Friday, December 27, 2002

Year of losers
“Showing everybody what a loser you are is the 2002 equivalent of lighting a candle for the firemen. Sure, Ozzy [Osbourne] was big when he was doing cool stuff like biting off a bat head and snorting a line of ants, but as a nonsense-mumbling man who can’t do sit-ups and picks up his dog’s poop, he’s huge. And while Anna Nicole Smith was popular when she was crazy-hot and naked, a winning combo in any year, she’s 20 times as famous as a nonsense-mumbling woman who can’t do sit-ups and picks up her dog’s poop.
“The biggest movie of 2002 was about a superhero who got beat up at school. The biggest romance was ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,’ which I didn’t see but it seemed to involve someone who was fat and Greek and had a wedding, all of which the ads made sound pretty humiliating.”
Joel Stein, writing on “It’s Geek to Me,” in the Dec. 20 issue of Entertainment Weekly

Blind faith
“In a stunning move designed to ‘counter the negative image of Christian fundamentalists,’ PBS officials announced today that they’re beginning production of a lavish two-hour feature, ‘Jesus: Legacy of a Messiah.’ Produced by a convert to Christianity and featuring interviews with gentle, introspective fundamentalist Christians, the production is designed to offset the widespread representation of Christian fundamentalism as harsh, vindictive and unforgiving.
“Don’t check your PBS schedule just yet. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would no doubt be the first to tell you that such credulity and proselytizing has no place on public television. And the idea that they would plump for Christian fundamentalism is, of course, laughable. But in ‘Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet,’ the real-life PBS production running during this Christmas season elements of Islamic faith are presented without question or challenge from skeptics.”
Robert Spencer, writing on “Islam Soft and Hard,” Dec. 19 in National Review Online at

Holiday history
“On Dec. 24, 1971, the New York Times ran one of the first of many articles on a new holiday designed to foster unity among African-Americans. The holiday, called Kwanzaa, was applauded by a certain 16-year-old minister who explained that the feast would perform the valuable service of ‘de-whitizing’ Christmas. The minister was a nobody at the time but he would later go on to become perhaps the premier race-baiter of the 20th century. His name was Al Sharpton.
“Great minds think alike. The inventor of the holiday was one of the few black ‘leaders’ in America even worse than Sharpton.
“By the mid-1960s, [Ron Karenga] had established himself as a leading ‘cultural nationalist.’ That is a term that had some meaning in the ‘60s, mainly as a way of distinguishing Karenga’s followers from the Black Panthers, who were conventional Marxists.
“In 1969, the two groups squared off over the question of who would control the new Afro-American Studies Center at UCLA.
“Karenga was ‘dissed’ [at a Jan. 17, 1969, meeting] by John Jerome Huggins, 23, and Alprentice ‘Bunchy’ Carter, 26. After the meeting, the two Panthers were met in the hallway by two brothers who were [followers of Karenga], George P. and Larry Joseph Stiner. The Stiners pulled pistols and shot the two Panthers dead.
“Karenga certainly seems to have had a low opinion of his fellow African-Americans. ‘People think it’s African, but it’s not,’ he said about his holiday. ‘I came up with Kwanzaa because black people in this country wouldn’t celebrate it if they knew it was American. Also, I put it around Christmas because I knew that’s when a lot of bloods would be partying.’
“Karenga’s criminal past seems to have been forgotten the minute he got out of prison in 1975. Profiting from the absence of memory, he remade himself as Maulana Ron Karenga, went into academics, and by 1979 he was running the Black Studies Department at California State University in Long Beach.”
Paul Mulshine, writing on “Happy Kwanzaa,” Monday in Front Page at

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