- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2003

Kid, you rock
"Flip on the TV, open up a newspaper or go to a show everywhere you look there's some Hollywood hot shot or music biz bigwig taking a courageous stand against the 'Bush/Blair Bomb Squad.'
"The latest to join the debate is rock 'n' roll bad boy and self-proclaimed redneck, Kid Rock although you probably haven't heard about it, since, true to his rebellious reputation, the multi-platinum artist isn't toeing the party line.
"At a pre-Grammy party, Kid answered a reporter's question about the war in Iraq, and made it clear that he isn't part of the music industry's anti-war faction. 'Why is everybody trying to stop the war? George Bush ain't been saying, "You all make [expletive] records." Politicians and music don't mix. It's like whiskey and wine. We ought to stay out of it.'
"Kid knows he's no policy wonk or geopolitical strategist, but couldn't resist adding, 'We got to kill that [expletive] Saddam,' he says. 'Slit his throat. Kill him and the guy in North Korea.'
"Asked about innocent Iraqi civilian casualties, Kid answered pragmatically, 'Yeah. But [Mr. Bush] is doing the right thing. You got money; you sit around talking about peace. People who don't have money need some help.'"
Matthew Reid, writing on "Kid Rock Rocks the Anti-War Crowd," Thursday in FrontPage at www.frontpagemag.com
Mailer's era
[Norman Mailer] would stage and perform opinions on everything from Marlon Brando … to WASPs … to race … to women ('The prime responsibility of a woman probably is to be on earth long enough to find the best mate possible for herself and conceive children who will improve the species').
"For a while there, at least until an evening at Town Hall with Germaine Greer, he was out in front on the subjects of sex and power. But afterward he seemed stuck, trying to charm his way out. … Many years later, on election night 1988, when Hunter S. Thompson finally showed up two hours late at the Ritz in downtown Alphabet City, wearing a rubber Richard Nixon mask, waving a rifle, and embarrassing us as if he were a Mailer, I remember thinking that one reason America had come to hate the '60s was because so many of us who came of political age in that decade were such tiresome performers. Like something exotic like, say, Madagascar we had detached ourselves from the Mother Continent, grown our own flora and fauna. … On the cusp of extinction, we were showing off instead of hunkering down. In the American Bush, wild Borks were waiting for us."
John Leonard, writing on "Don Quixote at 80," in the New York Review of Books
Our neighbor
"At some point, all of us who grew up with him got too cool for Mister Rogers. We reached the age where we were embarrassed to admit that we ever liked the guy and were still stupid enough to believe our classmates when they claimed that they had never liked him either. …
"So how did so many us find our way back to Fred Rogers, who died [Thursday] at 74? … How do you go from being too cool to like Mister Rogers to acting the way a Boston University graduating class did some years back when the school presented Fred Rogers with an honorary doctorate and the graduates rose en masse to join him in singing 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?'
"I think the answer has something to do with the fact that the older you get the more grateful you are for anyone who talks straight to you. … Mister Rogers talked to us without talking down to us. He wasn't some ding-dong dressed up like a clown, a cowboy, an astronaut screeching, 'Hi boys and girls!' He treated his audience like people."
Charles Taylor, writing on "Would you be mine?" Thursday in Salon at www.salon.com

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