- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2003

Thought for the day
"We must be capable of speaking a language of peace, but not one of surrender." Silvio Berlusconi, Wednesday.
Chirac and thugs
What is it with Jacques Chirac and tinpot dictators? This week, the French president is not only doing everything he could to keep Saddam in power, he is also playing host to Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's increasingly authoritarian leader. Just like Saddam and Kim Jong-il, Mr. Mugabe is no fan of the working class lifestyle. While he is in Paris after a long EU boycott of his presence Mr. Mugabe is staying, courtesy of M. Chirac, at the Plaza-Athenee hotel in the Avenue Montaigne. At $500 a night, it's not exactly a Holiday Inn. The Times of London reports that "at the end of a corridor lit by chandeliers is one of the finest restaurants in Paris, run by the three-star chef Alain Ducasse, which serves dishes such as black truffles with potato marmelade at $110, pigeon filets at $70, and Breton lobster in a crusty tart for $110." Meanwhile, Mr. Mugabe's policy of destroying most of the productive farms in his homeland because they are owned by white farmers is bringing Zimbabwe to the brink of famine. No word yet on whether the French are planning to sell Mr. Mugabe some nuclear plants.
Jackson and crooks
The awful story of the Chicago nightclub stampede when 21 persons died in a crush because some exit doors had been illegally sealed has now become some sort of grotesque parable of what has happened to the civil-rights movement.
It turns out that the club had long been targeted by authorities for unsafe practices and building-code violations. And Jesse Jackson had labeled such attempts to impose safety standards as racist. "There was a move to close ranks around this business," a church pastor told the New York Times. "There were people who felt, including myself, that maybe the city was on a witch hunt to close black businesses." The owner of the club also turns out surprise! to be the son of one of the founders of Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH. So here you have a story in which clear safety standards are derided as "racist," the result of which are the deaths of almost two dozen black club-goers. How much more poignant a parable can you get of how today's civil-rights movement has come not to help blacks, but to marginalize and threaten them? In this case, literally to death.
Misandry rules
It's the most rickety crutch for a female columnist with nothing to say, but that hasn't stopped both Maureen Dowd and now Tina Brown from throwing baldly sexist remarks at the Bush administration. MoDo recently went on a tirade about the "locker-room" taunts and high testosterone in the White House. Brown now gives us this brilliant insight in Salon:
"Is it just the residue of fashion week that makes me wish there were more, or should I say any, gay men in the Bush administration? At the Sunday Times in the Seventies, one top editor used to shake his head when the paper became too humorlessly high-testosterone and say that what it needed that week was 'more pooftah power'. In lieu of outright womanhood except for Condoleezza Rice, who crosses the gender barriers by becoming the most zealous enabler perhaps an injection of androgyny could be brought to bear on diplomatic relations in this moment of crisis. The Bush crowd's only management style, like that of many who subscribe to the outmoded cult of America's Toughest Bosses, is to unzip and thwack it on the table."
Ignore the homophobic stereotypes. (Why is it "gay" to be lacking in testosterone? Or androgynous? Or soft on dictators?) Imagine if a male writer used similarly sexist language to describe, say, Tina Brown's administration at the New Yorker. Imagine sentences like this:
"Wouldn't it be better if there had been more men at the New Yorker in the '90s? And I don't mean Tina's neutered gay male flunkies. Brown's flitty attention span, bouts of editorial PMS, hysterical responses to criticism and general whorishness toward publicists and celebrities made for a very menstrual management style. In fact, Tina's only sure editorial tactic was to spread her legs on any advertizing CEO's table she could find." It would never be written. It should never be written. It's sexist, dumb and almost meaningless. But in all those respects, it's indistinguishable from Tina's latest column. More evidence that there's one rule for liberal commentators, and another for the rest of us.

BBC RIP

Remember the British Broadcasting Corp.'s old reputation for objectivity and accuracy? It's history. Last week, even the Economist magazine simply characterized the BBC as an organization opposed to the war on Iraq and suffused with anti-Americanism.
Indeed, there are times when the BBC makes Fox News look like CNN. Here's one recent quote, worth noting. It's from the BBC's World Affairs Correspondent, David Loyn: "If America was engaged in the rest of the world rather than, frankly, wanting to bomb it and … take its resources." There you have the British media establishment's true view of the underpinnings of American foreign policy. And people wonder why European public opinion is monolithically anti-anti-Saddam.


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