- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2002

TV populist
"To his detractors, Bill O'Reilly, the tough-talking host of the phenomenally popular Fox News show 'The O'Reilly Factor,' exemplifies the meanness and vulgarity of public discourse.
"To his admirers, O'Reilly is a scourge of liberal pieties, a commentator who cuts through elitist nonsense.
"He is upfront about his biases. His bluntness can be refreshing for instance, when he told cartoonist Ted Rall, who decided it would be provocative to mock the pregnant widow of the slain journalist Daniel Pearl as an attention seeker, that he was making himself look like a jerk.
"O'Reilly positions himself as a champion of the common man against both economic and cultural elites, and as a champion of common sense against intellectual sophistry. Given the propensity of modern intellectuals to believe in preposterous things, this means that O'Reilly turns out to be right a lot of the time.
"At its worst, O'Reilly's black-and-white approach translates into a tendency to demonize the opposition.
"I would worry about any member of the audience who doesn't want to yell at O'Reilly at least as often as she wants to cheer him on."
Cathy Young, writing on "Spin This" in the August issue of Reason

Sugar and spice?
"Man, it is so hard to live down that sugar-and-spice rep. We women try, Lord do we try, and still people are shocked shocked! when we are mean to each other, humiliate our partners, scream at our children, spread nasty rumors, lie on our resumes, embezzle from our employers, demean our employees, give slower drivers the finger, have extramarital affairs, commit murder, enter the military, join the Aryan Nation or the Islamic Jihad, and fail to send Christmas cards to the family. How dare women behave like like people?
"If you have been under your bed since [September 11], you will have missed the current flurry of books and media stories about just how much like people women are. Journalists, academics, and psychologists alike have all been offering their observations on the 'discovery' of female aggression and meanness.
"Oprah, 'Dateline,' Ted Koppel, and countless magazines have duly reported the news about all this hidden and formerly secret female aggressiveness though none of it seems to be terribly hidden or secret to women, or for that matter to men."
Carol Tavris, writing on "Are Girls Really as Mean as Books Say They Are?" in the July 5 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education

Monumental man
"If there ever was a man made for the movies it was George Washington. He was the action figure at the center of every major political event of his day: the move for independence, the Revolutionary War, the formation of the Constitution, the establishment of the new nation
"Washington was tall and broad-shouldered, and looked the part of a great hero. 'I thought then as now that I had never beheld so superb a man,' Lafayette wrote upon seeing Washington on the battlefield. Thomas Jefferson said his stature was 'exactly what one would wish, his deportment easy, erect, and noble.'
"Hollywood could not have written a better story, and Central Casting could not have created a better leading man.
"The problem is that, over the years, Washington has become typecast as the lifeless figure that adorns coins and stamps, and the overfamiliar name on innumerable counties, towns, schools, and streets. In his 1958 biography, 'George Washington: Man and Monument,' historian Marcus Cunliffe wrote that 'to humanize Washington is to run the risk of falsifying of losing the essential truth of his personality,' which was that Washington had been replaced by a legendary figure larger and more unwieldy than any mortal. 'Entombed in his own myth,' Washington had become a monument."
Matthew Spalding, writing on "The Greatest" in the July 15 issue of National Review



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