- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2003

Changing times
"A lot of what people think of me has to do with when I was younger. I did sort of burn it full blast. But that doesn't really exist any longer. I don't burn it at both ends anymore. I have to have more ecology of my person energy.
"The thing about getting older is that your character improves whether you want it to or not. Nature forces you to become a better person. And that's a good thing, especially for somebody like me.
"I'm less libidinous. I'm not nonlibidinous, but I'm more weary and less tolerant of the dance. And it's easier for me to be alone now. I had to learn how to be alone. There was a long period of my life when I felt like I was going to run out of air or something if I wasn't rattling around in bed with somebody. But I've gotten more comfortable in solitude. I appreciate it as a luxury.
"You know, I can tell you exactly when the sexual revolution ended: when Time magazine put herpes on the cover [in 1982]. During my lifetime, I saw everything getting more and more open and free every day after World War II. And then Time put herpes on the cover and it's been getting less and less free ever since."
Jack Nicholson, interviewed by Benjamin Svetkey, in the Jan. 3 issue of Entertainment Weekly

'Suicide gap'
"Conservatives are used to being called callous and uncaring. But until recently the full evil of conservatism has been successfully concealed. Now we've learned that conservative rule makes people want to kill themselves.
"'Suicide Rises Under Conservative Rule,' says a Sept. 20 headline on the Web site of Nature magazine. 'A nation's suicide rate increases under right-wing governments, according to two studies that have looked at Australia and Britain over the past century.'
"Never mind the gender gap; liberals now have a 'suicide gap' to crow about.
"Of course, an alternative theory needs to be studied: Conservatives may just be happier, more stable people, less prone to suicidal despair when their opponents come to power. The empirical evidence here is abundant: How often do you hear Rush Limbaugh laugh, and how often do you hear Mario Cuomo or Bill Press laugh?"
Steven Hayward, writing on "Killer Conservatives," in the January/February issue of the American Enterprise

Religious mission
"If the look of a movie were enough to guarantee greatness, 'Gangs of New York' would be a masterpiece. Martin Scorcese's long-awaited epic, set mostly in New York's notorious Five Points neighborhood in 1863, is designed with such poetic extravagance that it's as if we were watching a vast collective memory. As a piece of visionary historical re-creation, with nary a digital effect in sight, 'Gangs of New York' is stunning, and it has the added bonus of being about an era that is virtually new to movies. As a dramatic achievement, however, it is not quite so amazing.
"A great subject requires great characters and a large, unifying theme. The 'Godfather' movies offered a tragic vision of the American Dream. 'Gangs of New York' is a far less expansive and complex emotional experience. Its characters its heroes and villains are mostly traditional; they lack the richness to fill out the grandeur of the production design.
"What we're left with has the patness of a history lesson about our roots and the melting pot and what it means to be an American.
"Scorcese often talks about moviemaking as if it were a religious calling. 'Gangs of New York' is his mission to reconcile us with our violent past and achieve redemption."
Peter Rainer, writing on "Old World Charm," in the Dec. 23 issue of New York

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