- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Material matriarch
"For nearly half of her 42 years, Madonna's every move her haircut, video, lyric, lip-gloss hue, snippy utterance, and tempting-taunting gluteal gyration has been enough to elicit howls from the media.
"The latest chapter in the discourse, Drowned World Tour 2001, marks the first time she has toured since the stripper-chic cabaret of 1993's Girlie Show. So you can pretty much count on a flurry of zany contemplation now that this, her inaugural road show of the 21st century, just made its levitating, nunchaku-flipping, 100-minute stateside debut [Saturday] in Philadelphia. …
"Much has been made of the military vastness of the tour; Madonna's advance team distributes a sheet full of oceanic data about it. … [A]s you chat with Drowned World's cast and crew … you realize that each itty-bitty detail is a manifestation of the matriarch's steely creative will."
Jeff Gordiner, writing on "Tour de Force," in the July 27 issue of Entertainment Weekly

Myth and science
"American liberal orthodoxy states that race as such does not exist. It is a social construction, or a false social labeling, or another fantasy of troglodytes. That's why it's always interesting when science in its neutral, non-political guise crashes up against this shibboleth.
"A story in Saturday's New York Times details the issues involved in making racial or ethnic distinctions in mapping the human genome. Part of the point of studying the genome is to find the origins of diseases in order to find ways to cure them. But certain parts of the human population have slightly different susceptibilities to such things. So what to do?
"Surely Dr. Eric Lander's view is the right one: 'We must make sure the information is not used to stigmatize populations,' the Whitehead Institute scientist told the Times. 'But we have an affirmative responsibility to ensure that what is learned will be useful for all populations. If we shy away and don't record the data for certain populations, we can't be sure to serve those populations medically.'
"Exactly. In this fraught area, we should stop insisting that there are no genetic differences between ethnic and racial groups, and start trying to discern the probably very subtle but also discernible differences. Scientists shouldn't work from an a priori political stance that racial difference is a myth."
Andrew Sullivan, writing on "Reality Bites," yesterday at www.andrewsullivan.com

'Riot ideology'
"In April, when riots erupted in Cincinnati, the national media let out a glad cry: Black rage, that hottest of political commodities, was back!
"The subsequent post-riot drill, perfected over the last four decades, unfolded without flaw: instant discovery of the riot's 'root causes'; half-hearted condemnation of the violence, followed immediately by its enthusiastic embrace as a 'wake-up call' to America; warnings of future outbreaks if the 'wake-up call' is ignored; and hurried formation of task forces promising rapid aid for Cincinnati's inner city.
"'Riot ideology' historian Fred Siegel's caustic phrase for the belief that black rioting is a justified answer to white racism is alive and well in 21st-century America. Riots may be relatively rare, but the thinking that rationalizes them is not. …
"Riot ideology in Cincinnati has had its usual effect. In the month following the riots, violent crime of all kinds rocketed up 20 percent. This is not surprising. Not only did the riot ideologists romanticize assaults and theft as a long-overdue blow for justice, but they demonized the police as hard-core racists. Arrests for quality-of-life offenses, disorderly conduct and drug possession the fire wall against more serious crime have plummeted since the riots, as the police keep their heads down."
Heather Mac Donald, writing on "What Really Happened in Cincinnati," in the summer issue of City Journal

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