- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2001

P.C. C.S. Lewis
"Literary scholars and fans of The Chronicles of Narnia fear that a deal between a publisher and the estate of author C.S. Lewis to create a new series of the childrens classic will expunge the earlier books allusions to Christianity.
"'They are taking away the integrity of the book. It just sounds like the publishing company wants to make gross amounts of money, said Mark G. McGowan, co-ordinator of the Christianity and Culture program at the University of Toronto. 'There is a temptation now to edit and seriously strip away anything that is deemed politically incorrect in books.
"The publisher, HarperCollins, revealed plans to create the new novels and plush toys after J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter series created an appetite in young readers for similar books. …
"'Obviously this is the biggie as far as the estate and our publishing interests are concerned, wrote a San Francisco executive in a leaked HarperCollins memo. 'Well need to be able to give emphatic assurances that no attempt will be made to correlate the stories to Christian imagery/theology. …
"'Lewis was a Christian whether people like it or not, and he wrote from a Christian perspective, said Reverend Roger Stronstad, publisher of the Canadian C.S. Lewis Journal."
—Heather Sokoloff, writing on "New Narnia books drop Christian ethos," the National Post Online (www.nationalpost.com), posted June 4

Manufacturing hits
"So lets give a big shout-out to the American people once more for their good sense. They tuned in to the first show [of 'The Weakest Link] in huge numbers, true, and NBC thought it had a monster hit on its hands. …
"But the audience has shrunk steadily in the weeks since. Unlike 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, the ratings sensation that begat the new game-show craze, 'The Weakest Link is annoying America. And why? Because of that host, Anne Robinson, and that obnoxious catchphrase. Maybe Brits dont mind inviting a game-show host into their homes who does nothing but abuse the contestants, but we sure do. …
"NBC did all it could to force America to be cow-like and obedient to its hypnotic PR spell. America isnt so easily hypnotized. Conservatives would do well to remember that next time we all salivate with rage when we hear the Pavlovs bell of marketing controversy ringing, amplified though it may be by the pop-media megaphone."
—John Podhoretz, writing on "Jeers to You, Mrs. Robinson" on National Review Online Weekend (www.nationalreview.com) , posted June 9

Strange delivery
"The crooner Tony Bennett said of this 'high priestess of swing (Harpers Bazaar) that 'she didnt sing anything unless she had lived it. But to Billie [Holliday] the song ['Strange Fruit] brought only grief. What did the words mean? 'You wants me to sing it, she said. 'I sings it. The anger in her delivery sprang from others pressuring her to sing words that discomfited her. She kept asking what 'pastoral was. Yet when she sings that phrase, claims the jazz critic Benny Green, 'civilisation has said its last word about the realpolitik of racial discrimination. Legend has it that into 12 lines Billie Holiday crammed the whole of the aforementioned civilisation: race, cruelty, war, love, slavery, humanity, history, platitude, all are here. 'All she did, commented the composer Ned Rorem, 'was simply close her eyes and throw her head back.
"Meanwhile down at the New Yorker Pauline Kael was saying that the songs dying fall 'flicks you like a whip, and Studs Terkel up in Chicago was comparing the ultimate line ('Here is a strange and bitter crop) to Munchs womans scream in the painting, at long last audible. It also apparently sexed up its liberal listeners. The nightclub owner, Barney Josephson, shrugged and called it (improbably?) agitprop.
—David Hughes, writing on "The Song Which Had Everything," in the Spectator, May 19 issue

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