- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2002

'Spider-man' redux

"On halcyon afternoons back in the Age of Pop, around 1966 or so, college students and other idlers mostly male, as was and is the tendency liked to use the latest stack of Marvel Comics as text for a free-floating commentary. In those days it was not unusual to hear Stan Lee (then still the writer of almost all the company's dozen or so titles) praised as a protean intelligence of near-Shakespearean dimensions, while the distinctive styles of Marvel's artists Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko, and many others fueled hours of discussion about the nature of the line and the employment of space.

"'The Amazing Spider-Man' came up from the bottom; not many people were looking for original invention in 10-cent comics in 1962. 'Spider-Man,' the movie, descends from above, trailing clouds of magazine covers and licensed toys, and thus has a ponderousness its model altogether lacked."

Geoffrey O'Brien, writing on "Popcorn Park," in the June 13 New York Review of Books


Gay recruitment

"Officials from more than two dozen colleges gathered in Boston [in May] for an admissions fair believed to be the first ever to focus on recruiting gay and lesbian students. The gay college-admissions fair was part of a weekend-long Gay-Straight Youth Pride Celebration organized by the Massachusetts Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. Among the participating institutions were American University, Bates College, Columbia College of Chicago, Fisher College, George Washington University, Harvard University, Montserrat College of Art, Mount Ida College, Stanford University, Suffolk University, Tufts University, the University of Vermont, and Yale University.

"Organizers said the event was an opportunity to connect talented young people with colleges and universities committed to recruiting a diverse freshman class. 'Just by the presence of having admissions officers, it also sends a message to the youth that they are attractive and desirable to colleges and universities, not only because they're young and they're smart, but also because they are gay or lesbian or transgendered,' says Chris Ferguson, one of the event's organizers and a program director for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's gay outreach services."

Alex Kellog, in "Dozens of Colleges Participate in Admissions Fair for Gay Students," posted May 21 on www.chronicle.com


Two views, one decade

"There are two competing interpretations of the 1960s. The first is exemplified by the claim of '60s radical and present California Democratic politician, Tom Hayden, who wrote in his memoir 'Reunion' that 'We of the '60s accomplished more than most generations in American history.' In this view, the '60s were exciting, heroic, and uniquely infused with moral passion the 'Promethean moment,' in the words of one commentator, 'when the Chosen Ones went through hell to save their souls and ours.'

"The second interpretation is far less flattering: It was a time of incredible intellectual flatulence, when pretentious adolescents under the tutelage of Herbert Marcuse and the like affected a pose of moral superiority vis-à-vis their countrymen. It was a time when the pampered and narcissistic children of privilege spouted Marx, Guevara, and Fanon and engaged in no-fault acting-out. It was a time when self-styled radicals embraced the enemy against whom their countrymen were fighting and dying. It was a time when for many, the goal was to cleanse fascist, racist 'Amerikkka' by 'any means necessary.' The nihilism that lay at the heart of this radicalism turned murderous thugs like George Jackson, Charles Manson, and Huey Newton into 'authentic' existentialist, revolutionary heroes."

Mackubin Thomas Owen, writing on "Lost in 'The Sixties,' " Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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