- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Cultural terrorism

"The great Buddhas of Bamiyan, now being pulverized by the fanatical Taliban regime in Afghanistan, have gazed across a valley high in the Hindu Kush mountains for more than a millennium and a half. Carved into the cliff-face … they have been rightly described as wonders of the ancient world… .

"These universal treasures are now being attacked with rockets and artillery at the behest of Mullah Omar, the de facto head of the Taliban regime that controls most of Afghanistan. This explicit official order for destruction makes the assault arguably the worst case of cultural terrorism this century, one that should make historians and lovers of art wish there were a vigorous form of 'archaeological intervention' available, along the lines of international humanitarian intervention… .

"Unfortunately, while the rocketing of the Buddhas of Bamiyan is the worst, it is neither the first nor the only recent attack on Afghanistan's once-rich cultural heritage. The [1979 Soviet] invasion … allowed widespread looting of archaeological sites to supply the art markets of the West."

Norman Hammond, writing on "Cultural Terrorism," in Monday's Wall Street Journal

Rosie's closet?

"Has Rosie O'Donnell been outed by New York magazine? …

"O'Donnell 'regularly regales her viewers with personal tidbits about her children and her home … but she never mentions the woman who constantly appears at her side in public,' an essay in the magazine asserts… .

"New York editor-in-chief Caroline Miller denies any outing. 'The fact that Rosie is gay has been written about extensively in the tabloid press and, to our knowledge, she has never complained about that… . The piece is … a reflection on how reporters censor what they know, and often what much of the public already knows, when it comes to covering gay celebrities.' …

"O'Donnell's spokeswoman says that Rosie and her girlfriend 'never hide away. Rosie's sexuality has never been important to her and it's not going to be now. I don't think it's important to her public. She is what she is.' "

from "Life Thru Rosie-Colored Glasses" in Friday's New York Daily News

Bye-bye, Barbra

"Barbra Streisand was on TV last month? Didja see it? Neither did I. Nor did anybody else. The blowsy diva's farewell concert … tanked the Fox network's ratings for the February sweeps… . Fox blew off its young viewers and tried to embrace the 'Murder, She Wrote' crowd, whose demographic value to advertisers is roughly akin to the intellectual value of Streisand herself to any discussion more complex than the aesthetic merits of chiffon.

"Good riddance to Barbra Streisand… .

"Streisand is, of course, a political thinker without peer (unless you count squirrels). She is the Leo Strauss of the benighted class. With a half-cocked something to say about everything from environmentalism (it's good) to education (very important), Streisand's drooling pronouncements make those of Alec Baldwin seem nearly enlightened.

"And she is rarely impeded by the distractions banalities like accuracy and truth that temper the arguments of mere mortals… .

"[She] has opined that George W. Bush 'is not smart enough, prepared enough, intellectually curious enough' for his current job. This from a woman … whose own 'intellectual curiosity' drove her to pursue her education all the way through the nosebleed heights of 'honor student' at Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, N.Y… .

"She is anathema not only to conservatives, but also to anyone else who believes that sentient thought ought to be at least a minor element in the work of political persuasion."

Michael Long, writing on "The Bimbo of Tides," Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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