- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Left the building
"It was in late July that a representative from a public-radio talk show asked me to take part in a program on 'all the insanity about the 25th anniversary.' He didn't have to say the 25th anniversary of what, but I still didn't know what he was getting at. It seemed to me that 25 years after Elvis Presley's death the real story was the evaporation of Elvis Presley in American life.
"What was striking, given the staggering ubiquity of Elvis Presley after his death, was his disappearance from ordinary talk, paintings, movies, T-shirts, other people's songs from the cultural conversation through which a society explains itself to itself.
"The commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Aug. 16, 1977, seemed more than anything a media mirage churned up by Graceland smoke machines. A Graceland spokesman had recently discussed the problem facing the operation: if Elvis Presley was indeed immortal, his fans were not. Many of Elvis's original fans were dying off; if the enormously successful marketing of Elvis Presley over the last 25 years were to continue, they would have to be replaced by people who were not even born when Elvis Presley died."
Greil Marcus, writing on "Elvis Again," in the Winter issue of the Threepenny Review-RomanCondensed"
Truth in 'toons
"Last month, I drew a cartoon showing a man in Middle Eastern garb driving a Ryder truck hauling a nuke with the caption, 'What Would Mohammed Drive?'
"My cartoon prompted a firestorm of reaction orchestrated by a lobbying group called CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). This is not the first time my cartoons have prompted such organized attacks. Years ago, when I went after the corrupt excesses of Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker's Praise The Lord Club, for example, I similarly outraged fundamentalist Christians. The truth, like it or not, is that Muslim fundamentalists have committed devastating acts of terrorism against our country in the name of their prophet.
"CAIR reprinted my cartoon in their newsletter and encouraged their subscribers to e-mail and call me, my newspaper and my syndicate to complain. During the past few days, we have received more than 4,500 e-mails, and counting, all saying more or less the same thing about me and my drawing: Blasphemy. Ignorant. Disrespectful to our Prophet Mohammed. Hateful. 'Donkey'? They all demanded an apology. Quite a few threatened mutilation and death.
"Here is my answer to them. In this country, we do not apologize for our opinions. Free speech is the linchpin of our republic."
Doug Marlette in "How do you say 'freedom of speech' in Arabic?" Jan. 6 in www.jewishworldreview.com
Joe insult
"When the television reality program 'The Bachelor' aired, it immediately irked my feminist awareness and common sensibility. Of course, the basic absurdity and insult of setting up a bunch of women to fight over a man is demeaning enough, to say nothing of being completely unnatural.
"'Joe Millionaire' is the reality show which is anything but. Here, the absurdity is not just the fact that women are lined up to compete to get the guy, but they've all been lied to about his financial status. They've been told he's the $50-Million-Man, when in fact he's a $19,000-A-Year-Man. Their public humiliation is supposed to be funny and entertaining. Should I be thankful they don't have to wear a burqa?
"The insult of 'Joe Millionaire' sends an extraordinary message to both the young women and men who watch it. That program, by its very construct, tells young men that women are not sincere; women don't want you for who you are; women cannot be trusted; and ultimately, you have to be very careful because women, in their hearts, are just in it for the money; the burden of proof that they're not [prostitutes] rests with them."
Tammy Bruce, writing on "Joe Liar," Monday in Front Page at www.frontpagemag.com



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