- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 9, 2002

About nothing?
"'Seinfeld' was not really about how evil humanity is, though it's about that to some extent. The show is really about the joy of charting, in exquisite, unrelenting, almost celebratory detail, the infinitely variegated human interactions that, closely watched, will ultimately tell the story of the disintegration of our species.
"'Seinfeld' watches the four cast members go about their lives, debating the tiniest of life's details: The first lines between Jerry and George in the show's very first episode are a fabulously reductionist sample of Jerry's stand-up humor, as he takes aim at a new dress shirt George is wearing: 'To me, that button is in the worst possible spot. The second button literally makes or breaks the shirt. Look at it, it's too high, it's in no man's land. You look like you live with your mother.'
"What followed was eight seasons of this stuff.
"In the late 20th century, [star Jerry] Seinfeld and [series creator Larry] David argue, man is unmanned and woman unwomanned by these new urges. Once rampant and fecund, we are now epicene and unwanted, not only solitary but increasingly genetically forced into solitariness.
"We don't make war, we shove for position; we don't mate, we bump around in the dark. And in place of the big pictures and magnificent vistas seen by those who built our society, we are obsessed with the small and the trivial, even the microscopic. We are at once appalled by procreation and strangely drawn to the act that produces it."
Bill Wyman, writing on "Masterpiece: 'Seinfeld,'" Monday in Salon at www.salon.com

Fuhgeddaboutit
"The vultures from the Grief Industry have been circling over Manhattan since a certain morning last September. Their work done in Columbine, in Oklahoma City, in all those other places stricken by acts of violence or sudden destruction, they flocked east to New York City, bringing with them their long do-gooder faces and their pious rhetoric about 'healing' and 'bereavement' and 'trauma' and 'spirituality' and 'recovery.'
"One of those vultures landed two Sundays ago in the pages of the New York Times, offering a nearly pornographically mawkish argument that since Oklahoma City and New York City have both been sites of terrorist attacks, they are now joined in 'A Sisterhood of Grief.'
"Listen, if Oklahomans really have become the professional bereavers this guy portrays them as, and if droves of them really are descending upon New York City with gentle words of experience to share with their new soul mates, I have some advice for them: Shut up. And stay home.
"We're New Yorkers. We're not Oklahomans, and this ain't Oshkosh. We know how to grieve. We also believe in picking ourselves up and moving on. That's how we deal. This city isn't anywhere near having bounced back yet, but it will, because that's what New York City is all about."
John Strausbaugh, writing on "Don't Cry for Us, Oklahomans," in the Jan. 2 issue of New York Press

Clearly a traitor
"Cynthia Cotts waits until the last sentence of her latest column to get to the point.
"'It's time for the media to stop treating Walker like a traitor,' she argues.
"'Walker,' as you might have guessed, is John Walker, the American member of the Taliban. Cotts is the media critic for the Village Voice. And the short response to Cotts's plea is: No, it's not.
"Walker is clearly a traitor. He was found holding an AK-47, fighting for the Taliban, when he was discovered in [Mazar-e-Sharif]. He had previously told his father that the bombing of the USS Cole was justified because the ship's presence in Yemeni waters constituted an 'act of war' by the United States. He adopted a nom de guerre, Abdul Hamid. And he told Newsweek that he 'supported' the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon."
Stephen F. Hayes, writing on "Village Idiot," Monday in the Weekly Standard Online at www.weeklystandard.com

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