- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2002

O.J., the sequel
"It may be hard to believe now, but prior to the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, [O.J.] Simpson was considered a 'has been.' It had been more than a decade since he stepped on a football field and two decades since he broke the all-time single-season rushing record. His best work as an actor, if you can use that phrase without irony, was also at least a decade behind him.
"Eight years later, it's looking like a case of dj vu all over again. Only this time this 'celebrity' in question is even more of a 'has been' than Simpson. [Robert] Blake, whose career started with 'The Little Rascals,' hasn't made a movie of consequence since 'In Cold Blood' in 1967. And the role he is best known for was on a show, 'Baretta,' that hasn't aired since 1978.
"Just like O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, years after he warranted the designation 'star,' is about to become a household name probably to a greater extent than when he was actually working. If the number of satellite trucks and reporters outside the Van Nuys police station is any indication, what is a tragic story, regardless of Blake's guilt or innocence, is about to become a media circus."
Roberto Rivera, writing on "The Folly of Celebrity Culture," Thursday in Boundless at www.boundless.org

Marxist strategy
"The first generation of liberalism's opponents condemned generalized liberty as an invitation to wickedness. Today that sort of criticism is rarely voiced by parties this side of the Taliban. Contemporary opponents of liberalism prefer indirect lines of attack. The most prominent approach is to find within liberal philosophies not sinfulness but contradiction. The progenitor of this strategy was Karl Marx.
"In some of the most turgid but nonetheless influential prose of the 19th century, Marx professed to exhibit the contradictions of an economic system that is sustained by extracting ever-increasing quantities of surplus value from workers. For Marx, liberal society wasn't simply immoral; it was irrational."
Loren E. Lomasky, writing on "Tolerating Freedom," in the June issue of Reason

Puppet politics
"Elmo, the small, red fuzzy star from Sesame Street came before Congress wanting to tickle them to the sum of $2 million for children's music programs or as the line in the puppet's script read: 'Please, Congress, help Elmo's friends find the music inside them.' But don't be fooled. Like all political puppets, Elmo's strings are connected to powerful hands.
"Elmo, the result of carefully crafted media research, is the great cash cow in the stable of the Children's Television Workshop best known for Sesame Street, but this organization is also at the forefront of helping corporate advertisers to target toddlers or as they phrase it 'leverage children's natural attraction to media in constructive and productive ways.' Is it surprising that Elmo was accompanied into the committee room by Joe Lamond, who heads an international trade association of musical instrument makers?
"The truth be told, the subcommittee consented to this muppet spectacle for the sole reason that Elmo is a popular figure and politicians live in a continual readiness to bask in the glow of anyone dear to the public. It is the same reason that they give ear to U2's Bono as an 'expert' on Third World debt relief, or Meryl Streep on agricultural pesticides, or Mary Tyler Moore on stem cell research."
C.T. Rossi, writing on "Capitol Hill's First Show Trial," an April 29 Free Congress Commentary at www.freecongress.org



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