- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Sci-fi socialism

"Science fiction routinely gets away with subversive gestures that would never be allowed in any realistic program. Thus it is that people who don't watch 'Star Trek' are probably unaware that its vision of our future is socialistic, anti-imperialist and passionately committed to expanding the list of sentient life forms who are judged to have rights. …

"I'm speaking of the post-Kirk 'Star Treks' of course. …

"The first series, which began in 1967, was an odd amalgam of manly Buck Rogers adventure, Cold War pro-Americanism and utopian social drama influenced by the civil rights movement. When 'Star Trek' was revived for TV in 1987 with 'The Next Generation,' the show's tagline was tellingly updated from 'where no man has gone before' to 'where no one has gone before.' And the changes went far beyond gender. Trek's depictions of racism and caste exclusion got acute, with a series of amazing shows about workers treated as things, and it explored torture and official violence daringly, bitingly criticizing them even as it showed our own implication in them."

Donna Minkowitz, writing on "Beam Us Back, Scotty," in the March 25 issue of the Nation

Appeasement danger

"We ought to face squarely the origins of the Palestinian descent into barbarism. In July 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made a peace offer that stunned Israel and the world: Israel would re-divide Jerusalem would turn over large pieces of its ancient capital to the same people who had destroyed its synagogues, desecrated its cemeteries, and banned Jews from entering when they last ran the show. Arafat rejected the offer. Then in September 2000, the new wave of murderous violence began, supposedly triggered by Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount.

"In short, the Palestinian response to Israel's generous peace offer was, 'Drop dead.' How could that possibly have happened? … The 'lesson of appeasement' is not that appeasement is futile. Appeasement is not futile, it is dangerous. … Outlaws interpret an open-handed offer as weakness, not generosity. They interpret weakness as an incitement to violence."

David Gelernter, writing on "The Suicide of the Palestinians," in the March 25 issue of the Weekly Standard

NOW poster child?

"The murderous, mentally ill Andrea Yates will spend the next 40 years to life in prison. … Andrea's ultimate fate notwithstanding, mental health care advocates and women's groups are almost certain to keep caterwauling about how her experience is proof-positive of our society's horrid neglect of postpartum depression specifically, and women's mental health in general. …

"The Yates case may be an indictment of many things: the death penalty, the insanity defense, our society's willingness to let any idiot be a parent. (I refer here to the cretinous Rusty, not the deeply ill Andrea.) But it is not a sad testament to our widespread neglect of postpartum depression. And if NOW could refrain from its knee-jerk impulse to turn every tragedy involving a woman into a political cause, it might rethink the wisdom of turning Andrea into its postpartum poster child. …

"I truly feel for Andrea, who is clearly a very sick woman. (Rusty, on the other hand, deserves to have his reproductive organs fed to wild pigs.) But I'm sorry, Yates' case was not, as her defense lawyer told the jury, 'an opportunity to make a determination about the status of women's mental health.' It was, in fact, a murder trial. And it confirmed far less about our society's attitudes toward postpartum depression than it did the sad reality that some people are simply too stupid, selfish, or mentally ill to raise children."

Michelle Cottle, writing on "Case Closed," March 15 in the New Republic Online at www.tnr.com

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