- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Disco debut
"He had his first dance lesson when he was 8. Voice lessons began at 12. … By 19, [John] Travolta was singing and dancing on Broadway in 'Grease.' …
"Even so, Travolta admits he wasn't the biggest disco fan when he was cast as Tony Manero [in 'Saturday Night Fever] in 1976. The producers brought in disco champion Denny Terrio, and later renowned choreographer Lester Wilson, to help turn Travolta from a Broadway hoofer into the film's swivel-hipped dance floor Adonis. 'He was hungry,' said Terrio recently. 'He was easy to teach. He just wanted it so bad. I wanted women to love John not because he was John Travolta or Vinnie Barbarino but because he could move.'
"Travolta trained six months for 'Fever.' When he wasn't hanging out on the streets and in the clubs of Brooklyn, cocking an ear for the neighborhood's dialect, he was dancing three hours a day and running to lose weight. …
"By the time 'Saturday Night Fever' opened on Dec. 7, 1977, the soundtrack had already gone gold. …
"Made for about $3.5 million, 'Fever' would gross more than $285 million. …
"Not only had a star been born, but a phenomenon as well."
Chris Nashawaty, writing on "White Hot," in the Feb. 21 issue of Entertainment Weekly
This is, like, cool
"Young people today are particularly in need of standards of speech. Their conversation ranges from the sloppy to the vulgar … My dog is cool. My car is cool. My mom is cool. I just got into Princeton. 'Cool.' I just celebrated High Mass with the pope in Rome. 'Cool.' 'Like' is another source of concern. The word has its proper uses. Yet it should not introduce everything a person means to say or be used as a verbal crutch. This past year I forbade my students from saying 'like' while answering questions in class. Some of them could hardly make it through a sentence.
"This nation is faced with a growing inarticulateness. The remedy for this disease is a classical education. Since human beings live by communicating, the study of language should be the most important component of a young person's studies. … A classical education … teaches students correct grammar, precision in word choice, and eloquence."
Terrence Moore, writing on "Today's Youth Need Standards of Study and of Speaking," for the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at www.ashbrook.org
Bundys forever
"I was genuinely surprised, when I started getting hooked on 'Married … With Children' in the early 1990s, to find that it was unpopular with a lot of conservatives. It poked fun at the nuclear family, these people told me, which, after all, is the basic building-block of a civilized society. It promoted parental irresponsibility and teen-age promiscuity, they said. The Bundys were crude, antisocial, and occasionally criminal in a mild way. The show held up to ridicule all that we hold dear, etc., etc. …
"In any case, it seemed to me that 'Married … With Children' was one of the most conservative shows on TV. …
"Al hates his work, but he goes to work every day none the less. The Bundys' marriage is stale, but they stay married anyway. …
"For the principle underlying 'Married … With Children' it would be too much to say that the show actually celebrated it, but it was there anyway was the principle of duty. This is not a very fashionable principle in an age like ours, an essentially hedonistic age; but without some widespread sense of duty, of selfless adherence to custom and principle and social obligation, no civilization could persist for long. …
"For as long as human beings exist, Al, Peg, Kelly, and Bud will always be within easy reach sharing our skins with us, in fact."
John Derbyshire, writing on "Children of a Conservative God," Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide