- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 30, 2000

What's in, what's out

Out: Tasti-D-Lite, backwards baseball caps, athletic competitions, Cleopatra eyes, Jane Austen, Celtic music, man-dais, Chex Party Mix;

Five minutes ago: Low-fat Cherry Garcia, head kerchiefs, culinary competitions, silver eye glitter, Henry James, Cuban music, man-clogs, Rice Krispies treats;

In: Blood orange sorbet, Burberry's Bucket hats, hairdo competitions, MAC Chartru Paint, Edith Wharton, Nordic music, man-skirts, ordering Quisp online.

Jessica Shaw in "The Shaw Report" in May 26 Entertainment Weekly

Lost faith

"More and more, an aggressively secular culture seems hostile to [religious] people, and they feel as though they are being driven to the edges of American life. For the first time in our history, many such persons are beginning to regard the American culture of the present as adversarial to them… .

"In the past, Americans always believed that Providence favored their purposes because their purposes were right and they sought to exemplify in their lives and in the country a certain righteousness. Today, however, many of the young have been taught that America is militarist, sexist, racist, imperialist, and bigoted in short, that America is not only not righteous, but even wicked. Many of those who have not fully accepted this characterization of America as evil are nonetheless uncertain about what is good. The things they have always thought to be good are now called 'intolerant,' and they have lost considerable faith in their instincts… .

"Reread the letters that young American soldiers wrote from the field during the Civil War, and then tune in to the youth culture on MTV. Which is the deeper culture, the higher level of civilization? The word goes around among foreign students at American universities, 'Don't associate with the Americans. They don't work hard enough. They fool around too much. They are not serious.' "

Michael Novak, writing on "The Moral Ecology of the 21st Century," in the spring issue of American Outlook

Catholic taboo?

"The first lady advocates an alphabet soup of education programs for poor children. She favors charter schools, public school choice and of course her husband's Goals 2000 legislation. But she says not one word about Catholic schools. Similarly, in his books on education and inner-city ghettos, Jonathan Kozol offers vivid tours of decrepit public schools in places like the South Bronx, but he never stops at the many Catholic schools that are succeeding a few blocks away.

"Why are Catholic schools taboo among those who talk loudest about compassion for the downtrodden? Certainly, the religious tradition of the Catholic schools stands against the liberal agenda on issues like abortion, feminism and gay rights. And many liberal commentators may sincerely believe that the Constitution requires maintaining an 'iron wall' of separation between religious schools and the government. Yet these explanations seem inadequate to explain the total silence, the refusal even to admit that something worthwhile is going on behind the parochial school gates …

"It's hard to escape the conclusion that one of the most powerful reasons liberal opinion makers and policy makers ignore Catholic schools and oppose government aid to them is their alliance with the teachers' unions, which have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of liberal candidates around the country."

Sol Stern, in an essay for the new book "The Millennial City"

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