- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2003

'A different time'
"The French poet Paul Valery once observed that intellectuals, when they run out of serious things to say, end up by flashing their genitals to get attention. With the coming launch of her new anti-war music video, one could argue that Madonna has reversed the process. As Dennis Miller said about her in a recent interview with Phil Donahue, 'After you've shown every orifice from every angle, you might have to make a political statement to get people reinterested in you.'
"True enough, but her gesture feels so trite and theatrical partly because celebrities as a class seem stuck in the same hackneyed pose one rooted in Vietnam-era polarities and untrue to the moment. …
"The fact is, this is a different time. The homeland was attacked. The draft is gone. Saddam is, manifestly, a monster growing in size. Yet you'd never know it from the simple anti-war certainties of so many big-name entertainers from Sean Penn on his Baghdad pilgrimage to Spike Lee ('the German and French governments should be commended') and Edward Norton ('I almost forgot what it's like to be proud of our government'), both at the Berlin Film Festival."
Melik Kaylan, writing on "Left Behind," Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal

Radical missionaries
"The Cardinal Newman Society recently published a list of 42 Catholic colleges that are allowing the performance this year of 'The Vagina Monologues,' Eve Ensler's infamous play. …
"Among the 42 Catholic schools hosting productions of 'The Vagina Monologues' are Rivier College in Nashua, N.H., Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and the Dominican University of California in San Rafael. With a combined total of about 5,600 students, these schools exemplify what was once assumed to be a sure bet for parents seeking a quality education for their children in an environment that was morally and intellectually wholesome. After all, what could go wrong in Dubuque, or at a college founded by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary? The Dominicans have a long tradition of scholarship and learning, so surely their administration can be trusted can't it?
"But plenty has gone wrong at any religious college that hosts sanctimonious, vacuous pap masquerading as high culture. … As the numbers of religious and priests teaching at church schools declined, many of their lay replacements were trained at the same graduate institutions whose professors were busy politicizing scholarship elsewhere. These newly minted Ph.D.s became missionaries for radical, cutting-edge ideas not often seen before at smaller colleges, be they religious or secular."
Winfield Myers, writing on "Monologues for Homogeneity," Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Classic contemporary
"What do you do when you've made the two best movies of the modern era and your daughter asks for help on a new TV show? Why, you get hands-on.
"Working on the new UPN series 'Platinum' was evidently an offer Francis Ford Coppola whose 'The Godfather' and 'The Godfather: Part II' are the aforementioned cinema classics could not refuse. …
"The idea for 'Platinum' came to Francis' director daughter Sofia, who knows a lot about hip-hop. Sofia hooked up with writer/producer John Ridley, and the two of them hatched the idea for a serious one-hour TV drama about the world of rap, hip-hop and the record business. …
"Sofia has also learned a lot about the music video business through her husband, 'Adaptation' director Spike Jonze. … On 'Platinum,' which is a co-venture with MTV, groups will be discovered and videos made and then played on MTV. The show should be sort of like mixing 'Making of the Band' with 'The Godfather' and 'Six Feet Under.' Now that should be interesting.
"The show debuts in March with a mostly unknown cast. But if FFC has a hand in the casting too, expect a lot of breakout stars. From Al Pacino to Matt Dillon, 'The Godfather' to 'Rumble Fish,' Coppola is famous for minting new superstars."
Roger Friedman, writing on "Godfather Director Gets Good Rap," yesterday in the Fox411 at foxnews.com

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