Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Musical suicide
“‘Moulin Rouge is another in the seemingly endless series of pictures made over the past 20 years that have attempted to ‘reinvent the Hollywood musical for the contemporary audience. These reinventions all share certain bizarre qualities. They are overproduced and over-stylized, presumably because their directors believe that the only way audiences will respond to musicals is if they are transported into ‘another world… .
“Worse yet, their directors feel compelled to cast principal performers who can neither sing nor dance — a suicidal and inexplicable folly… .
“The talentless singer-dancer in ‘Moulin Rouge is Nicole Kidman, whom we are supposed to believe is the star attraction at the eponymous nightclub-bordello… . Kidman injured herself badly while filming one of the dance numbers, which is understandable, given how awkward she looks. And her singing is really more like exhaling.”
—John Podhoretz, writing on “Absinthe Without Malice,” Friday in National Review Online at

Moral education

“It seems that every week we hear new horror stories of explicit and even perverse sexual material and ‘instruction being imposed on school children in the name of sex ‘education. Many decent parents are literally unable to imagine the weapons by which the innocence of our children is assaulted… .
“The primary responsibility for the education our children receive lies with parents. This means parents have a crucial duty to be informed about and prepared to challenge the whole contemporary approach to sex education.
“At root, the sex-education movement is a symptom of the hedonistic approach to human sexuality that has been promoted in our society in recent decades. The promotion of that hedonistic view of sexuality has itself been the cutting edge of the larger shift toward a selfish and pleasure-seeking philosophy in American life… . Significant and influential segments of American society have accepted this philosophy so deeply that the very notion of moral responsibility is incomprehensible to them.
“Once we accept that there can be no happiness without moral responsibility, we can see that there is no use for sexual passion outside the context of marriage and the responsibility that one takes for both relationship and children. We have a much larger challenge than teaching children how to be sexual beings — we have to teach them how to be moral beings.”
—Alan Keyes, writing on “Reclaiming sex education,” Saturday in World Net Daily at

War and remembrance

“Even our remembrance of war seems to be driven by Hollywood.
“Its creative wells long run dry, Hollywood of late has been resorting to sequels of sequels, cartoons, comic books, Shakespeare and now World War II. There was ‘Schindlers List, ‘Saving Private Ryan, ‘The Thin Red Line and now Disneys version of ‘Pearl Harbor.
“The Navy allowed the studio to premiere the movie on an aircraft carrier. Call me stuffy, but I dont approve of using war machines to hype commercial movies — especially films that have been edited to avoid offending the Japanese. I realize that the attack on Pearl Harbor has taken on a sort of semi-religious air, though I dont know why.
“Pearl Harbor was a victory for the Japanese, not for us. They caught us with our pants down and kicked our butts. Dumb luck saved the day. The carriers were out at sea instead of at Pearl, where the Japanese had thought they would be. If we had lost those carriers, the war would surely have lasted a lot longer than it did.”
—Charley Reese, writing on “Be careful not to glorify war,” Sunday in the Orlando Sentinel

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