- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 21, 2002

The ex-files
"It has been a rough couple of months for fans of 1990s television. Waifish 'Ally [McBeal]' is waving goodbye, 'ER's noble Mark Greene has already passed beyond the help of the most dedicated trauma surgeon, and even simpering Steve from 'Blue's Clues' has abandoned his cerulean canine in favor of a beard and a band. Sunday, though, will truly see the end of an era. With the airing of its final episode, the 'X-Files' will x-pire.
"Brilliantly written and beautifully shot, the 'X-Files' is film noir for color TV. Chiaroscuro interiors echo themes of a world lost in the shadows of conspiracy and moral ambiguity, while the series' pale landscapes are vistas of a not-quite-normal America, a place where everything is bleached out, other than the bizarre.
"If they can actually manage to avoid death, disease, demons, alien bounty hunters, abduction and walking off the show, Mulder and Scully will be around to protect us.
"Strangely romantic heroes in an unromantic age, this oddly matched duo search for truth in a maze of lies. The eccentric interplay between them only adds to the show's offbeat appeal."
Andrew Stuttaford, writing on "The Ex-Files," Friday in National Review Online at www.national-review.com

Angel in the storm
"It is the deeper understanding of freedom as the inborn hope of humanity that is part of the heritage that passes to you today. It is a heritage which teaches us that freedom is not the grant of any government, any prince or any king, but is in fact our gift from God.
"It is a heritage that shaped the great founding idea of America, the idea expressed in these words, which we learned years ago: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'
"For over two centuries, American leaders of every party and every faith have echoed this idea. And our president George W. Bush began his presidency by reminding Americans that we are not alone in the struggle for freedom, that an angel rides in the whirlwind, directing the storm that engulfs humanity."
John Ashcroft, in his commencement speech May 11 at Catholic University

'Star Wars' guerra
"Latino critics in particular charge [the] latest Star Wars epic, 'Episode II: Attack of the Clones,' toys with American paranoia about Mexican immigration with its cloned army of swarthy lookalikes who march in lockstep by the tens of thousands, and ultimately end up serving as Darth Vader's white-suited warriors.
"Modeled on bounty hunter Jango Fett, the clones, we're told, are genetically modified for docility and obedience. The breeding project, conducted by long-necked aliens who look like refugees from 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind,' takes place on the planet Kamino soundalike for the Spanish word 'camino,' which means 'road' or 'I walk.'
"Temuera Morrison, the actor who plays Jango, is a New Zealander of Maori descent. But that didn't get in the way of some members of an eight-person Detroit News panel assembled to review the film.
"'He looked totally Latino,' says Martina Guzman, a Detroiter who's managing a State House election campaign.
'And his kid,' says Wayne State history professor Jose Cuello, referring to the young Boba Fett, 'looked even more Latino.'
"It reminds Cuello a little bit of 'those Reagan ads in the 1980 campaign that suggested if Nicaragua went communist, you'd have wild-eyed Mexicans with guns running across the California border.'"
Michael H. Hodges, writing on "Critics say 'Clones' has racial stereotypes" in Saturday's Detroit News


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