- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Radical Al

"I think there were obviously serious mistakes in the way Woodstock ['99] was put on, and that shouldn't be used to condemn a generation at all. How many huge concerts are completely peaceful and fun and never make the news? Altamont occurred a long time ago, and how many concerts have been unqualified successes since then that haven't made the history books? So I don't think that's fair. Now, the Seattle WTO demonstrations were really two separate demonstrations. One was peaceful, respectful, well-organized, forceful in making a lot of legitimate points. And then there was a very small minority of individuals who engaged in violent behavior [in Seattle] that should not be seen as the main message of those who went there to protest. My view is that labor rights and environmental protections must play a larger role in the negotiating process whenever trade agreements are considered. I've made that point. I think we need to give them more emphasis, and I will."

Vice President Al Gore, interviewed by Phil Zabriskie in the October issue of Spin

Kinkade kitsch

"Thomas Kinkade is a 43-year-old northern Californian who the Orlando Sentinel says is the most collected living artist in history. He is known for landscapes, garden scenes and cityscapes marked by a characteristic haze, what his publicity material calls the 'Kinkade glow.' Much of this scenery is given a religious dimension through the titles that Kinkade a born-again Christian appends to it. He calls one recent Yosemite landscape 'The Mountains Declare His Glory,' a scene of garden steps becomes a 'Stairway to Paradise,' etc… .

"It looks a lot like greeting card art, and in fact Kinkade has a deal with Hallmark… . One result is that Kinkade has been reviled as a 'damning indictment of our society.' The art magazine Flak calls him 'insidious' and suggests that his public pose is merely a manipulative stratagem …

"Kinkade is about subculture, specifically the sizable but relatively underserved Christian subculture. Indeed, a reported 80 percent of Kinkade's customers have never before owned an artifact they considered to be art. The Kinkade phenomenon thus joins with such genres as slickly produced religious pop music, specialized cable programming and popular religious fiction in addressing this subculture's needs. Whether this audience in fact owns art after putting down its money for 'The Mountains Declare His Glory' may well be a subject of heated debate for Flak's audience. But it's a moot point for Kinkade's."

Charles P. Freund, writing on "Art in its own light," in the October issue of Reason magazine

'The American Age'

"It has been just over 10 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, but we are in a new age… . [T]oday, events just 10 years old are dim and quaint memories remember the Nicaraguan Contras? Now that we have crossed a great historical divide, events on the other side of that chasm are like ancient history.

"For almost a half century, the West has struggled mightily to spread capitalism and democracy around the world. Now it has gotten what it wanted unbridled market and people power which will prove harder to handle than anyone imagined… .

"Not only is the United States securely the leading power in the world, its advantage is widening. For the past decade, American journalists, politicians and scholars have been searching for a new way to describe the post-Cold War world. It has been staring us in the face: We are living in the American Age."

Fareed Zakaria, writing on "The American Age," in the summer issue of Hoover Digest

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