- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jewish influence

“[Author Justin] Vaisse is perhaps a little too careful to minimize the role of Jews, or at least of the Jewishness of Jews, in neoconservative thinking. It is quite true, as he says, that it is not ‘ “in essence” a Jewish movement’: not all neoconservatives are Jews, most Jews are not neoconservatives, and neoconservatives certainly do not place ‘Jewish interests’ ahead of ‘American interests.’

“Still, I think that the appeal of neoconservatism to many Jews can be related to lessons that they draw from Jewish history. Neoconservatism can be defined as aggressive support for (classical) liberalism, and it is clear that the fate of the Jews has absolutely been connected to the fate of liberalism. Where free speech, the free market, individual rights, and tolerance flourish, Jews flourish; where they are destroyed, Jews are destroyed. This is one reason why American Jews tend to be patriotic: America has the most durable and deep-rooted liberalism of any country in the world.

“The desire to defend and to extend American freedoms is what leads many Jews to be left-liberals; but it is only a different interpretation of what that same defense requires, and who freedom’s enemies really are, that leads some Jews to be neoconservatives. And there is nothing sinister about that.”


- Adam Kirsch, writing on “Muscular Movement,” on July 20 at the New Republic blog the Book

Salahi influence

Michaele Salahi may insist she and husband Tareq really, really, really were invited to that White House state dinner last November. But at least two of her four co-stars in ‘The Real Housewives of D.C.’ - Mary ‘mother of five’ Amons and real estate agent Stacie Turner - consider them crashers.

“Both women, however, claim the notorious incident that made worldwide headlines is only a small part of the Bravo network’s capital city franchise that premieres Aug. 5. ‘I was just shocked that anybody would have the gall to crash a party like that,’ Turner said via media conference call [last week]. She described her blond cast mate as a friendly, lighthearted ‘social butterfly.’ ‘It’s very clear to us the show is not about the Salahis,’ added Amons.

“Indeed, as if on cue to prove D.C. ‘Housewives’ is heavily about family and charity and local politics and, yes, four other ‘ladies’ in addition to Michaele of the red sari, Amons inexplicably went silent for part of the press conference. ‘Matt just put a baseball through the living room window,’ she announced cheerily when she finally rejoined Turner.

“Awwwww.”

- Annie Groer, writing on “Real Housewives of D.C.’ say Salahi White House Crashing Small Part of Show,” on July 22 at the Republic of Dish

No Christian influence

“Anne Rice, author of a series of best-selling vampire novels and, most recently, fictional accounts of the life of Christ, has taken to Facebook to announce she is no longer a Christian: ‘For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.’

“Later she wrote: ‘As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.’ “

- Joe Carter, writing on “Anne Rice Denounces Christianity,” on July 29 at the First Things blog First Thoughts