- The Washington Times - Friday, August 9, 2002

Frank on film

"When Frank Sinatra died he was hailed as the 20th century's greatest entertainer, 'The Voice' whose legend had dominated pop and nightclub singing for six decades. His Hollywood career was duly noted, but his presence in music so overshadowed everything else he did that his accomplishments on the big screen were given short shrift.

"In reality, few movie careers lasted as long or soared as high as Frank Sinatra's. Over a period of 40 years, he made a remarkable number of outstanding movies and won an Oscar for one of them. He co-starred with everyone from Gene Kelly to Grace Kelly.

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"The young singer from Hoboken, N.J., who, as part of the famous Tommy Dorsey Band, sent teen girls into frenzies in the early '40s, was blessed with more than a great set of pipes. Though gangly and not conventionally handsome, he had a sex-charged charisma so potent the press dubbed its effect 'Sinatramania.'

"But Sinatra knew he wanted to be more than just another 'band singer' and he knew that, ultimately, the movies were the medium that could make him the big star he wanted to be."

Stephen Rebello, writing on "How Frankie Came to Hollywood," in the July/August issue of Movieline

Dads don't count

"This week's 'Dad's rights case' the Pennsylvania battle over whether John Stachokus could legally override his ex-girlfriend Tanya Meyers' decision to have an abortion has launched a thousand overheated conversations, the most striking element of which is this: People, even sensitive, feminist, pro-choice people, empathize with the father.

"[T]his case reminds us of the truth at the heart of reproductive rights law in this country: Women have all the power, and men have none at all. That makes most fair-minded people very uneasy, but there's not much we can do about it.

"[W]hile just about everyone agrees that excluding fathers from these decisions is unjust, no better alternative exists. The womb wins. The courts won't stomach forcing a woman to bear a child against her will.

"The law on paternal vetoes has been settled since 1976, when Planned Parenthood v. Danforth invalidated a Missouri statute requiring that a [married] woman provide the written consent of her spouse before being allowed to undergo an abortion.

"[T]he woman's monopoly on abortion persists because the law just can't overcome our gender-bound bodies."

Dahlia Lithwick, writing on "Dad's Sad, Mad: Too Bad," Wednesday in Slate at www.slate.com

Campus hero

"Walk into the popular music floor of Virgin Records in mid-town Manhattan and at the checkout counter is a surprise: A single book is on display: perennial radical Noam Chomsky's latest anti-American screed, '9/11' an impulse item for the in-your-face slackers of the Third Millennium.

"Strictly speaking, '9/11' is a non-book, a hastily assembled collection of fawning interviews with Chomsky conducted after the terrorist attack on New York City and the country, in which the author pins the blame for the atrocities on you guessed it the United States. But you'd be wrong to dismiss '9/11' as an inconsequential paperback quickie. More than 115,000 copies of the book are now in print. '9/11' is particularly popular with younger readers; the book is a hot item at campus bookstores nationwide.

"Chomsky rolls on in this manner: The West is the Great Satan, the Third World its eternal victim. The World Trade [Center] towers were a symbol of America's gluttony and power. In effect, we were asking for it and are now unjustly using it as a casus belli. If you didn't know better, you could be reading one of [Osama] bin Laden's diatribes. And now a younger crowd is following the Pied Piper of anti-Americanism. '9/11' makes it easy for them. They needn't read it; they just have to make sure the thing is sticking out of their backpacks or sitting on their milk-crate coffee tables."

Stefan Kanfer, writing on "America's Dumbest Intellectual," in the summer issue of City Journal

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