- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Thriller
The "Middle Aged Moon-Walker, the long-deposed former King of Pop the Regent of Rhinoplasty himself: Michael Jackson. This past week he added to his long list of adorable eccentricities (wearing Sgt. Pepper suits, appearing at awards shows with a monkey, paying off millions of dollars in hush money to the [plaintiff] in a pedophilia suit) by oh those kooky rock stars! dangling a baby from a 70-foot balcony.
"What could possibly be the explanation for this unspeakably horrific crime, the kind of thing you wouldn't even see in low-budget slasher film?
"Ah! But there is an explanation it wasn't Michael's fault. It was his fans' fault. You see, they were in the street below, a big mob worked up into a frenzy of hero worship, rhythmically chanting his name and poor Michael 'got caught up in the moment.' This is a guy who has had fans cheering him in public every day of his life for 35 years but, apparently, he was so taken by surprise by this show of celebrity adulation that it seemed perfectly reasonable at the moment to respond by dangling a baby from a 70-foot balcony.
"Why can't they leave poor Michael alone and stop cheering him all the time and making him dangle babies from 70-foot balconies?"
Dave Konig, writing on "Obese Michael Jackson Fans Attack Tom Daschle's Family," Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Root causes
"September 11 has changed the way in which we must view the whole problem of terrorism. Given how terrible not only September 11 was, but how much worse a September 11 with weapons of mass destruction could be. If it was horrible beyond imagining to lose 3,000 Americans in a single day then try to imagine what it would mean to lose 30,000 or 300,000 or, God forbid, 3 million.
"The war on terrorism is not something that's going to be over with one battle or one engagement, or in one country. As President Bush and [Defense] Secretary [Donald H.] Rumsfeld have said over and over again 'we are in for a long war.' If we do capture Osama bin Laden or kill him the war will not be over.
"Terrorism is about more than one person, one group, or one state that sponsors terrorism. And indeed, in some sense we should remind ourselves that the war on terrorism is not only about killing and capturing terrorists.
"We hear a lot of talk about the root causes of terrorism. And some people seem to suggest that poverty is the root cause of terrorism. It's a little hard to look at a billionaire named Osama bin Laden and think that poverty drove him to it. Nor was that the case for Ayman al-Zawahiri who comes from one of the most prominent, distinguished families in Egypt.
"I think in important ways the war against terrorism is a war for the soul of the Muslim world."
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, in a Nov. 15 speech to the Center for the Study of Popular Culture

A star is reborn
"At 28, [Leonardo] DiCaprio has already ridden the entire Hollywood arc of celebrity. After his first feature role, in 'This Boy's Life,' which also starred Robert DeNiro, he was greeted as a Wunderkind. With 1997's 'Titanic,' of course, he attained rock-star status. DiCaprio's next two films were shunned, his pre-'Titanic' tours de force suddenly a dim memory. Critics trashed 'The Man in the Iron Mask' and 'The Beach.' Even the public turned against him. DiCaprio soon became better known for catting around nightclubs than for acting.
"But DiCaprio is still breathing. Next month, he stars in Martin Scorcese's 'Gangs of New York' and 'Stephen Spielberg's 'Catch Me If You Can,' which will be released within five days of each other.
"These days, DiCaprio wants to erase the tabloid memories of his past, to reclaim his mantle as a young genius."
Marshall Sella, writing on "The Kid Stays in the Pictures," in Sunday's New York Times Magazine


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