- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Fun, fun, fun

"As far back as I can remember, the Nation has been the journalistic lodestar of the American left. Now, in its 137th year, the magazine is on a commercial roll. Indeed, everything's going so well that I feel kind of churlish in pointing out what most on the left are unwilling to say: The Nation is a profoundly dreary magazine.

"Just compare it to the Weekly Standard, a right-wing publication currently approaching its measly seventh anniversary. As gray and unappetizing as homework, the Nation makes you approach it in the same spirit that Democrats might vote for Gray Davis where else can you go? In contrast, the Standard woos you by saying, 'We're having big fun over here on the right.'

"Back in the '60s, the left was the home of humor, iconoclasm, pleasure. But over the last two decades, the joy has gone out of the left it now feels hedged in by shibboleths and defeatism while the right has been having a gas, be it Lee Atwater grooving to the blues, Rush Limbaugh chortling about Feminazis or grimly gleeful Ann Coulter serving up bile as if it were chocolate mousse, even dubbing Katie Couric 'the affable Eva Braun of morning television.'"

John Powers, writing on "Bubble Wrap," in the Aug. 30 issue of L.A. Weekly

Bitter truth

"The first ballots had barely been counted in Georgia's 4th District Congressional race between five-term incumbent Cynthia McKinney and challenger Denise Majette, when McKinney's supporters screamed foul. They claimed that hordes of white Republicans crossed over to vote for Majette and that Jewish groups bankrolled her. McKinney's shoot-from-the lip style, perceived pro-Palestinian tilt, her criticism of Bush's war on terrorism, and her grandstand offer to take Saudi money for black causes, certainly made her an inviting target for Jewish groups and Republican conservatives.

"But blaming her defeat solely on politically malevolent outsiders skirts the bitter truth that more and more blacks are rejecting old-style narrow race-based politics. Majette did not beat McKinney by a razor-thin margin. She trounced her.

"The bitter truth is that guilt-tainted racial appeals by black politicians for black solidarity and voter-registration caravans and buses into black neighborhoods are not going to make blacks dash to the polls to vote for politicians who wage media-grabbing empty fights over issues that many black voters regard as remote and foreign to their needs and interests. But many will rush to the polls to vote for someone they think can better deliver the goods.

"The voter turnout in Georgia's 4th Congressional District was the highest of any major race in that state, and many black voters rushed to vote for Majette. To them, she, not McKinney, represented that someone who can best represent them."

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, writing on "Bitter Truth For Black Politicians In McKinney Defeat," Aug. 26 in the Black World Today

'Signs' of faith

"A few nights ago, I was lying in bed awake and I began to get frightened. I mean, really scared. I couldn't get an image from the movie 'Signs' out of my head. What had me so freaked out was the part when what appeared to be an alien made an appearance at a child's birthday party. It seems odd that this part of the movie would stick so strongly in my imagination, since it was the profoundly Christian message of the film that made me love it.

"Now, you may be wondering just exactly what was Christian in this film about an alien encounter. Plenty, although it wasn't always obvious. This is the genius of its writer, director and producer M. Night Shyamalan.

"Certain themes are evident in all of Shyamalan's films, namely, that there is more to life than what we generally see."

Daniel L. Weiss, writing on "Finding God in 'Signs,'" Aug. 28 in Boundless at www.boundless.org

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