- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Fame? Forget it

“Among the women of the year — the newly minted stars and the aging dames who capture headlines and imaginations — one is not a woman at all, but a 16-year-old girl named Elizabeth Smart. Elizabeth, as everyone in America must know by now, was abducted from her Salt Lake City home in June 2002, and spent nine months with her kidnappers before being found, alive.

“There has since been a cult of Elizabeth. She is everywhere. Her parents, Ed and Lois, have written a best-selling book, ‘Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope.’ With the cooperation of the family, CBS produced a docudrama on the kidnapping. …

“It was perhaps inevitable that so much publicity in so little time would make a cottage industry of second-guessing the Smarts. A parade of ‘experts,’ on TV and in newspapers, has warned of fame’s probable ill effects on Elizabeth. …

“When asked whether he and his family would have preferred to be forgotten once Elizabeth returned, Ed Smart does not hesitate before saying ‘yes.’ ”

Jason Steorts, writing on “The E Cult,” Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Gloomy outlook

“A fundamental distinction exists between the literature of science and that of disciplines whose subjects are self-referential and most often concerned with the exegesis of earlier thinkers. … Science finds the answers and moves on. Meanwhile, the traditional humanities establishment continues … indulging itself in cultural pessimism, clinging to its fashionably glum outlook on world events.

” ‘We live in an era in which pessimism has become the norm,’ writes Arthur Herman. … Herman, who coordinates the Western Civilization Program at the Smithsonian, argues that the decline of the West, with its view of our ‘sick society,’ has become the dominant theme in intellectual discourse, to the point where the very idea of civilization is changed. …

“Key to this cultural pessimism is a belief in the myth of the Noble Savage — that before we had science and technology, people lived in ecological harmony and bliss. … In their almost religious devotion to a pessimistic worldview, the academic humanists have created a culture of previous ‘isms’ that turn on themselves and endlessly cycle.”

John Brockman, from his new book, “The New Humanists”

Down on Dixie

” ‘Howard Dean wants the white trash vote,’ wrote Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer in mockery of the Vermonter. ‘[T]hat’s clearly what [Dean] meant when he said he wanted the votes of “guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks.” ‘

“After Dean was savaged by Al Sharpton, who called the Confederate flag an ‘American swastika,’ Krauthammer was rhapsodic. His humiliation serves Dean right, Krauthammer chortled. He should never have pandered to Southern ‘yahoos’ and ‘rebel-yelling racist redneck.’ …

“What is it in the wiring of these neocons that they so loathe white Southerners who cherish the monuments, men and memories of the Lost Cause? …

“These symbols are abused because they have power. But to Southern kids who put battle-flag decals on book bags, and their fathers who put replicas on cars and trucks, it does not mean they hate anyone. It means: ‘We love our Southern heritage and we shall never forget our ancestors who fought and died under this flag.’ ”

Pat Buchanan, writing on “Why Do They Hate Dixie?” in the Dec. 1 issue of the American Conservative

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