- The Washington Times - Monday, November 7, 2005

It’s about her

“Maureen Dowd’s penchant for provocative overstatement has found its most recent outlet in a much talked about excerpt of her new book, ‘Are Men Necessary?’ in the New York Times Magazine. In it she bemoans a perceived return of 1950s values and courtship rituals and portrays a younger generation of women as grasping, shallow housewife wannabes. … In the most inflammatory and intriguing passages, she claims that men are put off by women in power, that they prefer the women who serve them — maids, masseuses, and secretaries — to their equals. She attributes the fact that she is unmarried to her powerful position as an op-ed columnist at the New York Times. …

“As Dowd would have it, men simply find her intelligence, her status, her wit too daunting. … But is it possible that there is something else at play? … Dowd uses her experience with men as template for her theories so often, and marshals her failure to marry as evidence so frequently, that she herself raises the question in her reader’s mind.”

— Katie Roiphe, writing on “Is Maureen Dowd Necessary?” Wednesday in Slate at www.slate.com

The God market

“Here is how Christians can change Hollywood, according to Jonathan Bock: ‘Go to more movies.’ …

“[H]ere is his reasoning … ‘If Christians would go as a demographic bloc to a movie on opening weekend, we could make that movie a hit. And the studios would make more films just like it.’

“The movie industry has been in the economic doldrums. … But 43 percent of Americans are church-goers, many of whom find themselves mocked and their values undermined in the typical Hollywood fare. But when Christians found a movie they liked — ‘The Passion of the Christ’ — they made it the third-biggest moneymaker of all time, last year accounting for one-fifth of the movie industry’s total profits.

“Mr. Bock quotes Disney mogul Michael Eisner: ‘We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective.’ If this is true, Christians can use the power of the marketplace to influence the marketplace of ideas.”

— Gene Edward Veith, writing on “Viewers with a viewpoint,” in the Nov. 5 issue of World

Catholic court

“In 1994, the eminent evangelical historian Mark Noll wrote a scorching polemic about his own religion called ‘The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.’ The book lamented the ‘intellectual disaster of fundamentalism’ and its toll on evangelical political and theological thought. …

“Evangelicals began aggressively reaching out to Catholics for intellectual aid. That movement reached its apotheosis with the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. With his addition to the ranks of Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and John Roberts, all five members of the Court’s conservative majority would be Catholics. …

“[T]he emergence of the Court’s Catholic bloc reflects the reality of social conservatism: Evangelicals supply the political energy, Catholics the intellectual heft. …

“Evangelical politicians began borrowing John Paul II’s ‘culture of life’ critique of abortion — a phrase that they also deployed during the Terri Schiavo controversy.”

— Franklin Foer, writing on “Brain Trust,” in the Nov. 14 issue of the New Republic

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