- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2003

‘Farsighted analyst’

“Richard Weaver [was] one of the three most influential intellectuals of the postwar conservative renascence in America. Weaver, a native of a small town in Western North Carolina, was until his untimely death in 1963, a professor of English at the University of Chicago. He was also a highly perceptive political and moral philosopher, social and religious commentator, and scholar of Southern history. He was an elegant and farsighted analyst of Western civilization’s moral decline and gradual descent into totalitarian ways of thinking. …

“Weaver wrote in secular and philosophical terms, but with deep underlying religious convictions. ‘Worldview is the most important thing about a man,’ wrote Weaver, and further developed that worldview is also the most important thing about societies and cultures. …

“Weaver points out that denying the transcendent, as he called it, is the denial of truth. … From this denial of transcendent truth there was ‘no escape from the relativism of man as the measure of all things.’ Philosophy began to lose all sense of moral compass.”

Mike Scruggs, writing on “Richard Weaver: Ideas Have Consequences,” in the November issue of Southern Events

Dumbed down

“Educators talk about standards, new standards, enforced standards and improved curriculum development. Yet over the past 20 years, story after story surfaces about education being ‘dumbed down.’ …

“Popular recognition of poor educational quality control has led to calls for student testing as a condition for high school graduation, which is met with resistance from the education establishment.

“[E]ducators argue that testing is ‘abusive,’ ‘inaccurate,’ ‘meaningless,’ ‘(an) attack on intellectual freedom’ and ‘a highly effective means of social control.’

“But ignorance is the most effective means of social control that I know.

“When a 12th-grader receives a diploma that actually represents an eighth-grade education, and is relegated to an earning power that is 40 percent less than his high school-graduated grandfather, maybe this is an act of war requiring subjugated servitude!”

Richard Skidmore, writing on “Dumbing down of education fighting,” Nov. 20 in the Los Angeles Daily News

Shock and yawn

“If you can believe it, Britney Spears would like people to focus on her music, not her midriff. But seeing is believing and since the debut of her music video ‘I’m a Slave 4U’ two years ago, fans have seen Spears take an increasingly provocative journey into sexual exhibitionism. …

“But now comes the moment of truth. With her new album ‘In the Zone,’ set to be released Nov. 17 internationally and Nov. 18 in the U.S. … the challenge for the record label is to get across that Spears, 22, has matured as an artist and is ready for a grown-up and more musically diverse audience. …

“Ironically, her album sales seem to have declined in direct proportion to her increasing public profile. Her 1999 debut, ‘… Baby One More Time,’ sold 10 million copies. Subsequent releases — 2000’s ‘Oops! … I Did It Again’ and 2001’s ‘Britney’ — sold 9.1 million and 4.2 million copies. … But so far, public reaction to the new material has fallen well short of the media excitement. ‘Me Against the Music,’ the album’s opening single (featuring ample guestwork by Madonna) … slips six slots to No. 44 in its fifth week.”

Rashaun Hall, writing on “Britney Sexes Up the Music,” in the Nov. 22 issue of Billboard

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