- The Washington Times - Monday, October 20, 2003

Nostalgia kick

“We’re shameless in our desire for warmed-over reruns that skip along like broken eight-tracks. … Number one at the box office recently: ‘Dickie Roberts,’ a film in which ‘70s icons were culled … to play poker with David Spade. …

“It’s not completely pointless to savor what came before. Cultural touchstones deserve a fond look back — and, often, a good laugh. But retrospectives, reruns, and reissues are now our refuge. …

“When I was a kid, a world without adults seemed ideal. … A decade later, I’ve gotten my wish: Kids and their parents fight over who gets to read the next ‘Harry Potter’ installment first. … It’s long past time to put childhood back on the shelf where it belongs — right next to the Duran Duran albums.”

Kara Baskin, writing on “Child Actors,” Oct. 13 in the New Republic Online at www.tnr.com


“Three times a week, 48 weeks a year, a four-man team drives a huge yellow Hummer to a different location. It might be a college or high school campus, a major fraternity gathering, an NAACP event, MTV’s Spring Break, or BET’s Spring Bling: If lots of African-American teens will be there, the Hummer wants to be there, too.

“Spray-painted with patriotic images … the yellow Hummer is the signature vehicle for the U.S. Army’s ‘Taking It to the Streets’ campaign, a hip-hop-flavored tour. … During these events, the Taking It to the Streets team lets possible recruits hang out in the Hummer, where they can try out the multimedia sound system or watch Army recruitment videos. …

“It’s all to convince urban teens that the Army understands hip-hop culture: The Army knows you play basketball and wear jerseys, because the Army is down with the streets.”

Whitney Joiner, writing on “The Army be thuggin’ it,” Friday in Salon at www.salon.com

Marxist rage

“Thirty-four years ago this fall, a small band of well-educated young Americans … steeled themselves to commit an act of spectacularly gratuitous violence. A militant breakaway faction of Students for a Democratic Society, they called themselves the Weathermen. Their strategy, such as it was, blended theatrical bravado with puritanical zeal. … Wearing crash helmets and wielding baseball bats … they would run wild in the streets of Chicago, lashing out at any available symbol of privilege and power: police, parked cars, affluent bystanders. …

“The Weathermen’s 1969 melee in Chicago, billed ‘The Days of Rage,’ was meant to inspire working-class youth to commit similarly gratuitous acts, and to prove the group’s revolutionary macho to the Black Panthers. But the Panthers spurned them, and there was no evidence that working-class youth were ready to run wild in the streets. So the group changed its tactics, with deadly results. …

“Besides issuing a stream of turgid communiques denouncing racism and sexism and proclaiming sympathy for fellow revolutionaries such as Ho Chi Minh, the group succeeded in bombing several symbolic targets, including the Pentagon and the Capitol building.

“For all the neo-Marxist gibberish that larded its communiques, it was a radical movement with Puritan overtones, forged self-consciously out of revulsion at a shameful ‘white skin privilege’ its members hoped to expunge, in part by making a sacrificial offering of their own pure souls.”

James Miller, writing on “Return of the Weathermen,” Sunday in the Boston Globe

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