- The Washington Times - Friday, March 7, 2003

Inhibited jazz
"For [the] grim state of affairs in jazz [Wynton] Marsalis, the public face of the music and the evident master of its destiny, has been declared at least partly culpable. By leading jazz into the realm of unbending classicism, by applying the Great Man template to establish an iconography (Armstrong, Ellington, Parker, Coltrane), and by sanctifying a canon of their own choosing (Armstrong's 'Hot Fives,' Ellington's Blanton-Webster period, Parker's Savoy sessions, Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme'), Marsalis and his adherents are said to have codified the music in a stifling orthodoxy and inhibited the revolutionary impulses that have always advanced jazz.
"A former executive with Columbia Records who has worked intimately with five Marsalises says, 'For many people, Wynton has come to embody some retro ideology that is not really of the moment, you know it's more museumlike in nature, a look back. I think as each day passes, Wynton does lose relevance as a shaper of musical direction.'"
David Hajdu, writing on "Wynton's Blues," in the March issue of the Atlantic Monthly

No fiddlin' around
"I was surfing [television channels] the other day and saw the face of none other than Baghdad Sean Penn, the traitorous little Hollywood hotshot who went to Iraq to try to make America look bad.
"He was pointing out that the Iraqi people were in terrible shape, they were being deprived of the essentials of life, food and medicine and such and that the American embargo was the cause of all their ills.
"I got so mad I had to change channels. Here is this American citizen, who has reaped rewards far beyond those of 99.9 percent of the people in this nation, standing there blaming the woes of the Iraqi people on the United States of America. …
"Mr. Penn, did Saddam Hussein have nothing to do with it? …
"What is it about Hollywood that so blinds you people to the evil in the world? Why do you insist that the United States is such a terrible nation? …
"One thing about it Mr. Penn, you will be remembered for a whole lot more than your acting. There will be hundreds of thousands of men and women who proudly wear the uniform of the United States of America who will remember you for a long time. …
"They will remember your words, criticizing the country they love enough to die for.
"I wouldn't be going to any Veterans of Foreign War meetings if I were you, Mr. Penn."
Country fiddler Charlie Daniels, writing on "Baghdad Sean Is At It Again," Feb. 28 at www.charliedaniels.com

Spongebob agenda
"My kids watch TV cartoons. … I don't much mind. …
"Most of the things that aren't utterly unsuitable for them are dreck, of course 90 percent of everything on TV is dreck and generally speaking, cartoons are the least objectionable fare. Thank goodness, then, for Nickelodeon. …
"[T]he 'purest' cartoon and the one my kids like best, they tell me is Spongebob Squarepants. … Spongebob, in case you have never seen the show, is a small cuboid of yellow sponge who lives at the bottom of the sea, in the town of Bikini Bottom. …
"Spongebob is, so far as I can tell, devoid of any large significance. …
"The Wall Street Journal ran an article last fall reporting that Spongebob has a cult following among male homosexuals. Nothing much surprises me in this zone any more, but I can't quite see the connection here. The Journal … thought it was all about tolerance the characters … treating each other on a basis of equality. Well, yes; but all cartoons are like that nowadays. In fact, all TV productions of any sort are pretty much like that. A TV program that wasn't like that would be howled off the air by an enraged mob of 'victims' of 'bigotry.'"
John Derbyshire, writing on "Spongebob Squarepants," Wednesday in National Review Online at www.national- review.com

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