- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Paying their dues

“[L]ast month Tom Cruise celebrated his 42nd birthday. Tom Hanks blew out candles this summer as well — he turned 48. These days, pretty much all of Hollywood’s most famous heavyweights (Meg Ryan, 42; Mel Gibson, 48; Bruce Willis, 49; Denzel Washington, 49; John Travolta, 50; Harrison Ford, 62) are ambling around in their middle ages — or rapidly hurtling toward them (Julia Roberts is going on 37). …

“With two possible exceptions, Hollywood hasn’t made a major new discovery in a decade (those would be Russell Crowe, who turned 40 last April, and Will Smith, age 35). …

“The going theory is that young, up-and-coming actors can’t recognize quality material and don’t know how to pay their dues. … Julia Roberts made five films before the world fell in love with her in ‘Pretty Woman.’ Cruise made four movies before … ‘Risky Business’ turned him into a household name. …

“These days, though, actors need hardly make any movies at all — let alone popular ones — before Hollywood christens them embryonic cinema gods.”

Benjamin Svetkey and Allison Hope Weiner, writing on “Honey, Who Shrunk the Stars?” in this Friday’s issue of Entertainment Weekly

Same-sex future

“Remember those ‘cutest couple’ votes in high school? It was always some super-jock paired with the perennially perky cheerleader. Well, if same-sex marriage is legalized, the new winners will probably be two super-jocks, Josh and Matt, who’ve been going out since seventh grade.

“Dating will become a whole new game.

“Josh and Matt will probably garner the sympathy vote because they lost out at homecoming to ‘queen’ and ‘queen’ Megan and Katie, both bisexuals. It won’t bother these girls to parade arm in arm across the football field. …

“The law allowing same-sex marriage will prompt the school board — after consultation with the well-heeled American Civil Liberties Union — to open up all sports to both sexes in the name of gender non-discrimination. This year’s starting quarterback will be Heather, now 17 and 5-foot-10, having been raised by her two mommies who cheer proudly from the sidelines. Heather’s been taking hormone injections since she was 10 when her mothers, in consultation with medical experts, decided she was a guy born into a girl’s body.”

Linda Harvey, writing on “Josh is taking Matt to the prom,” Monday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

Naive illusions

“Peace (or at least the absence of war) between Israel and the Palestinians would be a blessing for those concerned. … However, the assumption that a solution of a local conflict … would have a dramatic effect in other parts of the world is unfounded. Osama bin Laden did not go to war because of Gaza and Nablus; he did not send his warriors to fight in Palestine. …

“Such a warning against illusions is called for because there is a great deal of wishful thinking and naivete in this respect — a belief in quick fixes and miracle solutions: If only there would be peace between Israelis and Palestinians, all the other conflicts would become manageable. But the problems are as much in Europe, Asia, and Africa as in the Middle East; there is a great deal of free-floating aggression which could (and probably would) easily turn in other directions once one conflict has been defused.”

Walter Laqueur, writing on “The Terrorism to Come,” in the August-September issue of Policy Review

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