- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Romantic swing

"Swing … gives voice to a wholesome sort of romance, usually suffused with a lover's respect and admiration for his love.

"In fact, several of the most popular songs of the Swing Era were romantic ballads like Duke Ellington's 'Sophisticated Lady' or his 'I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good.'

"Robert Bork praised such songs in 'Slouching Toward Gomorrah' when he contrasted the lyrics of the jazz classic 'The Way You Look Tonight' with those of Snoop Doggy Dogg's 'Horny.'

"But the romantic side of swing is not limited to lyrics, nor to the chivalry and gallantry … [of] swing dancing. Rather, there is something romantic in the music itself… . A swing ballad moves the listener not so much to lust as to a simultaneously avid and restrained romantic passion."

Hugh Liebert, writing on "It Ain't Got That Swing," in the March issue of First Things

'Harmonious mingling'

"When a 1971 national survey found that 31 percent of the Jews who had married during the preceding five years had Gentile spouses, the findings were ridiculed as exaggerations and then ignored… .

"But only in the past decade … has the sheer scope of the problem come to be a subject of widespread discussion… . [T]here is general agreement that intermarriage rates are at an all-time high, ranging somewhere between 43 [percent] and 52 percent… .

"Until as late as the 1950s, various forms of discrimination continued to obstruct social contacts between American Jews and their neighbors… . Not surprisingly, the collapse of barriers has facilitated mobility, and mobility has facilitated intermarriage.

"But there is more: Today, the American ethos not only sanctions intermarriages across religious and ethnic lines, but subtly encourages them… . How better to show the harmonious mingling of America's heterogenous population that through the union of individuals of diverse backgrounds?

"Indeed, it is often those who resist the trend who are now on the defensive, called upon to explain what could possibly be wrong when people from different religious or ethnic groups fall in love and marry… .

"Given this attitude … it is hardly surprising that many Jews, especially younger Jews, no longer consider it particularly important that they seek out a Jewish mate. A 1998 Los Angeles Times poll found a mere 21 percent of single Jews stating they would marry only someone who was Jewish; 57 percent said the religion of a prospective spouse would not matter at all."

Jack Wertheimer, writing on "Surrendering to Intermarriage," in the March issue of Commentary

Hatred and hypocrisy

"For most young people today, the shape of your eyes or the color of your skin mean nothing, nor should they. Racism to them is an anachronism. It's as remote to them as eight-track tapes.

"Yet, when we look for guidance to many of the so-called 'civil rights leaders' today, we get the same hatred and division that [Martin Luther] King sought to heal four decades ago… .

"We get supposed 'civil rights champions' raving for the TV cameras about how conservatives engaged in 'Nazi tactics' to win the election by conspiring to target Holocaust survivors, women and minorities with 'voter suppression' and 'massive disenfranchisement.' …

"What's so harmful and hideous about all this isn't that it's racism but that it's politics and personal ambition disguised as racism by people who should and do know better. It's hypocrisy of the highest order, because it perpetuates the kind of hatred, racism and class division that it pretends to expose and extinguish… . It undermines and denigrates the honest pursuit of equality."

Charlton Heston, National Rifle Association president, writing in the March issue of America's First Freedom

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