- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2002

Bruce TV
"Meet the new Boss: The formerly press-shy Bruce Springsteen, who once described TV as '57 Channels (And Nothin' On),' has been popping up every place on the dial short of the Food Network. But despite appearances on everything from 'Today' and 'Nightline' to his doubleheader on 'Late Show With David Letterman,' the 52-year-old rocker hasn't changed his mind about running for the U.S. Senate. As any owner of a TV can now tell you, Springsteen was simply plugging 'The Rising,' his first studio album with the full E Street Band since 1984's 15-times platinum 'Born in the U.S.A.' and a disc packed with songs poignantly addressing the aftermath of September 11.
"Ultimately, hawking 'The Rising' outside the usual music outlets proved smart, since today's youth-oriented radio formats couldn't automatically deliver a hit single for the aging musician.
"Springsteen seems to be appealing mostly to his boomer fans. Even so, MTV exec Tom Calderone says his net is eager to play a video from 'The Rising' (though there are no immediate plans to release one) and has booked Springsteen on Aug. 29's Video Music Awards. 'MTV is taking a snapshot of the pop culture moment, and in this case it's coming from a guy who's been around for a while,' says Calderone."
Brian Hiatt, writing on "Asbury Sparks," in the Aug. 16 issue of Entertainment Weekly

Free-agent politics
"Every election season piles up more evidence that the Cold War party structure has become meaningless. Our parties are coming to resemble sports teams in the era of free agency they have fans who remain loyal, even if the squad has nothing in common with last year's.
"This drifting away from ideological moorings is particularly marked in the Republican South. The belief that migration to the Sun Belt would transform the country into some kind of right-wing bastion has turned out to be wrong. These people are Republicans all right, but not necessarily of a stripe that, say, Ronald Reagan would recognize. [House Majority Leader] Dick Armey traveled to Iowa where he gave a speech that vaulted him to near the top of the Washington antiwar establishment. Saddam Hussein may continue to refuse to let weapons inspectors into his country, Armey said, but 'in my estimation it is not enough reason to go in.' That could have been Paul Wellstone talking.
"In South Carolina, meanwhile, Lindsey Graham, the Cicero of the Impeach Bill Clinton crusade, is trying to get himself elected senator by running as Richard Gephardt. After last week's Senate passage of fast-track negotiating authority for the president, Graham said he wouldn't have voted for it, and set himself firmly in the protectionist camp."
Christopher Caldwell, writing on "New Model Armey," in the Aug. 14 issue of the New York Press

Sci-fi faith
"In 'Signs,' the new film from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, Mel Gibson plays Graham Hess, an Episcopal pastor who loses his faith after his wife is killed in a car accident. Living with his two young children Graham rejects any notion that God is watching over them or that life is anything more than a chain of coincidences. In true Hollywood fashion, his newfound unbelief is so adamant that, of course, we wait for the moment when his faith will be renewed. But because this is a movie by the director of 'The Sixth Sense' and 'Unbreakable,' we don't get the usual routes to renewal. We have instead a movie that blends supernaturalism with religiosity; it's as if the Praise the Lord network had mated with the Sci-Fi Channel.
"What redeems 'Signs' is its occasional overtones of humor. The creature-feature effects and the byplay between the children as they try to be brave have a ghastly, off-kilter funniness, and sometimes Graham's staunch cluelessness has its charms, too. Shyamalan doesn't make movies like anybody else except himself."
Peter Rainer, writing on "Beyond Belief," in the Aug. 12 issue of New York magazine

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