- The Washington Times - Monday, February 16, 2004

Shocked, shocked

“But if you believe that [Janet] Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction will, as FCC Commissioner Michael Copps asserted, have a ‘galvanizing effect’ on efforts to halt TV’s long slide into the gutter, then give me a call because I have some sweet beachfront property in Kabul I’d like to sell you. …

“If the proposals emanating from [last] week’s congressional hearings are any indication, lawmakers and regulators are just as overwhelmed, desperate, and clueless about how to tackle this problem as your average soccer mom. …

“Will the FCC now start cracking down on the scores of mainstream shows … where the problem isn’t a clearly defined moment of indecency so much as a slow, deepening embrace of sex and violence? Hint: The answer is no. Why? Because, lawmakers’ sprawling raft of dream correctives aside, wading into this territory is always very complicated and very controversial — especially for a bunch of guys who have to worry about getting re-elected every couple of years.”

Michelle Cottle, writing on “That’s Life,” last Friday in the New Republic Online at www.tnr.com

Lost tradition

“When tradition faces off against the almighty buck, smart gamblers put their money on the money. Consider one of the overlooked revolutions of the ‘60s: the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968. … The act provided that beginning in 1971, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day and Washington’s Birthday (later demoted to the beloved ‘Presidents’ Day’) were to fall only on Mondays. …

“The Uniform Holiday Act of 1968 passed the House, 212-83, and the Senate by voice vote, without debate. ‘This is the greatest thing that has happened to the travel industry since the invention of the automobile,’ rejoiced the president of the National Association of Travel Organizations.’

“Rep. Dan Kuykendall [Tennessee Republican] saw it differently: ‘If we do this, 10 years from now, our schoolchildren will not know what February 22 means. They will not know or care when George Washington was born. They will know that in the middle of February, they will have a 3-day weekend for some reason. This will come.’

“This has come.”

Bill Kauffman, writing on “Happy Three-Day Weekend!” Saturday at www.lewrockwell.com

Oh no, Bono

“Though their lyrics could be tough and rebellious, U2 also sang about faith. Whereas other singers seemed to claim that life has no meaning, Bono sang about a transcendent purpose, even if he hadn’t found it yet. I admired how different, how authentic he seemed in comparison to the rest of the MTV crowd. …

“Perhaps that’s why, as a Christian in my 20s, I’ve felt betrayed by Bono’s seeming desire to distance himself from the faith he helped plant in me. …

“Just before U2 launched the ‘Zoo TV’ tour, Rolling Stone ran a profanity-laden interview with the rock star in which he spoke of drinking and partying. He went on to talk about U2’s music and his spirituality in a way that let churchgoing Christians know that, publicly anyway, he wanted little to do with them.

“To Bono, established churches didn’t uphold biblical mandates well enough for him to be associated with them. They didn’t do enough international work, and they didn’t demonstrate real brotherly love … . From that time on, U2’s acknowledgement of their original Christian fan base was nearly nonexistent.”

Megan Basham, writing on “Et Tu, Bono?” Thursday in Boundless at www.boundless.org

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