- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2001

Pop culture kids
"Kids today are growing up faster than any generation in recent memory, yet remaining totally cocooned in their peer group.
"'Today, younger-than-ever kids seem to ask their parents and other adults in their life to let them be, [author Ron] Taffel notes. 'Let loose in their own world, young people have no reason to stage an uprising or to rebel against family values. They are … immersed in … the aggregate force of the pop culture and the peer group.
"This is not good. The pop culture may be inventive, but it is scarily vacuous. The peer group may be supportive, but it has very little wisdom… .
"All parents are familiar with the futility of persuading a teen-ager that they do not, in fact, know what they are talking about. But we are further up against an entertainment industry obsessed with marketing exclusively to youth, thereby reinforcing the message … that adults are irrelevant.
"Britney rules, man!
"The problem is that Britney has nothing to teach. But teen-agers arent going to learn that hard truth until later."
—Patricia Pearson, writing on "Teen rites of passage dont lead to adulthood," in Tuesdays USA Today

'Good riddance'

"Vermonts Jim Jeffords is the RuPaul of American politics. For over two decades, Jeffords has been a reliable liberal dressed up as a Republican. Now hes outing himself.
"As a member of the House, Jeffords frequently abandoned his president and his party. In 1981, he voted against the cornerstone of Ronald Reagans economic agenda — significant, across-the-board cuts in marginal income-tax rates. Jeffordss behavior followed him into the United States Senate. He voted for Hillary Clintons national health-care plan even when many Democrats were jumping ship. He voted not to convict Bill Clinton for his high crimes and misdemeanors during the impeachment trial. And most recently, he voted with Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle to torpedo George Bushs $1.6-trillion tax-relief plan… .
"Jeffords idea of 'being his own man involved steadfast support for the Democratic Partys agenda, while caucusing with his Republican colleagues. Theres nothing principled or even honest about this kind of conduct. Jeffords seemed to believe that he was free to undermine his president and party without political consequence… . Good riddance."
—Mark Levin, writing on "Outing Himself," Wednesday on National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Vulgar 'Sopranos'

"'The Sopranos … has been wildly over-praised by middlebrow commentators whose critical judgment is clearly bankrupt. I have yet to watch a single entire episode of that show, which I find vulgar and boring as well as rife with offensive cliches about Italian-Americans that would never be tolerated were they about Jews or blacks.
"What I find especially repugnant about 'The Sopranos is its elitist condescension toward working-class life, which it distorts with formulas that are 30 years out of date… . The critics who have raved without qualification about 'The Sopranos have simply exposed their own bourgeois removal from real life as well as their reactionary attachment to 'plot — which is so mechanically and even neurotically obtrusive in that show that it betrays the authoritarian tendencies of its confused creator, David Chase, who has no instinct for psychology, his own or anyone elses.
"Its not the Mafia theme that I detest, tired and pointless as that is. Its the sickening combination of effeteness in conception and crudity in execution that no major media article on 'The Sopranos has even noticed much less analyzed."
—Camille Paglia, writing Wednesday in Salon at www.salon.com

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