- The Washington Times - Monday, May 26, 2008

Police image

“In ‘The French Connection,’ Det. Popeye Doyle had this very cynical, harsh, rough, law-breaking type of drug style that sort of set the tone in how street narcotics guys work. Very flippant. What the movie didn’t pick up, and what you didn’t see, is all the intense surveillance and hard work that would go into a drug bust back then. But they put out the idea of this guy who cracks heads, especially in that scene where they went and they shook the bar down. That became iconic. And that is the way the cops were afterward.

“I mean, you’d see white cops in black neighborhoods looking like Serpico, and they’re not undercover. It was just this mind-set that took over of how you’re supposed to dress and act and the way you’re supposed to be.

“ ’The Godfather’ had a similar effect on the other side. It basically taught these emerging heroin gangs how to do business, how you set up your structure, with the code and the organization, the way you should have a boss, under-bosses — you know, capos.”

Ed Burns, in the interview “30 Years of Failure” by Radley Balko, in the June issue of Reason

Athlete image

Writers and fans alike no longer get to know the object of their affections in a way they did years ago. Athletes see us as their adversaries, not as allies in their achievements. They are as much celebrities as rock stars and Hollywood actors are. They live insular lives behind a wall of publicists, agents and lawyers. … We can only gawk at them as if at an exotic, endangered species at a zoo. …

“Athletes used to be like us, only with a talent. Now it’s their reclusiveness, their celebrity, and their sense of entitlement that distances them from us, not just their talent. If Alex Rodriguez would let his fans know him instead of hiding behind a manufactured image as Dudley Do-Right, then maybe we would all be more forgiving of his foibles on the field and off.

“We wouldn’t curse him so vehemently after another strikeout in a clutch situation, and we wouldn’t take so much perverse delight in his being caught with a blonde outside a Toronto strip club. A-Rod would be a person to us then, one who deserved more consideration than he does now, as an image.”

Pat Jordan, writing on “Josh Beckett Won’t Return My Phone Calls,” on May 22 at the webzine Slate

National image

“It is perhaps not so surprising, then, that French Muslim immigrants are better integrated culturally than British ones. Pew Center research shows that six times as many Muslims in France as in Britain consider their national identity more important than their religious one: 42 percent versus 7 percent. …

“Muslims in France also are much less distinguishable from the rest of the population … In the Muslim areas in France, you may notice something different about the people, but you do not think, as increasingly you do in Britain, that the population of the North-West Frontier has moved en masse to the inner cities or suburbs. And this greater cultural assimilation is true, notwithstanding the fact that Muslim areas in France, unlike those in Britain, are as physically separate from many of the towns and cities as the black townships were from the white cities of South Africa.”

Theodore Dalrymple, writing on “A Confusion of Tongues,” in the Spring issue of the City Journal