- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2001

Third-wave Britney

"While Madonna's lyrics matched her looks … these days we get teen-age pop stars who proudly jump-started their careers in 'The Mickey Mouse Club' and still sing safe, if suggestive, lyrics, but who have jettisoned the good-girl looks… .

"In the oversexed … new millennium, no wonder a teen-age girl can fantasize she could dress like a … hooker without having to act like one this, after all, is the positive message third-wave feminism has been deftly propagating to younger generations over the past decade: You, like Britney Spears, can don leather and lace and bat those mascara-caked eyelashes like an adult and still end up with a nice safe boy like Justin Timberlake (the most adored member of 'N Sync, whom Spears is reputedly dating) …

"Third-wave feminists may argue that girls should take agency over their sexuality and tart themselves up if it makes them feel good… . But the Woodstock rapes and Central Park attacks of the past few years have made it clear that despite the sexual liberation of female fashion, [Christina] Aguilera look-alikes in hip-huggers and sports bras will probably get more attention from the bad boys than from the Justin Timberlakes."

Janelle Brown, writing on "Sluts and teddy bears," Monday in Salon at www.salon.com

Satanic fantasy

"For many young readers, the fanfare greeting the publication of 'The Amber Spyglass' in October rivaled that for Harry Potter IV. Publishers delayed this concluding volume in the fantasy trilogy known as 'His Dark Material' … for 16 months …

"Marketed chiefly to teen-agers, the critically acclaimed series makes Harry Potter look like Chronicles of Narnia. 'His Dark Materials' is a direct attack on Christianity, the church and God Himself. Never has an overtly atheistic theme been so successfully peddled to young people.

" 'His Dark Materials' (title borrowed from Milton) purports to recast the story of 'Paradise Lost' but in this version, Satan, with his principle of cosmic rebellion, is the hero …

"In 'The Amber Spyglass,' we learn that God (or the 'Authority') is not the creator, only the first being organized out of Dust … We learn that, after duping countless angels into worshipping him, the Authority has consolidated his power in an elaborate system of myths and laws.

"By now the 'ancient of days' is so senile and useless, it would be a mercy to kill him. That is precisely what happens."

Jeanie B. Cheaney, writing on "Very Dark Material," in the Jan. 27 issue of World

Jackson unmasked

"Jesse Jackson must be feeling fabulous these days. The nation's most recognizable cleric/ politician has been caught … [in an indiscretion]; has been caught lying about it; and is suspected of supporting his auxiliary family with crates of cash from organizational accounts… .

"Here is a black preacher/ politician the most highly visible and powerful black leader in America pouncing on an employee and doing his part to inflate the already alarmingly high illegitimacy rate… .

"Hearing the dogs baying in the distance, this preacher of the Truth attempts to hide behind the Veil of Lies, denying his fatherhood to irksome inquirers… . He confesses only when tracked down by the nation's leading supermarket tabloid …

"What more could a racist scriptwriter desire? The premier moral and political force is unmasked as a philanderer, hypocrite, liar, and very possibly a crook."

Dave Shiflett, writing on "The Rev. Untouchable," in the Feb. 19 issue of National Review

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