- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Babbling Barbra

"Barbra is at it again. Last week the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call published a 'memo' Ms. Streisand recently sent to every Democrat in Congress. It is an astonishing mix of New Age boosterism and Old Left knownothingism, blended into a flaky litany of insults directed at George W. Bush.

"Entitled 'Nice Guys Finish Last' this is, after all, advice from Hollywood Ms. Streisand's opus brings to light the dreariest side of Democratic soft money: the gruesome requirement to suffer rich fools, no matter how chowder-headed their opinions.

"Barbra Streisand is a champion fund-raiser for the Democratic Party. Since 1993, she has … helped the Democrats raise more than $51 million from Hollywood.

"Democrats return the golden favor by indulging her ego and keeping a straight face while Barbra blurts out her opinions… .

"What is amazing is the get-out-of-jail-free pass Hollywood blowhards get from the media. No lefty pop-culture titan is ever held accountable for inaccurate, insulting, or just plain nitwitted commentary. Instead, mouthy celebrities are indulged like precocious but gifted children… .

"Conservatives should get from Streisand's memo what I am sure most Democratic politicians did a good horselaugh."

Mike Murphy, writing on "The Streisand Democrats," in the April 16 issue of the Weekly Standard

'Underlying envy'

"Like most prejudices, anti-Americanism is not usually immune to rational engagement. It's the one fully-fledged bigotry still allowed, indeed celebrated, by the left… .

"Last week, [London Guardian columnist Polly] Toynbee likened the U.S. to an 'evil empire,' equating Bush's America to Brezhnev's Soviet Union… .

"It may be foolish to engage those whose biases seem immune to reason, but what the heck? Nothing the Bush administration has so far done comes even close to justifying this kind of hysteria.

"Something else is driving this panic and it has nothing to do with any rational analysis of America's evolving role in the post-Cold War world… .

"Since the end of the Cold War, the rest of the world has slowly nursed its resentment at American success. For the last 10 years, a deregulated, free-trading, free-market society has left its economic rivals in Europe and Japan in the dust… .

"For a while, Bill Clinton's superb seductive skills placated America's allies and foes with his usual snake-oil charm. But eventually, the underlying envy asserts itself."

Andrew Sullivan, writing on "America the Horrible," in Sunday's Times of London

'Downbeat saga'

"Even for those of us whose closest encounter with a drug dealer has been to purchase a $10 bag of marijuana … 'Blow' may come across as an oddly familiar experience. The movie … traces the ambitious yet downbeat saga of George Jung, the man who, in the mid-1970s, had the daredevil cunning to introduce cocaine at least, on a mass scale into the whirling pleasure carnival of American life… .

"The George Jung we see in 'Blow' is a deft and disciplined opportunist driven by a profit motive the counterculture has barely caught on to. [Johnny] Depp gives one of his ultra-controlled, no-sweat performances, making it all but impossible to separate the character's mondo-cool facade from the actor's… .

"At times, Depp seems to be flirting with disco-era impassivity as a Method challenge. Jung, as a character, never commits an action we don't believe, yet there's nothing remarkable about him nothing screwy or starry-eyed or eccentric that would suggest a hero of tragic or even hauntingly humane dimensions."

Owen Glieberman, writing on "The Bum Rush," in the April 13 issue of Entertainment Weekly

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