- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 15, 2002

Noble: Fathers, everywhere. Fathers are supposed to know best, even though any review of all their negative stereotypes (ranging from Al Bundy to Hagar the Horrible) would require a barcalounger, a six pack and a four-hour nap afterward.

Yet, if mothers are the ones who magically make a house into a home, fathers are the ones whose bricks and bucks help make it possible for the house to be built in the first place. Even more, (perhaps because most of them are such big sports fans) fathers provide the boundaries of appropriate behavior by passing out appropriate rewards and penalties. Consider that chilling phrase, "You wait until your father hears about this."

But, if fathers are the worst ones from whom to receive punishment, they are also the best ones with whom to share life's triumphs the first steps, the first ride without training wheels, the first "A" in an impossible class. Looking beyond the mismatched socks and botched birdhouse, the favorite shirt with less than strategically placed holes and the black cloud of smoke from a barbecue gone bad, most sons will recognize the person they hope to one day resemble.

Given all that we are celebrating them for tomorrow, we urge our readers to give their fathers permission to retire to the barcalounger with a six pack for a four-hour nap.

Knave: Peter Jennings and the pig-headed producers at ABC who vetoed country singer Toby Keith's planned patriotic performance on a Fourth of July television special.

Country musicians don't always make the best parents (authentic songwriting sometimes requires getting drunk, smashing the pickup and losing the girl), but they usually make great patriots. Their twangy tunes of sorrow and joy are as American as turkeys on Thanksgiving and fireworks on the Fourth of July.

So it's shocking that the turkey producing ABC's Fourth of July special suddenly rescinded an offer he had made to Mr. Keith to perform his patriotic single, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)." Mr. Keith wrote it shortly after September 11 as an expression of his personal fury and his national pride. It's patriotic, it's angry, it's confrontational, and it even (gasp) contains profanity. In other words, it's quintessentially American. No wonder it's become the fastest-rising hit of Mr. Keith's career, even given the ambivalence of radio programmers to put songs with swear words on the air.

Yet, the network that made profanity as much a part of prime-time as partial nudity has no excuse for suddenly discovering similar scruples. Mr. Jennings allegedly vetoed Mr. Keith's performance after listening to his song.

That's a pretty audacious move for an anchor at the American Broadcasting Co. If the patriots at ABC have any say in the matter, proud American Toby Keith should be reinstated as a singer for the Fourth of July special.

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