- The Washington Times - Monday, August 4, 2008

The right’s Wrights

“Just take a look at the best-selling authors in Christian bookstores. Listen for a minute or two to the parade of preachers on Christian television and radio. What are they promising? Your best life now. What are they preaching about? How to be authentic. How to make good career choices. How Hillary Clinton fits into Bible prophecy.

“How many times have we heard conservative preachers use the Bible in exactly the same way that Jeremiah Wright uses it? Wright uses the Scripture as a background to get to what he thinks is the real issue, psychological or economic or political liberation from American oppression. Others use the Scripture as a background to get to what they think is the real issue, psychological or economic or political liberation through the American Dream.

“Either way, Jesus is a way to get to what the preacher deems really important, be it national health care or ‘your best life now.’ Either way, the end result is hell for the hearer who accepts this gospel, regardless of whether God damns or blesses America.”

-Russell D. Moore, writing on “The Messiah Channel,” in the July-August issue of Touchstone

New new left

“It seems like a very long time - though in truth only a few years have passed - since the most sinister force on the planet that the left could imagine was Nike. In 2001, Time proclaimed that the anti-globalization movement had become the ‘defining cause’ of a new generation, and that the spokesperson for the cause was the Canadian writer and activist Naomi Klein.

“For puzzled outsiders grasping to understand why bands of youths had begun following the World Trade Organization wherever it went, brandishing oversize puppets and occasionally smashing up the local Starbucks, Klein was there to explain. She has always downplayed her place within the movement, but in fact her influence is as considerable as her press clippings proclaim. Her achievement, and it is no small feat, has been to revive economicism - and more grandiosely, materialism - as the central locus of left-wing politics. …

“The distinctive thing about Klein’s style was that it was very Old Left. She had a classic Marxist-materialist analysis, arguing that economic conditions, rather than bigotry or ideology, are what shape the world. … Yet she managed to make the old notions feel new, and to capture the ethos of what was being called ‘the New New Left.’” - Jonathan Chait, writing on “Dead Left,” in the July 30 issue of the New Republic

Worldwide aim

“Though there are more venerable magazines in the US, it’s doubtful whether any other publication has quite the hold on the American imagination of The New Yorker. Born of the literary energies of the early 1920s - Dorothy Parker was the magazine’s first must-read critic - and powered by a kind of provincial awe about living in Manhattan, the magazine has become a byword for upper-middlebrow sophistication. …

“Given that the website has also opened the door to a potentially huge international audience and that the magazine, under his watch, has developed a stronger focus on current affairs, I ask whether he has been tempted to extend The New Yorker brand overseas?

“‘Yes,’ he says quickly and emphatically. ‘The question is to what degree is The New Yorker so sui generis and American that it won’t translate into a successful foreign product. I don’t know but it’s something I want to find out.’”

-Trevor Butterworth, writing on “Lunch with the FT: David Remnick,” in the July 11 issue of the Financial Times

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