- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Spider world

“To enter into the world of Spider-Man is to enter into a four-color fantasy realm culled from the pages of comic books. In it, every building in New York is a skyscraper, newspapermen are all gruff and pitiless cigar-chompers, criminals running from the police encounter chain-link fences with signs that read, ‘DANGER: Particle Physics Laboratory,’ and shy nerds can slip into brightly colored underwear and save the world. Females are strange and mysterious, parental figures have all the wisdom, and day-to-day existence is marked primarily by high-flying adventure and everyday troubles. It’s adult life as simplified and romanticized by 14-year-old boys everywhere.”

— Peter Suderman, writing on “Third Time’s No Harm,” Friday in National Review Online at www.national review.com

Blogophobia

“Violent sexual threats against women writers and bloggers have become something of an issue du jour these days. … But it’s a little bit depressing to hear it framed so often in the same tired old discussions of ‘are women tough enough?’ or ‘are women playing victim?’ Of course women are tough enough for the blogosphere, and of course graphic and violent sexual threats against women are serious. What interests me isn’t so much why some people choose to behave like livestock toward women in the blogosphere (answer: because they can), or even what can formally or legally be done to regulate it (answer: not much). What interests me is whether the blogosphere is different for women, and if it is, why.

“The sniping between the women who insist that men just don’t realize how awful this is and the men who feel silenced and attacked by those women is as pointless as it was when we bickered over the numbers of women columnists, the online objectification of female law students, and pretty much every other tired old argument we have about whether women should run with the bulls or get out of Pamplona. Might we try, instead, to think through the question of why Internet threats feel different to some people, perhaps women more so, and at least discuss whether that fear seems reasonable? … If we can’t ultimately control for the hypersexualized criticism of women on the Web — and I doubt that we can — let’s at least try to understand why an otherwise-tough woman might be terrified by it.”

— Dahlia Lithwick, writing on “Fear of Blogging,” Friday in Slate.com

Founding liars?

“Maybe the authors of the Federalist Papers were liars. Maybe they were just engaged in political propaganda in order to shove through the Constitution. In secret, perhaps, they were plotting a Leviathan state with a president who can do all that the Bush administration claims he can, which pretty much amounts to whatever Bush wants to do.

“If that was the case, they knew better than to advertise it. The Constitution would never have passed. Fear of a powerful president was one of the main reasons that people were fearful of abandoning the Articles of Confederation, which had no executive to speak of. …

“[W]hat if the authors of the Federalist Papers were liars? This is not as crazy a theory as it might sound. Patrick Henry believed that they were, which is why he opposed the Constitution to begin with. It was too much of a risk, he said, to create any sort of president: ‘If your American chief be a man of ambition and abilities, how easy is it for him to render himself absolute!’ ”

— Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr., writing on “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” in the April 23 issue of the American Conservative

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