- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Hollywood holiday

“Traditionally, works of art about Christmas emphasized the spirit of charity and love. The Ur-text, of course, is Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol,’ in which the miserly businessman Scrooge comes to an awareness of other people’s pain through the revelation of his own. All the Christmas protagonists follow the same trajectory from selfish self-enclosure to sympathy for others. …

“To get an idea of just how far the Christmas literary or filmic offering has come, go rent the movie, ‘Reckless.’ Starring Mia Farrow and Mary Louise-Parker. … [T]he film followed Farrow’s character as she flees on Christmas Eve from an assassin hired by her husband to kill her, through an increasingly bizarre American landscape, filled with menace and violence and populated exclusively by people in idiosyncratic relationships with other people.

“The upshot is — can you guess? — that behind the idealized sentiments of an American Christmas lies the ugly reality of American life. … [It’s] the kind of by-now stock reaction that the cynical, exploitative, hyper-commercialized American Christmas has wrought upon itself. Most of all, though, it represents the meltdown of stable perspective that plagues any work of art taking up the theme of Christmas.”

Lee Siegel, writing on “Tisn’t the Season,” Monday in the New Republic Online at www.tnr.com

Ideological errors

“The ideology that informs the thinking of present-day ‘civil rights’ agitation is cluttered with misconceptions. …

“For a quarter century, in fact, college-educated black couples have earned slightly more on average than college-educated white couples, yet ‘civil rights’ leaders prefer to obscure the real situation by looking at the two races in the aggregate. Only that way can they claim that ‘racism’ is the explanation for white-black income differences.

“Then there are behavioral differences that have an economic impact. For example, fully half of Mexican-American women marry in their teens, while only 10 percent of Japanese-American women marry that young. This cultural factor alone would account for considerable differences in incomes between the two groups, since a young married woman will tend to have less mobility and fewer educational opportunities than a young single woman.”

Thomas E. Woods Jr., writing on “Discrimination Myths that Everyone Believes,” Monday at www.lewrockwell.com

Hollywood secrets

“The man at the Christmas tree tent in Malibu kept winking at me and nodding when no one else was looking. … Finally, he motioned to me to come over to his table. He cupped his hand over his mouth and took my hand. ‘We won,’ he said. ‘We won.’

“I knew exactly what he meant. ‘You can talk about it,’ I said. ‘This is America.’

“‘Yes, but it’s also Malibu and I don’t want people yelling at me.’ …

“This is the way it is here. … We are the GOP in Hollywood, and on the West Side of L.A. The culture here is so dominantly left-wing, PC, vegan, hate-America that many of us feel we have to behave as if we were underground. …

“But it’s changing.

“At an intersection on Sunset Strip, in West Hollywood, a young man in a truck, wearing two earrings and closely cropped hair, gave me the V for victory sign as I walked by him. ‘We’re here,’ he said. ‘You can’t tell, but we’re here. Keep up the talk for Bush.’”

Ben Stein, writing on “We Shall Overcome,” Monday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

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