- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Dot-communism

“By legalizing Internet file-trading tools, a California court handed a major victory to communism. The Internet allows the well-wired to take copyrighted material freely. Left unchecked, rampant copyright theft may soon destroy the for-profit production of movies, music and books and may usher in an age of digital communism.

“Technology will soon increase the ease of copyright theft because as broadband access proliferates, more people will be able to download pirated movies and music quickly. … How much money would Tom Clancy be able to make when readers can download all his books freely in under a second? …

“Is it necessarily bad if piracy destroys intellectual property rights? After all, when everything is free we can live out Karl Marx’s dream and have everyone take according to his needs.

“The 20th century witnessed a brutal competition between communism and capitalism. Communists believe that people can be motivated to work for the common good, while capitalists believe that profit provides the best catalyst for economic production. Capitalism, of course, triumphed mainly because of its superior economic performance. By decimating profits for content producers, peer-to-peer piracy may give us a communist system of intellectual-property production.”

—James D. Miller, writing on “Digital Communism,” Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Preschool pride

“For the last decade or so, largely working beneath public or parental notice, a well-organized movement has sought to revolutionize the curricula and culture of the nation’s public schools. Its aim: to stamp out ‘hegemonic heterosexuality’ — the traditional view that heterosexuality is the norm — in favor of a new ethos that does not just tolerate homosexuality but instead actively endorses experimenting with it. … The educational establishment has enthusiastically signed on. What this portends for the future of the public schools and the psychic health of the nation’s children is deeply worrisome. …

“A 2002 [Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Network] conference in Boston held a seminar on ‘Gender in the Early Childhood Classroom’ that examined ways of setting ‘the tone for nontraditional gender role play’ for preschoolers. To help get the LGBT message across to younger children, teachers can turn to an array of educational products, many of them available from GLSEN. Early readers include ‘One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads’; ‘King and King’; and ‘Asha’s Mums.’”

Marjorie King, writing on “Queering the Schools,” in the spring issue of City Journal

Cheesy ‘Idol’

“Crabby judges. Indignant parents. Irritating vocal flourishes. Jazz hands. Songs by Neil Sedaka you hoped you’d never hear again. Disco tunes you didn’t even like when they were popular. Ryan Seacrest.

“How did ‘American Idol,’ … a goofy vocal competition marking time in last summer’s schedule, become the fourth most popular show on television? …

“Not surprisingly, ‘American Idol’ has replaced ‘Survivor’ as the show most likely to be discussed by the water cooler. Still, describing the show’s appeal to those who don’t watch it is nearly impossible. ‘Isn’t it just a talent show where the judges pick on people?’ they ask, incredulously. ‘It looks so cheesy.’ …

“Struggling to predict which performer America would embrace or shun became the new game surrounding ‘American Idol,’ one more heated and open to debate than any discussion of talent could be. Thus, this season, despite the sheer boredom of watching a bunch of fairly talented but not all that interesting kids sing cloyingly sweet ballads and absurdly dorky disco tunes, … ‘American Idol’ has become a TV event that a lot of Americans don’t want to miss.”

—Heather Havrilesky, writing on “Thou shalt worship ‘American Idol,’” Tuesday in Salon at www.salon.com

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