- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 25, 2001

Working-class heroes
"I loved Saturday night's VH1 Concert for New York, in all its loopy, poignant, working-class excess.
"The politics, the posturing, even the music were beside the point. I've been to enough Irish wakes to understand the tears and laughter, and the crazy ranting that keeps the worst feelings at bay. Paul McCartney and Harvey Weinstein and the other show business mensches threw a party to help the grieving get on with their lives, to remember the dead and celebrate them, too, to say it's OK to live. And they did a great job.
"Who do we think died trying to save the World Trade Center victims that morning, Richard Gere and Ralph Nader? Snotty rock critics? No, they were working-class guys, a vast number of them Irish and Italian, from Queens and Brooklyn and Long Island. Some of them drink too much and vote Republican and lots of them apparently hate Sen. Hillary Clinton, who got roundly booed when she came onstage to feel their pain. But they're heroes nonetheless. They deserve our unqualified gratitude. They deserved a big, sentimental, over-the-top party without any preaching, and they mostly got it."
Joan Walsh, writing on "Salt of the Earth," Tuesday in Salon at www.salon.com

Class prejudice
"When it comes to President Bush, [Los Angeles Times columnist Robert] Scheer seems to have two insights that he repeats endlessly: the President is rich and he is dumb. From global warming to economic policy, Scheer seems to always find a way to return to these two points.
"During a discussion of the importance of Social Security and Medicare, for instance, Scheer sees fit to state that many benefit from these programs, '[u]nless your family happens to be super rich like the president's.' In a column on global warming, Scheer again takes an unnecessary swipe at the Bush family's wealth, making ridiculous generalizations about young people in the process:
"'Here's a guy born with credit cards in his cradle, enough to take him anywhere in the world, first class, who nevertheless pointedly refused to go. Even kids without any money manage to scrape up a few bucks and go see the world, but not young George, who satiated his curiosity about foreign lands with a few beer busts down in Mexico.'
"Scheer's ostensible point here is that Bush 'never seemed to think that there was a world out there worth visiting, let alone saving,' as if a vacation in Europe would necessarily make him more competent in foreign policy.
"Another one of Scheer's insights into Bush's foreign policy is that it 'can more charitably be viewed as the confused performance of a struggling C student.' Scheer's conclusion about the Bush's administration's rejection of many foreign treaties is, again, that the President is dumb: '[I]t is therefore unfair for critics to hold his proposals to too high a standard of logic and sophistication,' he writes. 'After all, this is George W. Bush we're talking about.'"
Ben Fritz, writing on "Scheer Deception," Oct. 8 in Spinsanity at www.spinsanity.com

Isolated moms
"The growing isolation of America's mothers is the clear social trend of the past five decades.
"This growing social atomization explains a lot about the rise of feminism. The targets of Betty Friedan's complaints about the emptiness of suburban life were the supposedly oppressive men who relegated their women to empty lives in plush suburban houses as they hogged all the fun and power of daytime work in the city. But much of what was disturbing the suburban women of the [1950s] though they could probably not have put their finger on it, and in this sense was indeed what Friedan called 'the problem that has no name' was the loss of neighborly networks in those crowded urban enclaves that had been abandoned for the privacy of the suburbs."
Stanley Kurtz, writing on "Living Wisdom and Grace," in the October/November issue of Policy Review


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