- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 6, 2003

‘Militant irrationality’
“When I first read [Edmund] Burke’s account of the French Revolution, I was inclined to accept, since I knew no other, the liberal humanist view of the Revolution as a triumph of freedom over oppression, a liberation of a people from the yoke of absolute power. … I therefore assumed that Burke’s early doubts expressed, remember, when the Revolution was in its very first infancy, and the King had not yet been executed, nor the Terror begun were simply alarmist reactions to an ill-understood event.
“What interested me in the ‘Reflections’ was the positive political philosophy, distinguished from all the leftist literature that was currently a la mode, by its absolute concretion, and its close reading of the human psyche in its ordinary and unexalted forms. Burke was not writing about socialism, but about revolution.
“Nevertheless, he persuaded me that the utopian promises of socialism go hand in hand with a wholly abstract vision of the human mind. … He persuaded me that societies are not and cannot be organized according to a plan or a goal, that there is no direction to history, and no such thing as moral or spiritual progress.
“Most of all, he emphasized that the new forms of politics, which hope to organize society around the rational pursuit of liberty, equality, fraternity, or their modernist equivalents, are actually forms of militant irrationality.”
Roger Scruton, writing on “Why I Became a Conservative,” in the February issue of the New Criterion

Celebrity family
“Perhaps it was inevitable, but the once-charming Osbournes are now insufferable. The final straw came during Super Bowl weekend, when America’s most profane family appeared in an advertisement for Pepsi Twist. Ozzy Osbourne, the heavy-metal rocker whom MTV cameras have revealed to be just another beleaguered suburban dad, was his typical stammering self, bickering with the kids in the Osbourne kitchen. But Ozzy’s incoherence … seemed calculated and irritatingly phony.
“Still, in a way this artifice was fitting it has become the crippling flaw in the second season of ‘The Osbournes.’ Ozzy and Co. now seem less like nutty, Beverly Hillbillies-ish naifs than a group of spoiled celebrities playing the role of rich and famous TV stars. In the beginning, Kelly Osbourne was a very typical, smart-mouthed, somewhat-homely teenager. Now she is a pop star, recording a CD, picking fights with Christina Aguilera, and becoming a regular on the Hollywood celebrity circuit. Her brother, Jack, once an angry loner, had a cameo on ‘Dawson’s Creek’ last fall and, in one recent episode, tartly warned Kelly not to get hair spray on his Prada jacket.”
Michael Crowley, writing on “Ad Share,” in the Feb. 10 issue of the New Republic

Sexual slumming
“When Hollywood’s A-list feels like they are orbiting too high above the stratosphere, they try to come back down to earth for a brief visit. The most effective way to do so is by having a roll in the hay with a ‘normal’ person, and more often than not, there is an endless smorgasbord of willing participants ready to offer their services. … Stars have learned what President Bill Clinton perhaps knew best the easiest way to feel ‘real’ is by fooling with the help.
“Julia Roberts … became embroiled in an affair with Pat Manocchia, a Manhattan personal trainer, and then, later, she hooked up with an L.A. bartender. … Jennifer Lopez married two normal guys waiter Ojani Noa and choreographer Chris Judd. Cher dated the ultimate Everyguy, ‘Bagel Boy’ Rob Camilletti. Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes, was fathered by the Material Girl’s personal trainer, Latin lover Carlos Leon. Jack Nicholson knocked up waitress Rebecca Broussard. … And model Kate Moss became impregnated by horrors! a magazine executive.”
from “Simple Cravings,” in the February issue of Movieline

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