- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Supporting parts

"The fashion press likes to pretend that bras weren't seen much on screens until 1985 when Madonna showed off a lacy, racy black brassiere in 'Desperately Seeking Susan.'

"But the truth is the bra has starred in movies ever since Joan Crawford motivated ladies to shelve their dainty, support-free camisoles in favor of the snug new contraptions when she elegantly modeled several of them in 1930's 'Our Blushing Brides.'

"Though the bra was downplayed throughout the 1940s and '50s thanks to the Hays Code, which demanded that ladies cover up, audiences were shocked back into awareness of the bra's screen power in 1960 when criminal Janet Leigh wore a black one in Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho.' …

"The latest example of screen bras setting real life style is, of course, Julia Roberts's dazzling array of push-ups in last year's 'Erin Brockovich.' Whether they're popping out of a tank top or shining through a see-through blouse, these winners dramatically boosted sales of the Wonderbra, push-up bras and the new water bra in the process. Thanks in part to 'Erin Brockovich,' no one gasps now when they see a peekaboo bra on a supposedly well-dressed woman."

Heidi Parker, writing on "Strapped in Hollywood," in the February issue of Movieline

Where are the men?

"I'm alarmed at how long it's taking men to buckle down and get married. When my grandfather graduated from the University of Pennsylvania he was 21 he graduated from college, got a job, and got married. All three things in the same year, and that was routine. It was taken for granted.

"Nowadays, men are bungee jumping, hang gliding, scuba diving and spending a whole lot of money on the weekends. They're never at home because they work five days a week and play on Saturday and Sunday. They're playboys and they don't seem to think about settling down and having a family until they get to be 40.

"Then, all of a sudden, what do they do? They pick out the 20-year-old girls, and they leave all the women of their generation behind. I get tragic letters from fine, godly women who are getting up into their 30s and 40s. Where are the men? Hang gliding and bungee jumping. [The Apostle] Paul said, 'When I became a man, I put away childish things.' "

Elisabeth Elliot in an interview in the January/February issue of Touchstone magazine

Famous failure

"Mary Matalin the Republican political operative-turned-TV talking head announced earlier this month that she would be joining George W. Bush's White House staff… .

"Failing upward is a common form of getting ahead in certain corners of corporate America, but nowhere is the method as sure-fire as it is in Washington. Many of the capital's most recognizable personages sashay through town trailing a long history of [failures]… .

"In this company of stars, Mary Matalin holds a special place… . Matalin first came to public attention as a lieutenant to Lee Atwater … who led George Bush's successful 1988 presidential campaign… . President Bush named her political director of his [1992] re-election campaign… .

"[Husband James] Carville and Matalin are reputed to be crackerjack political operatives. The evidence is slim. Matalin's signature experience was an architect of George Bush's re-election [1992] campaign. Carville went from failure to failure as a consultant until he engineered the upset win of a Pennsylvania Senate seat, after which Bill Clinton plucked him from obscurity.

"In short, one of them helped design what is widely understood as the worst presidential campaign in modern memory, and the other ran against the worst presidential campaign in modern memory and managed to win only 43 percent of the vote."

Andrew Ferguson, writing on "Mary Matalin," Friday in Slate at www.slate.com

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