- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sci-fi heroes

“Thirty years ago this week, ‘Star Wars’ crashed on the screen, and within weeks the film had revitalized the very idea of being a sci-fi geek. You could take a girl to this movie. Twice, even.

“Let’s step back and remind ourselves how the movie changed everything. …

“It had good guys and bad guys, no competing shades of moral doubt, plus lasers. Lots of lasers. It had the best special effects ever seen on the screen, from the complex and kinetic spacecraft battles to Princess Leia’s motionless earmuff hairstyle. Villains? From the moment Darth Vader walked into the hallway and spoke in James Earl Jones’ commanding baritone-of-death, we had the villain for the ages. …

“And what an ending, eh? Han Solo … conquers his selfishness and redeems himself. Luke uses the Force … and blows up Peter Cushing and his Death Star. … The movie could have ended there, but no: It concluded with an awards ceremony. At the shank end of the post-Vietnam, post-Watergate, Carter-era malaise and ennui, [director George] Lucas filmed a movie that ended with a princess giving medals to heroes.

“After a generation of movies with tortured antiheroes who couldn’t order a sandwich without making A Statement, it seemed remarkably fresh.”

— James Lileks, writing on “‘Star Wars’ at 30: Still a geek’s paradise,” Sunday in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Unseeded

“Consider a case now before the Kansas Supreme Court. An unmarried woman in her early thirties decided that she wanted a child and asked a friend to be a sperm donor. He agreed, one thing led to another, which led to a syringe of his sperm, which led to the birth of twins. The mother says that she always intended to raise the kids alone and never wanted the friend involved in their lives. The donor says that he planned to be the twins’ father in name and practice. There is no written contract. What does the contemporary Solomon do?

“Well, in a Kansas trial court, Solomon rules that without a contract the twins have no father. The man who provided half of the children’s genetic material has no more relationship to them than does the taxi driver who rushed their mother to the hospital when she went into labor.”

— Kay Hymowitz, writing on “The Incredible Shrinking Father,” in the spring issue of City Journal

Votes for sale

“Campaign finance regulations have wreaked havoc on the American election system, entrenching incumbents and reducing voter turnout. But the worst may be yet to come in 2008. If news reports last week are correct, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is planning on spending $1 billion to win the presidency. …

“Campaign-finance laws have resulted in lots of millionaires getting elected to office. Wealthy individuals, who can only give $2,000 to someone else who is running for office, face no donation limits to their own campaign.

“For example, Steve Forbes wanted to donate to Jack Kemp’s presidential campaign, and if Forbes could have donated what he wanted, Kemp may have run for president. But he couldn’t, so he ran himself. …

“Jon Corzine spent $60 million of his own money running for the Senate in 2002. …

“While fewer than one percent of Americans earned over a million dollars a year, at least 123 out of 435 members of Congress earned that much.”

— John R. Lott Jr., writing on “Billion-Dollar Bloomberg Run for White House Exposes Flaws in Campaign Finance Laws,” at FoxNews.com

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