- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2000

Difficult childhood

"My mother's the type who demands attention without demanding it, and that was what was difficult for me… . My mother would walk into a room and everyone would say, 'You're so fabulous!'
"When I hit puberty, I started trying to figure out who I was, and trying to come to terms with my feminine power. Then you look at your mother, who's got this incredible figure. You're standing there with little bee stings on your chest, saying, 'Well, what about me? Am I pretty? Am I going to have a nice figure? Am I sexual? Am I beautiful?'
"It can be hard being compared to your mom a lot. My mother is such an iconic figure. How do you separate yourself from that? The answer is that you don't.
"It's important to stand up and say, 'This is who I am and what I come from.' And my mother helped me every step of the way. If I wanted to look pretty, she helped me, totally. If I felt alienated from a crowd, she would say, 'This is not important to me.'
"I got over the identifying thing very fast. I accepted who I was and what pod I came from. I didn't fall too far from the tree, and I'm OK with that."
actress Kate Hudson, daughter of actress Goldie Hawn, interviewed by Leslie Bennetts in the October issue of Vanity Fair

Natural nation

"Nature has always been a powerful element in the way that Americans have defined themselves, especially in relation to Europe… .
"If 'nature' was opposed to 'culture,' then a scarcity of one meant an abundance of the other. America may not have been as sophisticated as Europe, but it could claim to be more 'natural.' …
"When Virginian Thomas Jefferson referred in the Declaration of Independence to 'Nature and Nature's God' as the guarantors of America's 'separate and equal station' … he was simply stating what had become the common sense of the matter.
"As the example of Jefferson suggests, the preference for 'nature' dovetailed nicely with a thoroughly modern ethos based upon science, Enlightenment rationalism, and egalitarianism.
"What was 'natural' could be opposed to what was 'traditional,' hieratic, and hidebound, particularly the class of hierarchies of feudalism and the ecclesiastical flummeries of 'revealed' religion.
"A 'natural aristocracy,' based upon natural talent rather than birth, and an easygoing 'natural religion,' based upon universally accessible precepts rather than privileged revelations these, it was hoped, would characterize the emerging American genius. Lacking the European past was an advantage, not a liability."
Wilfred M. McClay, from his new book, "A Student's Guide to U.S. History"

Grandstanding Gore

"For their part, Al Gore and [Sen. Joseph I.] Lieberman have told the entertainment industry that it has six months to clean up its act, or, once installed in the White House, the next Democratic administration will draft laws to compel Hollywood, the computer and video companies, and the music industry to mend their ways.
"Grandstanding about the entertainment industry has been a specialty of Al and Tipper Gore since Al first entered Congress in 1977… . Tipper was part of a congressional wives' club agitating against violence and sex on TV, and then in the mid-'80s came Tipper's famous campaign, abetted by her husband, against explicit rock 'n' rap music… .
"The film director Robert Altman told a British newspaper recently that he feels it will be a 'catastrophe for the world if George [W.] Bush is elected. You won't see me for dust. I for one will be leaving the country and living in France.'
"As an entertainer, he's got the wrong candidate."
Alexander Cockburn, writing on "The Gores' Culture War," in the Oct. 2 issue of the Nation

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