- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2001

New York, New York

"New York is the world's biggest anti-dollhouse. It's a vast screwball comedy of a place. The city is at war with the suburbs, which are at war with the countryside, which is at war with the city… .

"The whites and blacks and Italians and Irish and Jews and Puerto Ricans and Caribbeans and Arabs all have their piece to say. Newspaper headlines come barreling at you in print larger than the top line of an eye chart …

"A New York candidate has to talk about a thousand things race relations, the police, Israel, the papacy, gay rights, Northern Ireland, milk prices, Mohawk land claims, lyrics to Billy Joel songs, the design of bridges to Canada, etc., and talk about them confidently and knowledgeably.

"A candidate in New York will be seen and touched and felt by millions of people; she will be accosted by strangers, confronted by critics, booed in parades, catcalled at rallies, bloodied in the papers, hammered at by people she didn't even know existed and, in Hillary Clinton's case, greeted with 'Go Home!' signs …

"Say this for Hillary, and it's no small thing: almost anything else she might have done with her life would have been easier."

Michael Tomasky, from his new book, "Hillary's Turn"

Thug code

"What we are witnessing is the aftermath of the collapse of the code of the elites, creating a vacuum in which underclass behavior takes on the elements of a code… .

"The code of the gentleman has collapsed, just as the parallel code of the lady has collapsed.

"The collapse of old codes leaves a vacuum that must be filled… .

"Within the underclass, the vacuum has been filled by a distinctive, separate code. Call it thug code: Take what you want, respond violently to anyone who antagonizes you, gloat when you win, despise courtesy as weakness, treat women as receptacles, take pride in cheating, deceiving, or exploiting successfully… .

"If you doubt the impotence of ecumenical niceness, consider the recent reaction to white rapper Eminem. His misogyny and homophobia are a direct, in-your-face challenge to the most central elements of ecumenical niceness, thrown down within an industry that passionately condemns any whiff of discrimination against women or gays when it is done by peers.

"If the dominant minority still possessed a cultural code with spine and elan, Eminem would have no more chance of recording his lyrics than a four-letter word had of getting into Sports Illustrated in 1960."

Charles Murray, writing on "Prole Models," in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal

Millennial brides

"The social changes that have so profoundly reshaped American life in the past half century have mowed down virtually every institution that the traditional wedding once sanctified.

"To stage a white wedding as the form originally was conceived requires a woman young enough that her very age suggests a measure of innocence, the still-married parents who have harbored her up to this point, and a young man of like religious affiliation who is willing to assume responsibility for her upkeep.

"Trying to pull off this piece of theater in light of the divorce culture, the women's movement, the sexual revolution and the acceptability of mixed and later marriages threatens to make a complete mockery of the thing.

"It's like trying to stage a Nativity pageant without a baby and a donkey: You can do it, but you're going to need one hell of a manger.

"The modern bride … is, after all, the daughter of one of the most profound cultural shifts in American history, and this is part of her birthright: the freedom to sample, on an a la carte basis, the various liberties that young womanhood offers.

"She can gratefully accept a handful of condoms from her guidance counselor and also be assured that no one will laugh when she shows up at her wedding, on her father's arm, wearing a floor-length beaded white gown."

Caitlan Flanagan, writing on "The Wedding Merchants," in the February issue of the Atlantic Monthly

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