- The Washington Times - Friday, August 23, 2002

Hometown crowd

"The pope flew away from Poland Tuesday, probably for the last time. Before leaving, he stood at the entrance to his airplane and waved to the tens of thousands of people who had come to the airport to bid him farewell. He sighed and said, 'It's a pity to be leaving.' Then he disappeared onto the plane. Polish TV, which has shown almost nothing except the pope for the past week, kept all cameras glued on the plane until it took off.

"Writing as someone who is neither Polish nor Catholic, I always find it slightly hard to explain the weird hold that Pope John Paul II has over his countrymen. It isn't entirely religious, and it isn't entirely patriotic, although there are large doses of both: When he comes, people hang red-and-white Polish flags and yellow-and-white papal flags from their windows, even in cities he doesn't visit. The vast crowds who come to see him aren't there merely because he is a celebrity either, although there is a bit of that, too: He is, after all, the most famous Pole in the world."

Anne Applebaum, writing on "Papal Bull Session," Wednesday in Slate at www.slate.com


Fear or fun?

"Newsweek critic David Ansen cranked up his rave review for 'Minority Report' by acting bowled over at the 'uncanny' topical parallels between Steven Spielberg's fortune-telling cops, who arrest tomorrow's murderers before they've killed anybody, and the government's real-life roundups of potential terrorists after the World Trade Center attack.

"Most likely, Newsweek's critic was looking for a way to hop on the bandwagon because we all began the summer unsure if it was OK to have fun at the movies again. After all, we weren't supposed to cheerfully go back to turning our synapses into popcorn as if [September 11] hadn't happened, were we? Or were we?

"[T]he overscaled, gadget-happy fireball movies that had been dominating hot-weather box office practically since Britney was in diapers were in short supply this summer.

"[J]ust maybe the biz had a hunch we were getting bored with made-up apocalypses even before Al Qaeda yanked our heads out of the clouds."

Tom Carson, writing on "Summer of All Fears," in the September issue of Esquire


Vicious sisterhood

"As rising college juniors and pro-life conservative women, we came to D.C. to get a taste of possible career paths, gain some good experience and, in some small way, help advance our causes. Naturally, when given the opportunity to attend the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing for Priscilla Owen, President Bush's nominee to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, we were thrilled.

"'The sky's the limit,' our parents had always told us. Well, not quite, it turns out. We realized that day that we have the same problem Justice Owen has: the wrong ideology.

"We found seats among dozens of interns from the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority, National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), and Planned Parenthood, who had come with Ralph Neas (People for the American Way) to reveal Justice Owen's anti-woman agenda. We couldn't understand why their bond of sisterhood didn't extend to Priscilla Owen, but included Sen. Chuck Schumer and Ralph Neas.

"After all, for feminists, ideology trumps biology, and Sen. Schumer and Neas oppose Priscilla Owen for the same reason the feminists seated around us hated her: She upholds the Texas law requiring parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion. In their eyes, anyone supporting this law as 80 percent of Americans do or even merely enforcing it, as Justice Owen does, certainly cannot be deemed a feminist and really isn't much of a woman either."

Sara Butler and Shonda Werry, writing on "The New Glass Ceiling," Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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