- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2002

Idol fatigue
"When Burt Bacharach turned up on 'American Idol' last week, all of my vague, unexamined instincts against this series suddenly came into focus: Aside from the string of hits he had with singer Dionne Warwick and lyricist Hal David, I've never had much use for Bacharach's overwrought, all-chorus, no verse tunesmithing (yep, I listened to the Elvis Costello collaboration, too). If this was the guy the 'Idol' producers wanted their young minions to emulate well, that cinched it: This show is too cornball by half, and the other half only masquerades as being tough and hard-boiled about making it in showbiz. Its run is just plain too long by a few weeks.
"To judge by the reception it has received, 'Idol' has mass-hypnotized an awful lot of people into believing that the source of true stardom resides in vocalists who can belt out a melody with florid emotionalism and deploy melisma with absurd exaggeration it's as if the only singers these contestants have ever listened to are Whitney Houston and Celine Dion.
"What about you? Are you suffering from 'American Idol' fatigue?"
Ken Tucker, writing on "Idol Nonsense," Tuesday in Entertainment Weekly's ew.com

Strip-mall despair
"[This] raises perhaps my biggest peeve with the free-market side of conservatism: it often yields great ugliness. It's a bit of a clich these days, but it's no less true for it: Driving through strip-mall America can be deeply depressing, especially when compared to the beautiful parts. The accumulating homogeneity of fast-food alleys and cookie-cutter fashion outlets can be numbing after a long drive.
"I know the Wal-Mart 'issue' divides many conservatives. Some love Wal-Mart because it is such a triumph of the free market. Others love it because it so damned convenient. On the other hand, many conservatives hate it for the same reasons. It is such a triumph of the free market that it crushes less-efficient but more valued enterprises. And some hate it because it is so damned convenient and convenience, according to some, is the enemy of character.
"The simple fact is that good things almost always come with bad things I think the fear among American conservatives is if we ever concede that something is bad, someone else will claim that the government will have to do something about it. But that's a discussion for another time."
Jonah Goldberg, writing on "Jonah's Big Adventure," Friday in National Review Online at nationalreview.com

Blame Canada
"They're at it again.
"The anti-American left in Canada was up in arms recently, exercising its perpetual self-righteous indignation against the United States.
"The issue that prompted this latest despise-America outburst concerns Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, an al Qaeda terrorist now in American custody.
"Canadian civil liberty groups and the leftist Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily, are very agitated that the potential murderer's 'rights' may have been violated when he voluntarily delivered himself into American hands from Canadian soil. As a result, they are demanding his release and return to Canada.
"Jabarah is a 20-year-old Kuwaiti-born Canadian citizen from St. Catherines, Ontario, who was implicated in an al Qaeda terrorist plot to blow up Western embassies in Singapore.
"In truth, the Canadian left couldn't care less about Jabarah's legal situation. It's not the violation of this terrorist's rights that angers these professional America-bashers, but rather his presence in the hands of their enemy: the United States. They hate America always have and are willing to do anything to undermine her."
Stephen Brown, writing on "Canadian Fifth Column," Tuesday in Front Page at www.frontpagemag.com

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