- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Guilty, guilty, guilty

“In 1917 the Bolsheviks seized control of Russia and declared the founding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics … with the world-historical mission of hastening the demise of capitalism. …

“President Woodrow Wilson dispatched troops to Russia in a half-hearted effort to aid the forces fighting the communist government. The Bolsheviks returned the favor two years later when leaders of the newly formed American Communist Party trooped to Moscow for orders. For the next seven decades the CPUSA proclaimed itself an independent political party while in fact acting as an adjunct of the Soviet Union. …

“The American response varied from neglect to overreaction. …

“The honorable anticommunism of ‘the vital center’ eventually lost out to something ugly and extreme, best typified by Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy, who attacked alleged communists the way dogs chase cars, and with as much effect.

“A quite different vestige of McCarthy-era posturing … lost its legs at the end of the Cold War. … Crucial documents proved … that many of those accused of helping the communists were actually guilty (Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs most famously) and indisputably linked the CPUSA to Soviet espionage.”

Michael J. Ybarra, writing on “The Cold War Heats Up,” Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal

Mating market

“The notion that dating, mating, and marriage take place within a marketplace is a conceit universally observed by writers of comedic-dramatic television shows, directors of romantic comedies in Hollywood, and authors of ‘chick lit’ novels loosely based on plots from Jane Austen or Edith Wharton. Objective measures of eligibility — appearance, earning power, age — are understood to determine whether individuals will be perceived as desirable commodities … or relegated to the remainder bin, shopworn by blind dates and disappointments.

“Rachel Greenwald’s new book, ‘Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School’ … takes the notion of the marketplace literally, and addresses those single women who worry that their comparative value is dwindling with each passing year. … There are 28 million single women in America, Greenwald writes, and a dedicated husband-hunter should be no less zealous than General Mills in distinguishing her product from the competition.”

Rebecca Mead, writing on “Love for Sale,” in Monday’s issue of the New Yorker

Just ‘Friends’?

“In this year of Gay TV, with at least nine gay-centric shows in prime time, the real question is: Which show is the gayest? is it the obvious choice, ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’? Or is it that old standard bearer, ‘Will & Grace’? For our money, though, TV’s gayest show is, and always has been, ‘Friends.’ Since its premiere in 1994, the hugely popular sitcom put a face on the love that dare not speak its name, starring those three lovably wisecracking girly-boys, Chandler, Ross and Joey, who favor pastel neckties, sweater-vests and hair products, and who spend their days lounging around a coffee bar, sharing muffins and lattes with the gals.

“That only the ‘Friends’ themselves seem unaware of their obvious gayness says a little about them and a lot about the state of prime-time television, which is so steeped in gayness even the straight guys could go either way.”

Ned Zurman, writing on “Gay-Per-View TV,” in the December issue of Vanity Fair

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