Fast Eddy Doctorow told a story at the commencement all right, and it is a story about the boorishness of the aging liberal. An old ‘60s radical who feels he is entitled to impose his views on this audience on this day because he’s so gifted, so smart, so insightful, so very above the normal rules, agreements and traditions.”

Peggy Noonan, writing on “Doctorow’s Malpractice,” May 25 in the Wall Street Journal

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