- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 13, 2003

The real flop

“Hubris explains the poor box-office reception for ‘The Real Cancun.’ Producers Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jon Murray, the tycoons behind MTV’s ‘The Real World,’ thought they could further transform popular culture by pandering to the public’s lowest instincts one more time. … But their exploitation in ‘The Real Cancun’ — which follows a group of hand-picked American youths to a spring break bacchanal in Mexico — is too [tame] to be compelling. We already get enough Ugly Americanism for free on shows from ‘Survivor’ to ‘Joe Millionaire,’ ‘Temptation Island’ to ‘The Amazing Race.’ …

“It’s the arrogant dishonesty of the Bunim and Murray braintrust — a central component of MTV’s ever-alert manipulation of the youth market — that makes even the flop of ‘The Real Cancun’ significant. Bunim and Murray bet that if MTV can bilk cable subscribers with softcore, quasi-verite soap operas, then movie audiences might be as easy to cheat. …

‘The Real Cancun’ — flop or not — is part of the indoctrination of mindlessness that has become pop culture’s chronic condition.”

— Armond White, writing in the May 7 issue of New York Press

Commie culture

“The theoretical and historical foundation of cultural Communism is known as the Frankfurt School. The Frankfurt School was not an institution, but rather, a school of thought within Marxism. … [I]ts most significant figures were Walter Benjamin, Theodore Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse. Raymond Williams … may be considered an honorary member.

“The Frankfurt School coalesced in the mid-20th century, largely in response to the discontent that many Marxist intellectuals felt toward orthodox Marxism, and to the growing realization that the much desired class war in the capitalist West was unlikely to occur. Benjamin, Adorno, Marcuse, Williams, et. al., then began to speculate on how best to subvert the capitalist society they hated so much. Willy-nilly, they concluded that capitalism was far more vulnerable at the cultural than the economic level and that, therefore, the cultural norms of capitalist society should be attacked. The obliteration of capitalism’s cultural infrastructure would bring down capitalism and make possible the construction of a Communist society in the West.

“To a large degree (and as noted by Paul Weyrich among others), this cultural Communism is the program of today’s anti-American Left.

Joseph Yeager, writing on “Cultural Communists,” Friday in Front Page at www.frontpagemag.com

Childish fun

“As long as you’re not the one looking after them, it’s exhilarating to watch a mad jumble of little kids run roughshod over a tastefully appointed living room — displacing sofa cushions, using vases as footballs, and so forth. It sounds harsh when people who don’t like children (or even those who do) refer to them as little savages. Personally, I think they’re something much more interesting — they’re natural anarchists. …

“Taking care of kids is hard, period — it doesn’t matter whether it’s Mom or Dad who’s doing the heavy lifting. The most exquisite sequence in ‘Daddy Day Care’ is the one that details the dads’ first day of work. —

“Charlie and Phil trudge awkwardly through that first day on the job. … Lunchtime arrives and we see Charlie and Phil heaping the kids’ plates with snack foods in colors not found in nature. … Then the potent combination of sugar, preservatives and God knows what else goes to work, and the kids turn into Tasmanian devils, screaming, running, stomping on piano keys, drinking bubble stuff — generally wreaking havoc on everything around them, all to the tune of the Ramones’ ‘I Wanna Be Sedated.’ …

“‘Daddy Day Care’ is one of those comedies that ‘thinking’ people tend to stay away from, but if you look beyond its admittedly aggressive marketing campaign, you can see that it was made with care and intelligence as well as a sense of fun.”

Stephanie Zacharek, writing on “Daddy Day Care,” Friday in Salon at www.salon.com

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