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Culture Briefs

- - Tuesday, October 12, 2010

'Pro-life violence'?

"The former director of the Reproductive Services abortion center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has pleaded guilty to charges of making false or misleading statements after telling police she supposedly found a bomb at the abortion center.

"Linda Meek reported on August 13 a bomb had been placed in a trash receptacle, but she told the court [Oct. 7] she purchased an egg timer and placed that in a trash bin and called the local police to report a bomb scare. Officials took the threat seriously and the abortion center and a building adjacent to it were evacuated after Reproductive Services noticed an odd box in the trash bin. …

"[The Associated Press] interviewed pro-life advocates who said they believe Meek was trying to make it appear they were responsible in order to get the pro-life side bad press in the media and have authorities focus on them. Rep. Mike Ritze, a Republican state legislator, said the bomb scare is part of what he considers a growing trend of abortion advocates trying to make pro-life people appear violent or extremist.

Steven Ertelt, writing on "Abortion Center Director Guilty of False Bomb Threat Report, Used Egg Timer" on Oct. 10 at Lifenews

Author, author

"Born in Peru in 1936, [Mario] Vargas Llosa studied in Madrid, saw both the promise and then the cruelty of Cuba's revolution firsthand while visiting as a young man, and became politically awakened watching the injustice of civil war and military dictatorship back home in Peru. …

"It was inevitable, perhaps, that politics would prove enticing. In 1990, he ran for president of Peru as head of an unruly coalition of neoliberal groups and Christian groups, vowing to bring down what was then 3,000 percent inflation through privatization and strict austerity measures and to steer the country away from autocratic leaders. …

"More recently, Vargas Llosa has vocally opposed the left-leaning governments of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Bolivia's Evo Morales and Cuba's Castro brothers, who he turned against after Fidel Castro imprisoned the poet Heberto Padilla in 1971. He has argued passionately against the caudillo in Latin American politics — the strongman who promises to liberate the people and often ends up doing the opposite."

Elizabeth Dickinson, writing on "Latin America's Literary Conscience," on Oct. 7 at Foreign Policy

Mad inspiration

"My earliest memory I think was 'The Katzenjammer Kids.' I think I'm one of them, because they were always playing tricks on the adults. They were setting off firecrackers when the old captain was asleep after the old captain had punished them for something. They were naughty and mischievous.

"I think Mad magazine's original approach was mischievous. You can use that kind of thing in making fun of politics or anything. Mischief kind of takes the edge off just hard-hitting, in-your-face kind of stuff. I think throughout my life I've reflected that in my comic-book writing and my drawings. They're similar to that.

"And of course Rube Goldberg, I admired him greatly because of his silly inventions, and I went on to do a lot of silly inventions of my own for Mad magazine, the silliest part of course being that some of them actually were produced by, patented by other people and actually made."

Al Jaffee, interviewed by Keith Phipps on Oct. 11 at the AV Club