- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Comic decline

“For his first ‘Tonight Show’ appearance, [Jerry] Seinfeld trained as if he were getting ready to climb into the ring, jogging three or four miles every day and playing the theme from ‘Superman’ to get himself psyched. … Wowing the audience was only half the battle. Winning [host Johnny] Carson’s blessing was the harder half. …

“That power and glory are gone. ‘In the old days, everyone worked hard to get “The Tonight Show,” and when you got it, it meant something when you did well,’ reflects retired personal manager Buddy Morra. … ‘Not anymore. Today it’s just an appearance.’ Stand-up comedy has lost its thrill factor, its tightrope-walking tension.”

—James Wolcott, writing on “Wit’s End,” in the May issue of Vanity Fair

Runaway news

“Veteran newsman Sam Donaldson announced it. Jennifer Wilbanks — the Runaway Bride — proved it.

“‘Network news is dead.’

“Tabloid journalism used to be a guilty vice enjoyed by people waiting in supermarket lines. They now dress it up as evening news, but even good journalists cannot infuse the supermarket stories with substance. …

“Instead of discussing the serious cultural issues the Wilbanks’ story raises, ‘journalists’ rush to break the story that Wilbanks had been nabbed as a shoplifter a decade ago. …

“A sea change is occurring in how our culture regards and deals with those who make false accusations and police reports. Five years ago, it was commonplace to hear in the media that victims — especially women and children — never lie. Skeptics who doubted a victim’s story, even in the presence of questionable evidence, were accused by victims’ rights advocates of re-victimizing the person and, so, silenced.

“Today, it is clear that false reports occur with some frequency and there is an increased willingness to treat those who file them as criminals.”

—Wendy McElroy, writing on “Runaway Bride Lost in Junk Journalism,” May 11 at www.ifeminists.com

Two-front battle

“Homosexual interest groups often form a significant part of the coalition supporting abortion rights. Why is a population that by definition does not procreate heavily involved in the ‘right’ to end a pregnancy? …

“At any large event in support of abortion rights, rainbow flags and other symbols of the homosexual culture are prominent. Homosexual groups frequently advertise pro-abortion events on their Web sites and publications, and abortion groups often support activities promoting homosexual causes. … Why is this? …

“While the two groups are very different in their particular circumstances, the common denominator between the two agendas is sexual license. Homosexuals are often strong advocates of abortion not because they need access to it but because homosexual activists are driven by the same philosophy that drives abortion rights: sex without restrictions or consequences. The two groups share the same foundation and it is in an effort to fortify this foundation that the two are committed to each other. …

“It is critical to recognize the ideology of absolute sexual license that drives and unites abortion and same-sex-marriage advocates. They form a strong coalition that has reshaped the political landscape. It is, consequently, necessary to fight the two fronts of the cultural battle … with the same reaffirmation of the dignity and responsibility of sex.”

—Jayd Henricks, writing on “Unnatural Alliance,” May 13 in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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