- The Washington Times - Friday, July 12, 2002

Ozzy burnout?

"Can you remember, way back to six months ago, when you didn't know anything about Ozzy Osbourne except something about bats and a band called Black Sabbath? Now thanks to MTV's all-time highest-rated show, Ozzy and wife Sharon are buddies with [President] George W. [Bush], have been described as 'loving' by former [Vice President] Dan Quayle, and even appeared before Queen Elizabeth for her Golden Jubilee.

"But buyers beware: The Osbourne backlash has begun.

"These days, the shelf life of any pop-culture phenom appears to be shorter than Ozzy's attention span. Consider the life cycle of insta-hit 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?,' once thought to be the final answer to ABC's rating woes. The Regis Philbin-hosted game show's popularity peaked fast. But ratings plummeted just as quickly, until ABC pulled the plug on the series in May.

"The clan's initial charm could be drained by massive exposure. 'One of the things the audience responded to was how normal the domestic situation was despite the extraordinary life they lead,' says [MTV executive Brian] Graden. 'The question is: What normalcy has been infringed on by the show?'"

Nancy Miller, writing on "Ozz and Effect," in the July 12 issue of Entertainment Weekly


Mosques of terror

"Why are Muslim and Arab 'civil rights' groups the only ones protesting new FBI rules to fight terrorism?

"Why aren't mainstream Christian and Jewish groups protesting the new guidelines handed down by Attorney General John Ashcroft and his Justice Department? Or Hispanic groups?

"Maybe because Muslim, mostly Arab, terrorists including at least two [September 11] hijackers deliberately used U.S. mosques to fund raise for and plan terrorist attacks. Maybe because they knew that, under the old rules, it had been difficult for FBI counterterrorism operatives to surveil terrorists once they stepped into the mosques. And they, the terrorists and many Muslim allies in the U.S. took advantage of this.

"The old rules were used to fund and/or plan terror, undetected.

"This is why some of the folks don't want the FBI in their mosques. And why we should be happy they now are. Americans who do not support terrorism should take note and not allow themselves to be used as accessories."

Debbie Schlussel, writing on "Mosques Planning Terror," Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com


Heavenly music

"'Mozart,' George Solti once asserted, 'makes you believe in God.' I'm not sure I'd go quite that far, but I suppose we can all agree to believe in Mozart. Certainly, our society accredits what CD marketers call 'the Mozart effect': an infusion of grace, geniality and sunny enlightenment that supposedly makes unborn babies more intelligent if you play his music to them while they snooze in the womb.

"As Arthur Miller succinctly put it: 'Mozart is happiness.'

"Those who knew the man himself would have been astonished by his latter-day enshrinement. Mozart's contemporaries insisted on his imperfections. Although the 19th century came to think of him as a divine child, Mozart's letters reveal a mucky and fractious infantilism.

"Even Mozart's name seemed to hint at supernatural parentage. He was baptized Theophilus, which he latinized to Amadeus. This enabled him to boast that he was beloved of God, if not related to him. In 1956, it was still possible for the evangelical Protestant theologian Karl Barthto claim that, when the angels dutifully praised God, they played Bach, whereas 'when they are together en famille, they play Mozart and our dear Lord listens with pleasure.'"

Peter Conrad, writing on "Which Wolfgang is which?" July 7 in the Observer


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