- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Family films
"Hollywood likes to appeal to teens because they are predictable. Put in a film rebellion against parents, an inappropriate boyfriend, some explosions and jump-out-at-you scares, or bodily-function humor (preferably with a post-modern ironic spin) and you're on your way to a blockbuster. Many of the past decade's big hits, from 'Titanic' to the 'Scream' series, 'The Blair Witch Project' and 'American Pie,' fit the category.
"But this year, something quietly revolutionary is going on at the box office. For the first time since the movie-rating system was introduced in 1969 it appears that the four top-grossing movies released in 2001 may fall into that most neglected of categories, the family movie.
"It is even possible that two or three of these movies will be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. If one wins maybe 'The Lord of the Rings' it will be the first family movie to win since 'Oliver' in 1968."
Nell Minow, writing on "Family fare makes box-office hits," Thursday in USA Today

Nazi philosophy
"As [author Richard] Wolin presents it, all of the 'children' [of German philosopher Martin Heidegger] tended to view the worst features of 20th-century life the bureaucratic administration of death camps, the environmental threats of technology, mass social conformity as the natural extensions of modern democratic ideals. Some even flirted with antidemocratic visions of rule by a philosophical elite.
"After the late 1980s, when archival research first exposed the depths of Heidegger's longstanding faith in what he called the 'inner truth and greatness' of National Socialism, many observers assumed nonetheless that his philosophy would remain untarnished. But the situation with Heidegger, Wolin argues, was not so cut and dried. For Heidegger, the most primal aspect of our existence was the practical business of caring for ourselves in the world, the timebound particulars of our life-and-death decisions. This is why [Herbert] Marcuse, in a stern letter to Heidegger about his Nazism, wrote that 'we cannot make the separation between Heidegger the philosopher and Heidegger the man, for it contradicts your own philosophy.'
"Heidegger looked at cosmopolitanism, the rights of man, the rise of science what he took to be the social and political counterparts of Western logic and reason and saw nothing but the vulgarities of mass society and a soulless technology that had supplanted a once glorious soldier ethic. Authentic Being had left the building. National Socialism would bring it back."
James Ryerson, on "'Heidegger's Children': Sins of the Father," in the Dec. 16 issue of the New York Times Book Review

Taliban twist
"Not that it matters a whit to us here in the cool, gray city of love what Frank Lindh, daddy of the Taliban warrior from Marin, does, did or dreams of doing with other consenting adults, but shouldn't he come clean with us about all the facts in the odd odyssey of his son?
"Frank Lindh has been quoted time and again as saying it was his son John's reading of the 'Autobiography of Malcolm X' when John was 16 in 1997 that turned his son's head and heart towards Islam. But something else then going on in the family's life may be have been just as pertinent.
"When Frank Lindh left his family in 1997, it was to move in with a male companion. Yep. The man with whom Lindh lived has since been described as 'a family friend,' but other family friends say the men lived as a gay couple.
"It would take a specialist in family issues to map the constellations of feelings and problems that would describe John Walker's path toward Islam in 1997, but sources close to the family say the father's turn of life from married man to modern gay man startled and flustered the 16-year-old."
P.J. Corkery, writing on "Central Gossip Agency," Dec. 18 in the San Francisco Examiner

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