- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2003

Thanks, Mum

“Like many children of celebrities, Madonna tells us, the Material Girl’s daughter, Lourdes, had a problem: The other kids teased her about her mother.

“As child-rearing quandaries go, this is a toughie. What’s a celebrity to do?

“Madonna’s answer was to write a children’s book that preaches tolerance toward girls who are prettier, smarter, kinder, better at sports, and generally more special than you. …

” ‘The English Roses’ is written from the point of view of four girls — the Roses of the title, whom Madonna says she named for a group of girls who go to school with Lourdes in London. The book’s Roses hang out together and pointedly ignore Binah, a blond beauty with milk-and-honey skin, top grades, athletic talent, a good heart, and no friends. …

“Great! Now Lourdes is the daughter of that woman who sings all those pop songs, carries on at music awards, published kinky nude photos of herself, and wrote a charmless, didactic book about how much smarter, prettier, etc., etc., her heroine is than other girls. … Thanks a whole lot, Mum.”

Polly Shulman, writing on “The Material Girl Gets Immaterial,” Tuesday in Slate at www.slate.com

Developing faith

“What most pundits and scholars have missed is the incredible growth of Christianity, and where it’s growing. Today more Presbyterians worship in the African nation of Ghana than in Scotland. And more Anglicans worship in Nigeria than in Britain.

“We like to think of ourselves as the Christian West. But there is growing evidence that the center of Christendom has moved. …

“Christianity is sweeping across the Southern Hemisphere and Asia like a tidal wave.

” ‘The scale of Christian growth is almost unimaginable,’ said Philip Jenkins, distinguished professor of history and religious studies at Penn State University. …

“Jenkins says in just 20 years, two-thirds of all Christians will live in Africa, Latin America or Asia. …

“Most of them are not gripped by debates over homosexuality or abortion — that is a problem for European and American liberals — they believe the Bible.”

Dale Hurd, writing on “A Tidal Wave of Christianity,” Wednesday at www.cbn.com

Ferris Drudge

“Liberals, Bush-haters, disillusioned right wingers: Meet your new journalistic hero, your muckraking defender of the everyman, your razor-sharp slasher of the Bush White House and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s drive to take over California for the GOP. Meet Matt Drudge.

“It’s not that Drudge has had a political conversion, allies and observers say. … There’s a more basic reason for Drudge’s targeting of the Bush camp. …

” ‘He’s taking on the high school administration,’ says one Drudge ally. ‘All authority figures are enjoyable targets. And it’s the mischievousness of it all that gets under the skin of the establishment, a la Ferris Bueller.’

” ‘I didn’t think of him so much as a conservative as an outsider,’ adds Susan Estrich. …

“Since [Schwarzenegger] got into the California recall race, the ‘Kindergarten Cop’ has been the subject of a seemingly endless series of saucy Drudge links: … [including] the now-legendary: ‘Oui, oui: Arnold pumps up orgies and dope in ‘77 shock interview.’ …

“Drudge is more of an entertainer than he is an ideologue.”

Noah Shachtman, writing on “Matt Drudge, GOP scourge?” Wednesday in Salon at www.salon.com

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