- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Red-meat rebel

“The modern body has become a temple to which people pay as deep attention as many in the past paid to the soul. … A vast industry thrives of entrail inspection for cholesterol, triglycerides and a burgeoning array of other inner substances.

“These purport to predict longevity, death or decent health. They reflect the latest putative certainty about feeding the perfect immortal body, and implicitly reveal moral character. …

“In this turbulent tale, diet doctor Robert Atkins was perhaps the preeminent individual player of our time. …

“[H]e challenged the planetary medical profession, which claimed that fat you ate became fat to hate — resulting in arteries that clogged and hearts that conked.

“Low-fat, fake-fat and no-fat foods from this dietary equation bestride the land. But the population scarfing fat-free foods grows plumper nonetheless. Dr. Atkins (among others) asserted that carbohydrates were precursors to obesity while protein, even in red meat, generated inner alchemy for longer life and more gastro-fun while living it. His proposal was drastic, counterintuitive, tempting, obvious and rebellious.”

Lionel Tiger, writing on “Eat Meat,” Thursday in the Wall Street Journal

The horror

“Our orientation to … cultural diversity has changed radically and in a remarkably brief period. Consider Joseph Conrad’s short novel ‘Heart of Darkness,’ published a century ago (1902). Conrad offers a dark vision of Western man in deep confrontation with another culture. Kurtz, an exemplar of a civilized European, goes far upriver … where he descends into murderous savagery. Dying, Kurtz achieves an instant of clarity … in which he cries out, ‘The horror! The horror!’

“Whatever else this complex story is about, it does not advance the idea that we can achieve happier and more fulfilled lives by plunging into cultural exchange and exploration of our links to other peoples. ‘Heart of Darkness’ is quite plainly framed by the idea that the cultural otherness of the Congo is a dangerous thing, and powerful enough to unhinge a strong and cultivated man like Kurtz.”

Peter Wood, writing on “Diversity,” in the March/April issue of the American Spectator

Comfort zone

“One hundred years ago this month, W.E.B. DuBois — one of 20th-century America’s leading intellectuals — published what may be the most prophetic book written on the subject of race: ‘The Souls of Black Folk.’ Its most famous prophecy was simply that the 20th century would be the century of the ‘color line.’ If this prediction was ultimately qualified by the great ideological struggles against communism and fascism, it was also borne out by the struggles against segregation, apartheid, caste and world-wide colonialism. So, for its prescience alone, this book deserves the many centennial celebrations it is now receiving around the nation.

“That a 100-year-old book on race is not essentially dated is more a statement about America today than about the book. In 1903, DuBois was nothing less than heroic, and as the century unfolded his protest ideology transformed America’s social conscience. But shouldn’t we be beyond it now? Why is it that most any American commenting publicly on a racial issue in 2003 will drop right into the comfort zone of DuBoisian protest where white are always responsible and blacks are always victims?”

Shelby Steele, writing on “The Souls of Black Folk” in today’s Wall Street Journal

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