- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2002

Godless and childless
"As Europeans fought Hitler's armies to preserve liberal societies and national independence, so Pat Buchanan believes we must wage a 'cultural counter-revolution' to preserve two great goods endangered today: the Christian religion and the European peoples.
"Put starkly, Buchanan argues [in his new book, 'The Death of the West'] that white people are too rich, selfish, godless and guilt-ridden to have children, and so are contracepting themselves out of existence. Now, it's up to the individual to decide whether or not this is a good thing recall Susan Sontag, who considers herself a cell in the 'cancer of the human race' but the empty cradle is there and no honest person can dispute it. …
"Currently workers outnumber retirees in Europe and America by about 4 to 1. At current birth rates, that would drop by 2050 to less than 2 to 1. Of course, such a crushing burden could not be sustained. But 'First World' citizens seem unwilling to raise any more children so developed nations face a choice between mass euthanasia and mass immigration. … The West today (which includes Japan) is self-absorbed and hedonistic literally to the point of sterility. As it is today it richly deserves to be replaced by the poor, fertile peoples of the earth. And it will be."
J.P. Zmirak, writing on "Pat Buchanan Warns of The Death of the West," Wednesday in Front Page at www.frontpagemag.com

Tube time
"Excessive cravings do not necessarily involve physical substances. Gambling can become compulsive; sex can become obsessive. One activity, however, stands out for its prominence and ubiquity the world's most popular leisure pastime, television. Most people admit to having a love-hate relationship with it. They complain about the 'boob tube' and 'couch potatoes,' then they settle into their sofas and grab the remote control. …
"The amount of time people spend watching television is astonishing. On average, individuals in the industrialized world devote three hours a day to the pursuit fully half of their leisure time, and more than on any single activity save work and sleep. … To some commentators, this devotion means simply that people enjoy TV and make a conscious decision to watch it. But if that is the whole story, why do so many people experience misgivings about how much they view? In Gallup polls in 1992 and 1999, two out of five adult respondents and seven out of 10 teen-agers said they spent too much time watching TV. …
"Thus, the irony of TV: People watch a great deal longer than they plan to, even though prolonged viewing is less rewarding. In our … studies the longer people sat in front of the set, the less satisfaction they said they derived from it."
Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, writing on "Television Addiction," in the February issue of Scientific American

Aristocratic actress
"Of arrogance, actress Marlene Dietrich once said, 'On some people, it looks good.' She was thinking of herself, no doubt.
"An American couldn't have gotten away with it. Just as Americans want to believe that every [prostitute] has a heart of gold, so they imagined that beneath this German expatriate's cold exterior was a sultry woman. In reality, she was nothing more than an aristocrat who won over a generous but naive public. …
"The daughter of a Prussian officer who died in World War I, Dietrich's noble roots directed her every step. As a teen, she was already skilled in English and French, the violin and piano, when she shortened her name, Maria Magdalene to Marlene. …
"Now, 70 years after she shot to fame, Dietrich and her persona linger in the public mind. There's nothing real or genuine there, nothing sultry or erotic. … But we can't help but think otherwise."
Lisa Singh, writing on "The Ice-Blue Angel," in the Jan. 28 issue of the Weekly Standard


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