- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Titanic liberation
"Who will ever forget the strangeness of the first images out of post-Taliban Afghanistan, when the streets ran with beards? As one city after another was abandoned by Taliban soldiers, crowds of happy men lined up to get their first legal shave in years, and barbers enjoyed the busiest days of their lives.
"Only a few months earlier, in January 2001, dozens of barbers in the capital city of Kabul had been rounded up by the Taliban … because they had been cutting men's hair in a style known locally as the 'Titanic.'
"At the time, Kabul's cooler young men wanted that Leonardo DiCaprio look, the one he sported in the movie. It was an interesting moment in fashion, because under the Taliban's moral regime, movies were illegal, Leonardo DiCaprio was illegal, and his hairdo, which allowed strands of hair to fall forward over the face during prayer, was a ticket to jail.
"Yet thanks to enterprising video smugglers who dragged cassettes over mountain trails by mule, urban Afghans knew perfectly well who DiCaprio was and what he looked like; not only did men adopt his style, but couples were then celebrating their weddings with Titanic-shaped cakes."
Charles Paul Freund, writing on "In Praise of Vulgarity," in the March issue of Reason

"You can hardly go wrong kicking the French. Every other day, someone from that fair land reminds us that treachery, cowardice, and corruption are part of the human condition, and perhaps a special part of the French condition.
"Lately, we've heard high French officials denounce our nation's anti-terrorism policies as 'simplistic' and seen a French Olympic skating judge given the heave for apparently conspiring to aid the Russians (old habits die hard). … Americans can hardly be blamed for wishing we had let the Germans annex France and wiped our hands of the whole mess. …
"The larger fact is that we should not be so hard on the French. … Only about one-tenth of the French population is anti-American, according to French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine. That's not so bad when you consider that at least 80 percent of Americans don't like the French."
Dave Shiflett, writing on "An Acceptable Frenchie," yesterday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Sideline critics
"Jimmy Carter … instead of meddling into foreign-policy debates … would serve the country better by building houses and writing lousy poetry.
"On Feb. 21 … the big-mouth Georgian was at it again, calling Bush's 'Axis of Evil' doctrine 'overly simplistic and counterproductive.' Carter, whose own forays overseas resulted in … the creation of ABC's 'Nightline,' isn't exactly an expert in that arena. In fact, his further statement that 'I think it will take years before we can repair the damage done by that statement,' is clear evidence that Bush was correct to issue a stark warning to countries that are developing the means to destroy modern civilization. …
"Carter wasn't the only sad-sack seeking media attention. … Mario Cuomo, the former New York governor … spoke before a Boca Raton [Fla.] audience on Feb. 21. … According to Sun-Sentinel reporter Jonathan Baum, 'Instead of just military action, Cuomo said the United States needs to try to understand terrorist motivations, and eliminate them where possible. He said America needs to become more socially responsible worldwide helping Argentina cope with its economic disaster, for example.'"
Russ Smith, writing on "Loose Lips," Feb. 27 in the New York Pre

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