- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Bless the beasts

“I have come to view the abuses of industrial farming as a serious moral problem, a truly rotten business for good reason passed over in private conversation. Little wrongs, when left unattended, can grow and spread to become grave wrongs, and precisely this had happened on our factory farms. …

“Conservatives [must] get beyond their dislike for particular animal-rights groups and examine cruelty issues on the merits. Conservatives have a way of dismissing the subject, as if where animals are concerned, nothing very serious could ever be at stake. … It is assumed that animal-protection causes are a project of the Left, and that the proper conservative position is to stand warily and firmly against them. …

“Factory farming has no traditions, no rules, no codes of honor, no little decencies to spare for a fellow creature.”

—Matthew Scully, writing on “Fear Factories,” in the May 23 issue of the American Conservative

Funny business

“We’ve heard it all before, that ‘it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.’ In Hollywood, winning is the only game in town. It’s a business that can’t afford to play by the simple life lessons of youth.

“Entertainment is a ruthless business that lives by its own set of rules…. Ask it what it believes in, and the answer is money, the lifeblood of the industry. To sell the most tickets, it frequently has to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Without money, it can’t afford to make family films like ‘Kicking and Screaming’ … about the effect that little league sports can have on suburban families. …

“The film recognizes the growing popularity of soccer among American youth while exploring the comedic potential of parents who are more fanatically competitive than the children whose games they watch every Saturday afternoon.

“The transformation of mild-mannered adults into stark-raving animals may not strike most people as humorous, but the filmmakers manage to make a joke about it. It is exaggerated, in the effort to help us laugh at ourselves and remember that sports are meant to be fun and that it’s a game, not a war. At the same time, however, the film outright vilifies caffeine as the real source of all negative emotions and anti-social behavior, which is itself quite laughable.”

—Matthew Wanniski, writing on “Scoring points with kids and parents alike,” Thursday at www.wanniski.com

Double standard

“As a Muslim, I am able to purchase copies of the Quran in any bookstore in any American city, and study its contents in countless American universities. …

“On the other hand, my Christian and other non-Muslim brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia — where I come from — are not even allowed to own a copy of their holy books.

Indeed, the Saudi government desecrates and burns Bibles that its security forces confiscate at immigration points into the kingdom or during raids on Christian expatriates worshipping privately. …

“The Bible in Saudi Arabia may get a person killed, arrested, or deported. In September 1993, Sadeq Mallallah, 23, was beheaded in Qateef on a charge of apostasy for owning a Bible. …

“If Muslims wish other religions to respect their beliefs and their Holy book, they should lead by example.”

—Ali Al-Ahmed, writing on “Hypocrisy Most Holy,” Friday in the Wall Street Journal

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