- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 28, 2002

Demographic destiny
"The 20th century clearly was 'the American Century.'
"But by the time of the 2000 census, America's demographic news was not all rosy. In 1957, only 5 percent of U.S. births (202,000 babies) were to unmarried mothers. In 2000, that number was 1,345,917 33 percent of all births. …
"It is hard to be optimistic about the life prospects of the great new cohort of largely fatherless American children. …
"The America of 1900, of 1950, and of 1970, was a family-centered nation, focused on marriage-based homes and children. The America of 2000 is moving toward a post-family order, much like that found in the social democracies of Europe. …
"If demography is destiny, the first American Century may be the last."
Allan Carlson, writing on "The U.S. Population Boom," in the April/May issue of the American Enterprise

Blame America first
"As John Lloyd wrote in the New Statesman recently, 'Much of the intellectual left in Europe cleaves to a view of America as the largest danger in the modern world.' But in Afghanistan, the Taliban, perhaps the cruelest regime on earth, had permitted the country to be hijacked by a parasitic terror organization dedicated to the overthrow of Western civilization.
"The cleansing of those stables by the United States deserves a far better press than it is getting. Sadly, cheap slogans and ad hominem sneers have long passed for reasoned argument in the British papers. This doesn't much matter, except in so far as it is part of a wider portrayal of the United States as a vengeful nation bent on war and hot for foreign blood.
"It does matter to deconstruct that caricature, because it's important for the world outside the United States to understand with what sober gravity Americans, young and old, liberal and conservative, have been thinking and feeling their way through personal tragedy and global crisis. …
"America's national interest can only lie in the advancement of the cause of freedom and justice.
"The blame-America-first gang in Britain and elsewhere should know that an enormous number of Americans feel this way. The government of the United States should know it, too, and start paying attention to what the American people are beginning, more and more emphatically, to say."
Salman Rushdie, writing Saturday in the London newspaper the Guardian

P.C. 'E.T.'
"Steven Spielberg release a revised version of his classic film 'ET: The Extraterrestrial' with some bizarre amendments and omissions.
"He has spent $10,000 digitally replacing the guns carried by the FBI agents in the film with walkie-talkies allegedly to placate Drew Barrymore, who starred in the film as a child and now objects to guns. …
"Spielberg has erased more than just guns. A throwaway reference to a 'terrorist' in 'ET' has been overdubbed with the word 'hippie.' This change was originally made a few years ago for a TV broadcast, but in our post-September 11 world Spielberg has decided to retain it. 'At this time, it would really be interpreted the wrong way' said a Spielberg spokesman of the original 'terrorist' line. …
"'ET' was a success on its original release not because people approved or disapproved of minor details … but because they enjoyed the story. If a 'bad' character in the film no longer carries a firearm then his role is diminished and the film is infantilized."
Sandy Star, writing on "Hollywood Redux," March 21 in Spiked at www.spiked-online.com



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