- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 19, 2001

The "stupid" elite
"You may look bad, Bill, but we look just plain stupid." That was the wounded and furious summation of Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen upon Bill Clintons inglorious exit from the presidency. Many questions are raised by that single sentence from a lone writer, the first being: Who is the "we" Cohen referred to? His answer: We is "me and everyone else who has ever defended [Mr. Clinton]. …"
"The fact is that Clinton defenders … are part of a larger collective and are identifiable as such. They are the liberal establishment, the media and political elite. And since the self-assumed intellectual superiority of every liberal elite precludes, above else, stupidity, and — at the same time — the lifes purpose of all liberal elites is to point out the stupidity of others, it follows that the mother of all nightmares for any elite liberal is to find himself in Richard Cohens position, i.e., looking stupid. For eight years, liberals responded to the truism "We are known by the company we keep" by redefining Bill Clinton, at every turn, as worthy of association. They are now surprised to discover that Clintons behavior ended up defining them. What dopes.
"But they are dopes in misery, nonetheless. And if its Bill Clinton who is responsible for their suffering, you can bet the Spode china its Bill Clinton who will pay. It is one thing to have adulterous sex in the Oval Office, to lie under oath, to suborn perjury and to obstruct justice. Its another thing altogether to make the Richard Cohens of the world look stupid. The first series of actions is debatable and defensible, while the second part, the stupid stuff; well, you try that one, mister, and youre dead meat."
—Janet Scott Barlow in "Billy in the Background" in the June issue of Chronicles.

Possible villains
"A massive tome, 'The Sum of All Fears finds Jack Ryan, middle-aged and drinking heavily, office-bound as a deputy director of the CIA. Peace has just broken out in the Middle East, but a cabal of Arab militants, German radicals and an angry Native American are determined to bring an end to the harmony by refurbishing an old nuclear bomb, secreting it into the U.S., and exploding it at the Super Bowl.
"Akiva Goldsman ('A Time to Kill), the first writer to tackle the project, began by pruning away all the underbrush. … As the project developed, the Middle East plot machinations were dropped in favor of a new villain, a German neo-Nazi. 'The major problem was finding the right villain, [the producer explains]."
—Gregg Kilday, writing on "They Dont Know Jack … Ryan," in the July issue of Premiere

Not all marketing
"You cant create a cultural phenomenon through marketing, no matter how much money you spend. Hollywood can get people to sample its wares, but not to swallow them whole and come back for more. The latest proof is 'Pearl Harbor, which has received more coverage than any movie since 'Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace. This wretched movie made a huge amount of money its first weekend, but box-office receipts dropped 50 percent in its second. …
"Now consider the fate of a kids movie released this spring called 'Spy Kids. … It got little media attention. But this $15 million movie has already made more than $100 million, and will make another $100 million or more when it is released on video and DVD. Why? Because 'Spy Kids is terrific, sporty, inventive entertainment — which the kids figured out from the commercials and trailers they saw. So they bugged their parents, they went, they and their parents loved it, and they went back and back and back.
"Thats a real pop-culture phenomenon, a triumph of the free market. The only thing manufactured was the movie itself; the audience enthusiasm was real."
—John Podhoretz, writing on "Jeers to You, Mrs. Robinson" on National Review Online Weekend (www.nationalreview.com), posted June 9

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide