- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2002

Monstrous vulgarity
“When you watch a show like ‘Fear Factor,’ NBC’s latest offering in shock reality TV you begin to realize at least part of the reason why the great foreign ‘they’ hate us so much.
“Who in the developing world, where suffering and deprivation are daily bread, wouldn’t hate a people so bored, so creatively resourceless and so overprivileged that they need to manufacture fake torment for mass public consumption?
“Not real torment, mind you, because uncoached, unscripted trials would, of course, be too much like art to make it into prime time. After all, the original ‘Survivor’ could have been like ‘Lord of the Flies.’ But with its airbrushed contestants sophomorically interacting in prefab scenarios unworthy of a sitcom, we got instead an unfunny ‘Gilligan’s Island.’
“I want to shoot these people on sight, so it’s not hard to imagine how your average struggling Punjabi, who would no doubt consider boredom itself a privilege, feels about our sanitized shenanigans. Our pastimes must seem like the petty devilry of an unworthy people who, by sheer accident of birth, exercise the grotesque prerogative of whiling away their lives in shallow distractions.
“The injustice, the vulgarity is monstrous.”
Norah Vincent, writing on “Kidnapped by Drivel, We Invite World Hatred,” Thursday in the Los Angeles Times

After the revolution
“In the mid-1960s, the sexual revolution jettisoned a sexual morality that had been in place for nearly two millennia.
“The sexual revolution replaced this morality, which was the product of Christianity, with an ethic that taught that sex, being a biological or ‘natural’ function, had little to do with morality.
“Sexual acts were no longer moral or immoral. What mattered was whether they were sanitary or unsanitary.
“It was the sexual revolution that took a great and mysterious gift and turned it into the stuff of hygiene class.
“The only way out of this predicament is through the sexual morality that prevailed prior to the sexual revolution. [I]f nearly 5,000 years of recorded history teaches us anything, it’s that men are inclined toward promiscuity and will take advantage of women. What stops them is a culture and a morality that teaches them to do better than that.”
Roberto Rivera, writing on “Consenting To Foolishness,” Thursday in Boundless at www.boundless.org

Status politics
“The ritual of protest at the World Economic Forum in New York ended not with a bang, but a feeble whimper.
“The whole staged farce reveals the hollowness at the core of these protests.
“[T]he protest phenomenon is the expression not of politics but of lifestyle. Like their clothes and their music, the political principles are status symbols, fashion-signs showing sophistication and superiority. In this fashion game political ideals are also commodities, the equivalent of designer labels: Chomsky confers status just as Gucci does.
“In short, for the most part these protesters are bourgeois children indulging the old-fashioned bourgeois pastime of asserting via consumer choices that they are not bourgeois.
“These ‘protesters,’ then, are not ‘dissidents’ offering a viable political alternative, but rather a product of the very capitalism they denounce, implicated in the consumerism that reduces politics to taste, principle to lifestyle.”
Bruce Thornton, writing on “The Court Jesters of Global Capitalism,” Thursday in Front Page at www.frontpagemag.com

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