- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2003

No more stories

“Stories are for children, lawyers, and indie-film producers. The rest of us don’t have time. … Yet some people are convinced that reality television will wane because people crave narrative, that we have some innate need to riddle out which of the ‘Just Shoot Me’ characters shouldn’t be shot. This argument is usually made by writers. …

“Reality television doesn’t threaten good writing, it replaces bad writing. You don’t need a script for a Vin Diesel movie when all you really want is to see stuff blown up. … Thanks to the visionaries at ‘Are You Hot?’ no child will ever again have to suffer through the plot of a ‘Baywatch’ episode to see mostly naked bimbos. …

“Even George Lucas, who is always referencing Joseph Campbell on how each society creates the same heroic epic, seems to have given up on storytelling in favor of just boring the audience between special effects.”

Joel Stein, writing on “Tales Spin,” in this Friday’s issue of Entertainment Weekly

Crying victim

“You’ve got to admire the tenacity of leftists. The same people who were colossally wrong about the war on terror, … who defamed America and its supporters as enemies of freedom even after the wars that led to liberation — these same people, now that history has thoroughly embarrassed them and refuted their claims, are … on the attack! …

“From Greenwich Village to Hollywood the American left is crying victim — ‘McCarthyism,’ ‘persecution’ — because Americans are revolted by what they said and did. And of course the left is once again — in the same hypocritical breath — presenting itself as a defender of the American liberties it refused to defend. And of course the left is yet again ‘defending’ them not against the fascist threat from Iran and other terrorist states still at large, but from America itself. ‘A chill wind is blowing in this nation,’ is how actor and anti-war leftist Tim Robbins characterizes his triumphant country while complaining about his ‘persecution’ and ‘silencing’ on national TV. …

“Leading the leftist juggernaut in its current attack on America’s defenders is the largest and most influential hate group in America, misnamed ‘People for the American Way.’ People for the American Way is a permanent campaign of fear and hate aimed principally at Christian conservatives but at every group that attempts to defend America against the assaults of the left.”

David Horowitz, writing on “People Against the American Way,” Tuesday in Front Page at www.frontpage.com

Comic heyday

“Comic books grew up only in the 1930s, at first composed crudely of reprints from newspaper strips. The comic-book industry began at the end of the decade, prompted in no small degree by the supersuccess of one figure: Superman.

“That the Man of Steel had been created by a couple of Jewish teenagers in Cleveland, and that the rights were sold to Action Comics in New York for next to nothing, tells us volumes. Concentrated in New York, the little comic-book companies … generally had a handful of artists or assistants and paid them terribly. … Formulas for success (i.e., steady sales) were plucked out of movies, popular literature, and occasionally classics, and sometimes actually invented. As in the production of the ‘B’ movies of the day or future TV sitcoms, successful plots and styles, indeed whole genres of comics, were stolen by competitors just as soon as they appeared. …

“Comic books hit their highest circulation during and shortly after the Second World War, GIs and children with pocket money adding massively to the half-million per year that a successful title could reach. Patriotism and exploitation merged seamlessly, with hateful racial stereotyping of the Japanese worse than the usual belittling treatment of African-American characters.”

Paul Buhle, writing on “The New Scholarship of Comics,” in this Friday’s issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education

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