- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Celebrity sermons
"Some mention that Charles Lindbergh used to pal around with Hermann Goering in the 1930s. Everyone talks about Jane Fonda inspecting North Vietnamese gun emplacements in the '60s. And some ungenerous souls may want to trace the history of celebrity advocacy back as far as John Wilkes Booth. …
"'Ever since the whole notion of celebrity was invented, there were some people who took advantage of the pulpit that celebrity gave them to give us their opinion,' said Robert J. Thompson, a professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University. …
"Today, there are three channels dedicated to 24-hour news, and hundreds of others providing a soapbox for every soap star. … The question is, with so many celebrities spouting off, does anyone care anymore?
"'There's plenty of time to have a long, drawn-out discussion about whether Sean Penn should have visited Baghdad or Janeane Garofalo should keep her mouth shut,' Professor Thompson said. 'The reason this gets talked about so much is that there are so many more places to talk about it.'"
Rick Lyman, writing on "Celebrities Become Pundits at Their Own Risk," Sunday in the New York Times
Tinseltown's turn
"It was only a matter of time before Hollywood 'discovered' homeschoolers.
"Ponder the promo from 'The O'Keefes,' a sitcom, which will premiere this summer on the Warner Brothers network:
"'Harry and Ellie O'Keefe are loving but eccentric parents who've homeschooled their three children to protect them from the loud and libidinal world.' …
"'They can speak six languages, but are unable to converse with kids their own age. The answer lies in their father's worst nightmare public school.' (Translation: Kids who don't attend government schools become misfits.)
"It's infuriating, but not surprising, that homeschoolers … still elicit scorn. The National Education Association, for instance, regularly passes an anti-homeschooling resolution at its annual convention. The resolution states that homeschooling 'cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience.' Now it's apparently Tinseltown's turn to bash the estimated 1.5 million homeschooled children in the United States."
Isabel Lyman, writing on "The Why of Homeschool," Feb. 25 for the Ludwig von Mises Institute at www.mises.org
Older and experienced?
"Recently, while conversing with several 30-something film buffs, the subject of geriatric [lotharios] came up. Michael Caine, age 70, had bedded the exotic Do Thi Hai Yen, a half century his junior, in 'The Quiet American.' Clint Eastwood, now a ripe old 72, had recently been sighted putting his hoof marks all over Wanda de Jesus, a nubile young woman, in the cardiovascular thriller 'Blood Work.' …
"Several of my younger male friends questioned the appropriateness of such behavior. They felt it was undignified, sexist and, most important, unrealistic for actors this old to bed down with comely women many years younger than they. The actors were making themselves look ridiculous. They were sending the wrong message to young women. …
"Young men many of them stubby, bespectacled, prematurely bald men secretly resent aging movie stars because they know that even the baldest, stubbiest, most nearsighted movie star still looks a lot better than they do and can still get attractive young women to go to bed with them. …
"Somewhere in the dark furrows of the moviegoer's twisted subconscious, he honestly believes that if Methuselan movie stars weren't hitting on Helen Hunt and Tea Leoni, these women or women very much like them would be available to him. At least in his dreams. That is, his wildest dreams. This, of course, is insane. As Eastwood once explained in 'Magnum Force,' 'A man's got to know his limitations.' Even in his fantasies."
Joe Queenan, writing in the March issue of GQ

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