- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 7, 2005

Moldy oldies

“Rock and roll is a young man’s business. In the 1980s, when I attended college, the band that stood out over all others was U2, and since that time they have maintained, sometimes shakily, their position at the top of the rock pile. The band members are now in their 40s, though. …

“The band now labors under an insurmountable creative obstacle, even for shamans like Bono: rock is adolescent music. …

“Some will protest that it is unfair to lump U2 in with more obviously adolescent rockers — such as Bon Jovi, to name a generational peer. The music of U2, they’ll say, has always aspired to deeper subjects, whether politics or spirituality. That is true, but being an adult and desiring adulthood are two different things.

“Singing about Jesus or Northern Ireland or political dissidents while wearing wrap-around shades, standing behind a circus stage, accompanied by a thumping, monotonous beat and flashing strobe lights, delivering your lyrics with poses of profundity common to high school students everywhere, is as adolescent as it gets.”

Paul Beston, writing on “Bedtime for Bono,” Wednesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Father of many

“What meaningful eulogy can a rabbi possibly add to the many heartfelt tributes being paid to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II? …

“Pope John Paul II is even now being warmly greeted in heaven as the father of a billion worthy children and the progenitor of one powerful idea. …

“Pope John Paul II’s singular coherence was the sanctity of life. His beam of clarity was the triumph of life over death. Terri Schiavo, clinging to life, alerted all Americans to the real distinction between the culture of death and that of life. Perhaps her final role was to herald on high, the imminent arrival of Karol Wojtyla. …

“Without Pope John Paul II, the culture of death would have made far greater inroads. … Whatever your faith, that is reason enough for gratitude.”

— Rabbi Daniel Lapin, writing on “His Gospel of Life,” Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Jane Gump

“[Jane Fonda’s new] autobiography … chronicles her experiences as poor little rich girl in Hollywood, student at Vassar, space-age sex object in France, and activist in Southeast Asia. Involved in the feminist, civil rights and antiwar movements, Fonda has also won two Oscars. She revolutionized the exercise industry before marrying a mogul and giving up her professional life. She’s suffered from bulimia, anorexia and a Dexedrine addiction. She has found God and runs a teen pregnancy-prevention program. …

“Fonda’s series of timely transformations combined with her bumbling, slightly daffy attitude make her a Forrest Gump-ian figure. If something was happening in culture or politics, count on Fonda to have been nearby — if not to have participated in it or created it herself.

“As the plane carrying her to Las Vegas for her 1965 wedding to [director Roger] Vadim rises out of Los Angeles, she happens to notice that Watts is on fire. … In 1982, home-video magnate Stuart Karl suggests that Fonda turn her nascent exercise franchise — founded to fund [second husband Tom] Hayden’s political interests — into a series of tapes. Fonda writes, ‘Home video? What’s that? Like most people back then, I didn’t own a VCR.’ ”

Rebecca Traister, writing on “Lady Jane,” Tuesday in Salon at www.salon.com

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