- The Washington Times - Friday, June 9, 2000

Telling contrast

" 'American Beauty' is not really interested in the complexities of human interaction. The characters are stereotypes: the bored suburban father in mid-life crisis, the hysterical success-driven wife, the jaded teen… .

"Contrast 'American Beauty' with Walker Percy's 1961 masterpiece 'The Moviegoer,' a novel that is convincing as a metaphor for America and our fall from grace. Percy's hero, Binx Bolling, like Lester, is adrift in a conventional sort of life and is similarly awakened to the possibility of something more; Binx calls it 'the search,' and the memory that brings it to his mind is a near-death experience in war, the sort of thing that makes a man think about the Big Questions… .

"Because it ends too early and too easily, 'American Beauty,' despite its claims to diagnose the problems of suburban America, can really only point to What's Wrong with Itself. We can only hope that the film version of 'The Moviegoer,' now in production, will stand up to the closer look that reveals 'American Beauty's' flaws."

J.A. Hanson, writing on "Only Skin Deep," in Re:Generation Quarterly

Media blackout

"If gay activists have their way, the dark side of homosexuality will remain in the closet. They stifled efforts to promote [the ex-gay seminar] 'Love Won Out' in Tampa, crashing a Focus [on the Family] press conference and launching a phone campaign against advertisers. A radio station promptly pulled seminar advertisements and apologized to listeners. An outdoor media company, Eller Media, abruptly canceled a Focus order for $5,000 worth of bus shelter posters.

"Some churches have been intimidated. Focus had to move a planned seminar in southern California after more than a dozen churches refused to host the event. In Dallas, ex-gay groups called at least six churches before they found a willing host… .

"Gay activists decided to ignore that Dallas seminar, and so did the local media. Despite four billboards, radio announcements, press releases and phone calls to six religion editors, the Dallas Morning News didn't report on the seminar. The only journalists who did show up, from Channel 4 News, promptly asked if there was a gay rights protest to cover. There was not, and footage of the seminar never made it onto the evening news."

Candi Cushman, writing on "Will love win out?" in the June 10 issue of World

Unneeded remedy

"In a recent speech concluding his two-day 'school reform tour,' President Clinton offered his opinions on home schooling, suggesting that, in his mind, even successful private endeavors should not go unencumbered by government impositions.

" 'If you're going to [operate a home school],' Clinton remarked, 'your children have to prove that they're learning on a regular basis, and if they don't prove that they're learning, then they have to go into a school either into a parochial or private school or a public school.'

"This is truly a case of government's attempting to create a remedy for a problem that does not exist… .

"Home-schooled students typically come from families with above-average income, high educational achievement, intact marriages and a strong dedication to education. The reality, verifiable by anecdote and standardized test alike, is that in every academic area, home-schooled students are far surpassing students enrolled in government schools… .

"Home-schooling parents don't take a dime from taxpayers and don't impose their educational methods on others; their children are certainly not gunning down other children."

Isabel Lyman, writing on "Home schooling and histrionics," in Sunday's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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