- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 10, 2005

‘Outsider’ novelist

“The two greatest postwar American novelists — Vladimir Nabokov, a Russian exile, and Saul Bellow, a Montreal-born Jew — were intellectual outsiders. Both mainlined the European novel of ideas into the veins of American literature and infused it with a coruscating, high-octane style. Mr. Bellow’s prose is energetic and torrential; his voice learned and allusive. He thrived on chaos and loved contention, courted conflict and was inspired by personal cataclysm. It’s fascinating to see how Mr. Bellow, married five times, sublimated his misery and portrayed his wives … before and after they divorced him.”

Jeffrey Meyers, writing on “He Thrived on Chaos,” Thursday in the Wall Street Journal

Fonda, the verb

“Those who think Jane Fonda’s sole raison d’etreis to annoy conservative opinion writers should note this passage from her new memoir, ‘My Life So Far.’ The year is 1970. Fonda has just engaged in her very first acts of civil disobedience, on behalf of aggrieved Native American tribes. The protests, she writes, ‘morphed me from a noun to a verb. A verb is active and less ego-oriented. Being a verb means being defined by action, not by title.’ So there. Jane Fonda aspired to something greater than liberal do-gooding; she wanted to become a part of speech. ‘Fonda (v.): to plead for harmony and social justice until humanity can’t take it anymore.’

“In the preface of her book, Fonda announces her intention to ‘set the record straight’ about her 1972 adventure in North Vietnam. … But Fonda has little new to say about Vietnam and offers few words of contrition. … The one revelation she offers? That she determined to have a second child after spotting a female North Vietnamese soldier who was manning a gun installation while pregnant.”

Bryan Curtis, writing on “Jane Fonda,” Wednesday in Slate at www.slate.com

Liberal ‘acid’

“Why would people who hate the [Catholic] Church pose as reformers who know what’s best for it? Why would they care so passionately about the direction of a religion to which they don’t belong? … Look at the immense, obsessional energy that the left spends on trying to pressure the Church into green-lighting their favorite sexual sins. Why do they care so much about what the Church teaches? The reason is that they know that if they could just get the Catholic Church’s imprimatur on the Sexual Revolution it would spread everywhere. …

“Modern liberalism is an acid that burns through everything it touches. The Church has shriveled in proportion to its exposure to it. Now those who have long sought its death present themselves, carrying more of this acid, as its healer, and even, as Thomas Cahill wrote in the New York Times, finger Pope John Paul II, who resisted it, as the Church’s enemy. ‘He may, in time to come, be credited with destroying his church,’ writes Cahill, who blames the Pope for ‘intellectual incompetents’ and ‘mindless sycophants’ in the episcopate. ‘The situation is dire. Anyone can walk into a Catholic church on a Sunday and see pews, once filled to bursting, now sparsely populated with gray heads.’ He then proposes a ‘solution,’ which amounts to trading the teachings of Jesus Christ for modern liberalism.”

George Neumayr, writing on “St. Peter’s in Chains,” Thursday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

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