- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Move on, Monica

“She’s back. Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, that is, as the subject of a profile in December’s GQ on the occasion of her 30th birthday. …

“Monica: It’s time to move on. …

“What steps has Monica Lewinsky taken to put some distance between herself and the scene of her crime?

“She took $600,000 for participating in her own biography. … She subjected her healthy body to further scrutiny by briefly becoming a Jenny Craig spokesperson. She launched a not-very-successful handbag design business. And she proved her intellectual mettle by taking a five-week reality-show gig on Fox. …

“It’s time to get a real job now, Monica. Or take some classes. …

“For the first time ever, I think her quandary is no one’s fault but her own.”

Rebecca Traister, writing Monday in Salon at www.salon.com

Art and theory

“We teach and study art history — as we teach and study literary history or political history or the history of science — partly to familiarize ourselves with humanity’s adventure in time. We expect an educated person in the West to remember what happened in 1066, to know the plot of ‘Hamlet,’ to understand (sort of) the laws of gravity, to recognize ‘The Venus of Urbino’ when he sees it. These are aspects of a huge common inheritance, episodes that alternately bask in and cast illuminations and shadows, the interlocking illuminations and shadows of mankind’s conjuring with the world. …

“Today, the study of art history is more and more about subordinating art — to ‘theory,’ to politics, to just about anything that allows one to dispense with the burden of experiencing art … on its own terms. … Increasingly, art history is pressed into battle — a battle against racism, say, or the plight of women or on behalf of social justice. Whatever. The result is that art becomes an adjunct to an agenda: an alibi for … you can fill in the blank by consulting this week’s list of trendy causes.”

Roger Kimball, writing on “The rape of the masters,” in the December issue of the New Criterion

Mel’s feminism

“Mel Gibson might be my favorite feminist. If he’s not number one on my list, he’s pretty close, in competition with Pope John Paul II.

“As you probably suspect, I don’t have in mind the usual definition of ‘feminism.’ …

“If you want to understand — and celebrate — women, Gibson’s ‘Passion of Christ,’ which will be released Ash Wednesday, is a good place to turn. Consider, for example, a scene that has Mary standing on the sidelines after walking a little bit away from the place where her son is being brutally beaten. She’s getting beyond the point of being able to take the unbearable pain, but she is slowly gathering her strength, her faith — and is even able to comfort Mary Magdalene, a friend. …

“I don’t think many self-described feminists would agree, but there is something unique about women, and Gibson’s movie captures it perfectly. … He shows a real understanding of the depth of women’s feeling and the unique role that follows from it: that of giving support and guidance. This understanding of femininity cannot be missed — and should be noted and valued. It’s something the likes of a Susan B. Anthony understood, though modern-day feminists would rather we forget it.”

Kathryn Jean Lopez, writing on “Mel Gibson, Feminist,” Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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