- The Washington Times - Friday, December 21, 2001

Fantasy yearning

"Twenty years ago, as a teen, I first read 'The Lord of the Rings.' Today I will see a big-budget movie adaptation of my favorite novel.

"I can only hope that people will like the movie enough to read the books. They will discover a secret: that Tolkien's works are among the literary masterpieces of the 20th century.

"Certainly, there are colleagues of mine who would disagree. To read Shakespeare is respectable, but if you read Tolkien, well, aren't you supposed to outgrow it?

"Unfortunately, among much of the literati, there's a belief that fantasy literature is something less than what the classics of the Western canon teach. You know, fantasy is just escapism. But it's also about the search for truth and for our place in the world, a yearning that has only heightened since September 11."

Kurt Lancaster, writing on "Why fantasy 'Rings' true," in Wednesday's Christian Science Monitor

No second thoughts

"At 8:45 a.m. on September 11, my 14-year-old son stood on the fourth floor at Stuyvesant High School, a few blocks from the World Trade Center, and watched the second hijacked plane hit one of the Twin Towers. When the first tower collapsed, the lights went out in Stuyvesant; the school shook.

"My son said little when he finally arrived home that day. But he did take a stand. He removed the curtains from one of our apartment windows and draped it with a large American flag.

"The leftist writer Katha Pollitt's daughter, like my son a Stuyvesant student, also concluded that the best response to September 11's infamy was to show the flag. But she got a determined parental veto. Pollitt wrote of instructing her daughter that 'the flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war.'

"The September 11 attacks brought the radical Left up against an acute political dilemma. Was this not the time to put aside differences and support the effort to eradicate this mortal threat to the only civilization that even bothers to discuss the Left's concerns? But most of the radical Left had no second thoughts about its deeply ingrained anti-Americanism.

"If Mohamed Atta had been off target by just 100 yards, my son and Pollitt's daughter might have been among the first victims. Yet just at this moment, Pollitt decided that patriotic sentiments were 'off-limits' in her home and that her daughter needed further instruction on America's eternal sins. To paraphrase their patron saint, Pollitt and her fellow radicals have been repeating their mistakes of the '60s, first as tragedy, now as farce."

Sol Stern, writing on "Showing the Flag," in the Autumn issue of City Journal

Disappointing fame

"People are shocked when they meet me, because they expect me to be some wired guy who's always on and trying to score. And I'm not that at all. I learned early on I don't want to be that guy who's just sitting watching other people have real connections and waiting for his chance to say something funny. I think that's so incredibly sad, because you never get really involved. I probably recognize it because I was it, at a certain point.

"So what you do is decide, OK, I'm going to be something, I'm going to make myself something wonderful. And you go after fame and money and everything else, everything that makes you seem special, and you get it. And it is such a complete disappointment in that regard, because all that ever matters in your life is what you feel about yourself. So you get disappointed with that initially. You go, 'Oh, well, that didn't fill that hole.' You've got that hole you're left with by whatever your parents couldn't give you. And you try to fill it with fame, and you try to fill it with money, and you try to fill it with whatever. Some people try to fill it with drugs, but it doesn't work. None of it works. You have to mourn the loss and forget it."

Jim Carrey, interviewed by Nancy Franklin, in the

Dec. 17 issue of

the New Yorker

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