Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Propaganda TV

“For most of the bombing campaign, CNN and the rest of the networks were eager to show footage, either from al Jazeera or from Taliban-escorted junkets, showing Kabul in ‘ruins.’ We saw piles of stones and rocks, which made it look as if Fred Flintstone’s house had been pulverized. The establishment Left, as well as pretty much the entire Middle Eastern world, denounced the ‘destruction’ of Kabul and the senseless slaughter of Afghan civilians.

“Well, we’ve seen two interesting things since independent, less propagandistic cameras were allowed into Kabul.

“First, we saw a largely un-slaughtered populace grateful to have the Taliban gone something we’d been assured wouldn’t be the case when the Afghans united against immoral American bombing. And, second, we could plainly see lots and lots and lots of buildings.

“There is no way you can square the pre-liberation footage of smoldering sandstone rubble and the glass and concrete buildings we’re now seeing every day on TV. Unless, of course, the networks were simply a scandalous transmission belt of misinformation.”

Jonah Goldberg, writing on “Speaking of Missing Something,” Monday in National Review Online at

No kids, please

“Why choose childlessness? ‘A lot of what’s going on has to do with gender and gender role changes,’ says Pamela Smock, a sociologist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. ‘As women rise up the corporate ladder and have higher incomes, they realize and decide that they just can’t do it all, which is a myth anyway. ‘

“Adds David Foot, economist at the University of Toronto: ‘Female education is the most important determinant of fertility. The higher education a woman has, the greater likelihood she won’t have children.’

“0thers remain without children for religious or ideological reasons. ‘They’re well-educated and socially aware,’ says Madelyn Cain, author of ‘The Childless Revolution.’ Cain found a whole group who cite environmental reasons.

“But the vast majority of childless couples say they simply don’t want kids or don’t think they’re suited for parenthood. They wouldn’t like being mothers, don’t think they’d be good fathers or they simply aren’t especially inclined toward having children. Many lack the emotional desire.

“‘Children don’t interest me,’ says Carrieann Lahain, 32, from Central Islip, N.Y. ‘I don’t have the patience that one needs to put up with a child 24/7. And I’m interested in other things that would be squeezed out by parenting.’”

Pamela Paul, writing on “Why ‘Child-Free’?” in the November issue of American Demographics

Lonely lady

“Cher may have the best face and body money can buy, but, alas, money cannot buy her love.

“‘I’ve been single for three years,’ the ex-Mrs. Bono tells the U.K. Sun. ‘It’s hard for me to meet people. And I don’t know if I’ll meet my Mr. Right, but it doesn’t worry me.’

“This despite the fact that, even if the perfect guy does come along, he might not have the [nerve] to make his move. ‘It’s hard for men to be Mr. Cher because of the circus that surrounds me,’ she explains. ‘Men seem intimidated by me and it’s hard for them to chat me up I think they’re scared.’

“And she’s not the only femme fatale who’s found herself frightening off the fellas. ‘I remember me and Michelle Pfeiffer were in a club one night and we desperately wanted to dance,’ she says. ‘We were waiting and waiting for men to ask us, and we waited and waited, but nobody had the courage.’

“But ultimately, she suspects that mere mortals may not be the answer. ‘That’s why celebrities end up dating other celebrities there’s not that intimidation.’

“Then again, she says, ‘I don’t miss men.’”

Amy Reiter, writing on “Cher and Cher alone,” Monday in Salon at

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