- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2003

Media mobilization
"As war appears imminent, there is a particular group of people who are getting the jitters, full of nervous anticipation about what's to come. They're wondering if all their training will pay off, if they've got the proper equipment and if they've adequately planned for every contingency. We'll find out shortly, for the media will soon get the green light to begin 'Operation Infinite Coverage.' …
"Peter Jennings is preparing the perfectly rumpled shirt … in a futile effort to try and fool us into believing that a Canadian is actually losing sleep over any of this.
"Dan Rather is working on the granddaddy of all metaphors. … Dan is now … staring into a mirror and practicing lines like, 'Hussein's regime collapsed like the four-inch heel on an Anna Nicole Smith pump' and 'the planes are buzzing over Iraq like flies on a Texas cow flop.' …
"The folks at CNN are … frantically trying to figure out whose side they're on. Wolf Blitzer is attempting to fly to the Middle East to cover the war, but is finding it increasingly difficult to get a carry-on bag full of beard trimmers past airport security, and Larry King is ironing his suspenders, which lately always seem to match whatever color-coded terrorism threat level we're on. …
"Fox News is going full-scale leg wax and lip-gloss for this one. The women of Fox, who are responsible for more hearts skipping a beat than a cheap methamphetamine lab, are gearing up the short skirts and push-up bras to make this a war to remember."
Doug Powers, writing on "Lights, camera, attack!" Monday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com
Humor 101
"[Author Christie] Davies is particularly good on the ambiguity of jokes. The Scots and the Jews have in common a tendency to tell self-denigratory jokes. The Scots, for example, slyly reveal a character of canny meanness.
"Davies argues that in repertoires, what looks like self-denigration is actually a form of concealed boasting. The jokes tend to merge into mere wit and metaphor, and I have to say that at various points the sheer feebleness of some of the Scottish jokes gave me a deep respect for the scholarly dedication of the theorists. …
"We learn from jokes, as we learn from everything, and being mocked is an important part of growing up. 'All too often,' Davies remarks, 'humor scholars treat jokes as if they can be reduced to clear, serious objective statements, which imply single meanings, and then analyze them in a way that is ambiguous, obscure, untestable and subjective in a word, a joke.' The importance of 'The Mirth of Nations' is that it takes jokes back from the theorists and returns them to the comedians. And that's all of us."
Kenneth Minogue, writing on "Laughing Matters," in the March issue of New Criterion
Rap and reaction
"Many progressive thinkers, having inherited a century of radical European thought, assume that the most oppressive and reactionary parts of society are the rich, the powerful, and the well-born. …
"The rise of misogynistic rap culture dramatizes the inadequacy of that approach. … Rap and hip-hop came from the urban lower class. N.W.A., 2 Live Crew, Tupac Shakur, and Eminem … emerged authentically from the streets. … It is the least privileged parts of society that are often the most sexist, reactionary and even materialistic. We have a dynamic urban culture that treats women like [prostitutes] and that regards owning a Mercedes as the highest possible human aspiration, and the leading articulators of progressive opinion have almost nothing to say about it.
"They can't seem to bring themselves to admit out loud that their most effective ideological enemies have turned out to be the same underprivileged people they wanted to rescue from exploitation."
David Brooks, writing on "The Return of the Pig," in the April issue of the Atlantic Monthly magazine

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