- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2003

America’s choice

“With the Capitol as a backdrop, [Britney] Spears turned America’s front yard into a celebration of hedonism, complete with scantily clad dancers, crotch-grabbing and the stirring patriotic message: ‘If you want to party, just grab somebody.’

“Meanwhile, down in Montgomery, Alabama, the monument bearing the Ten Commandments installed by Chief Justice Roy Moore in the state Supreme Court building languished out of view, banished by a federal judge who found their placement obscene. … Why, someone might be offended.

“As Britney strutted her stuff in ever more revealing outfits, viewers of the ABC-televised NFL event might have thought they had tuned in to the rituals of a pagan culture. It had all the trimmings: an altar lit by fireworks, a prancing ‘goddess,’ temple attendants feigning sexual passion, and a screaming crowd. …

“One American nation is exemplified by Britney Spears writhing in front of the Capitol. The other belongs to Justice Roy Moore and people like him praying in Alabama to restore self-government under God. Football is honored in both Americas, but beyond that, there’s a whole lot of disagreement on where this country should go.

“At some point, America is going to have to make up its mind.”

Robert Knight, writing on “A Tale of Two Nations,” Monday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

No boundaries

“I find it remarkable that individuals no longer set boundaries in public for themselves. Everything in their life is public, open, on display, and flaunted for others to see and hear. People, quite often, have no moral base from which they act. They no longer value personal matters as being private. They are no longer humiliated by their debauchery and shameful moments. …

“TV is full of nauseous reality shows, wherein transitory actors put their personal moments into the public eye, as if all they are made of is owed no protection of privacy. …

“We are seeing a turn toward a decadent, exhibitionist society wherein individuals purport to clamor for privacy from the regulatory wolves, yet they put their shameful persons on open display shelves, in their worst moments, and then relish others’ attentions upon that.”

Karen DeCoster, writing on “America: Voyeurism and Exhibitionism?” Saturday at www.lewrockwell.com

Heroes of rage

“It’s arguably unfair to link the late Charles Bronson — a star of iconic stature, but an actor of limited range — to Clint Eastwood, a performer and filmmaker of much greater talent. But they’ve been bound since the beginning of their careers. …

“As Paul Kersey and Harry Callahan, the vigilante hero of ‘Death Wish’ and the rogue cop of ‘Dirty Harry,’ Bronson and Eastwood channeled the rage of right-wing populists, drew yet more rage from liberal critics, and were affiliated forevermore in the pop-culture pantheon. …

“In ‘Death Wish,’ Kersey loses his family in a terrible crime, then starts killing criminals as an anonymous avenger known only as The Vigilante. The film is an effective thriller, as even its opponents frequently admit, but its politics made it a lightning rod. … Roger Ebert called it ‘quasi-fascist,’ which is entirely inaccurate: A fascist movie about crime would demand a powerful police force, while this one regards the government as practically useless … [a] bureaucracy that couldn’t control crime if it tried.”

Jesse Walker, writing on “Death Kitsch,” Monday in Reason Online at www.reason.com

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