- The Washington Times - Monday, July 3, 2000

Bloody 'Patriot'

"Mel Gibson wears a buckskin vest and a fashionable landed-gentry ponytail in 'The Patriot,' but make no mistake: He's playing a gladiator. As Benjamin Martin, a South Carolina widower with seven children who organizes a scruffy, underground rebel militia to fight the British, Gibson gets to inflict damage with just about every weapon available in 1776 musket, dagger, tomahawk and he does it with maximum savagery… .

" 'The Patriot,' as you may have gathered, is not a movie about founding fathers, quill-pen declarations, or Boston tea parties. It's a death-wish revenge thriller posing as a lavishly pastoral historical epic."

Owen Gleiberman, writing on "Lethal Weapon," in the June 30 issue of Entertainment Weekly

More faithful?

"At the beginning of the 20th century, evangelicalism gave up much of its wealth and social status so that it could be more faithful to the gospel. A century later, North American evangelicalism has recouped its lost wealth and then some… . The largest charitable organization in the nation with an annual budget over $2 billion is the Salvation Army, a unique combination of holiness denomination and parachurch agency devoted to human services …

"Contrary to the near-hysterical belief of those who have access to the press, the Religious Right is way down at the very bottom of evangelical priorities. Total 1998 expenditures of all organizations were less than $160 million. This is less than 1 percent of the total that evangelicals spent on parachurch organizations.

"For every dollar we spend on political agendas, we spend nearly $10 on international ministries, almost $13 in Christian book and music stores, nearly $25 on evangelical higher education and almost $31 on evangelical elementary and secondary schools… . The budget of just one evangelist organization Campus Crusade for Christ, at $241 million is more than all the budgets of all Religious Right agencies combined."

Michael S. Hamilton, writing on "We're in the Money!" in the June 12 issue of Christianity Today


"Two very large, scary things jumped out at the nation's children recently. First, there was Disney's new 'Dinosaur' movie. Then teen idol Britney Spears released another pop album entitled, 'Oops I did it again.' That may be as close to an admission of guilt as we'll get from either of them. Both the Disney movie and the Spears persona are violations of nature. In 'Dinosaur,' the ancient reptiles appear to talk. In her music video, the nubile fashion model appears to sing.

"Parents are understandably worried about confusing their children. Disney has been criticized for the alleged scientific inaccuracy in 'Dinosaur,' but sitting through the whole film gives a pretty accurate sense of 65 million years passing. (The Kansas Board of Education has already filed an objection, claiming that the movie takes only 6,000 years.) Besides, we can't prove that cute, talking monkeys didn't help herbaceous dinosaurs survive the meteor showers that plunged earth into a deadly Ice Age.

"Similarly, some consider Ms. Spears's provocative music routines misleading for the adolescent audience she attracts. But Spears objects to that characterization. Striking her signature Lolita pose in the pages of Rolling Stone, Spears whispers coyly, 'I don't want to be part of someone's Lolita thing.' …

"In the jungle of consumerism, we're not going to bring down the T. Rexes of pop culture in a frontal assault. Besides, evolution favors the smart over the strong. Encouraging a sense of humor and a critical sense of the way corporations manipulate us is like eating the T. Rex eggs. It's much safer, and it's much more likely to keep the beast from reproducing."

Ron Charles, writing on "Kids are one step ahead of Britneysaurus," in Thursday's Christian Science Monitor

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