- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2003

Blondes’ burden

“Hugh Hefner would like you to think the whole blonde-bombshell thing began with the first Playboy, with Marilyn Monroe, but you have to really look into that. …

“The obsession with blonde bombshells goes back even further than Marilyn. People were streaking and dyeing their hair in the Roman Empire. …

“Blondeness has always stood for virtue — and for [prostitution], too, before red hair did. Being blonde is a massive cultural responsibility, and every time I’ve tried to do another color, I can’t — I freak out. …

“So do we love blondes or hate blondes — or both? It’s a Young Miss Question, but look who you’re listening to. I’ve made millions off people loving me, hating me, hating to love me and loving to hate me. … It’s been back and forth. Still, I think I get in a lot more trouble because I’m blonde.”

—Courtney Love, writing on “The Blonde Bombshell,” in the May 15 issue of Rolling Stone

Orwell’s vision

“George Orwell’s last book, ‘1984,’ has in a way been a victim of the success of ‘Animal Farm,’ which most people were content to read as a straightforward allegory about the melancholy fate of the Russian revolution. From the minute Big Brother’s moustache makes its appearance in the second paragraph of ‘1984,’ many readers, thinking right away of Stalin, have tended to carry over the habit of point-for-point analogy from the earlier work. Although Big Brother’s face certainly is Stalin’s, just as the despised party heretic Emmanuel Goldstein’s face is Trotsky’s, the two do not quite line up with their models as neatly as Napoleon and Snowball did in ‘Animal Farm.’

“Orwell thought of himself as a member of the ‘dissident left,’ as distinguished from the ‘official left,’ meaning basically the British Labour party, most of which he had come … to regard as potentially, if not already, fascist. More or less consciously, he found an analogy between British Labour and the Communist Party under Stalin — both, he felt, were movements professing to fight for the working classes against capitalism, but in reality concerned only with establishing and perpetuating their own power. The masses were only there to be used for their idealism, their class resentments, their willingness to work cheap and to be sold out, again and again.”

—Thomas Pynchon, writing on “The Road to 1984,” Saturday in the London Guardian

Unequal diversity

“Secretary of Education Rod Paige answered questions from the Miami Herald about the president’s approach to achieving racial diversity in higher education. On the whole, Paige gave a respectable defense of Bush’s critique of affirmative action. But one of his answers illustrates the problem with adopting the language of affirmative action’s defenders:

“‘It isn’t a question of whether or not we should have diversity. The question is, how do we attain this?’

“It’s problematic to adopt the language of ‘diversity’ when defending race-neutral measures of promoting access to education. Instead of government as the protector of individual rights, it becomes the grantor of entitlements to individuals depending on what group they are a member of. …

“It also suggests that equality of individual rights and opportunities should produce equality of results, i.e., the equal ‘representation’ of race, sex, and other human characteristics in every human endeavor. Of course, this never happens when diverse human beings apply themselves in diverse ways to the diverse resources and options they have at hand. Do affirmative action proponents never get out to a ball game and see what their much-vaunted ‘level playing field’ actually produces? Even those who enjoy a pitcher’s duel in baseball cheer for one side or the other to do better than — that is, perform unequally compared with — the other.”

—Lucas Morel, writing on “The Perils of Saying ‘Diversity’ in Public,” for the Ashbrook Center at www.ashbrook.org

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