- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 1, 2004

Apocalyptic words

“When Comedy Central’s ‘South Park’ used [an expletive] unbleeped in an episode … it did so 162 times, keeping tally in the corner of the screen. The episode finally concluded in the show’s hyperbolic style that the word is, in fact, a cursed utterance whose overuse portends an apocalypse.

“On ‘South Park’s‘ heels, a wave of basic cable shows is emerging to reinvigorate the medium. It’s no coincidence that writers and producers who have ignored rigid puritanical standards make up its vanguard. Curse words uttered by characters on television may not be more than cultural quibbling, but they do reflect TV finally adjusting to the sensibilities of the substantial portion of a population that (a) curses, and (b) doesn’t live in mortal fear.”

Matthew Grimm, writing on “Marketing and Culture,” in the December-January issue of American Demographics

No accident

“Consider the direct assault made by the advocates of diversity on what we might call the base of the Western tradition … the family. For included among those standards that the principle of diversity would delegitimize is the vast and nuanced complex of standards concerning sex, gender, and the family that has been crucial for the West.

“In the name of the ancient Western principles of freedom and equality — principles traceable in the deepest and most important respect to the teaching of Genesis that man is made ‘in the image and likeness of God’ — radical diversity denies the essential correlate to that teaching: ‘Male and female He created them.’ In the rejection of that teaching, gender is reduced to the rank of a cultural construct, and as with the other constructs of culture construed by radical diversity, such differences all become a matter of accident, preference, and indifference. …

“The difference between the sexes is no accident or matter of indifference. It is fundamental to the workings of human nature.”

Barry Bercier, writing on “Diverse Diversities,” in the January issue of First Things

History of hate

“[A]s the Industrial Revolution began to spread and bear its bittersweet fruits, the image of America as the vanguard of a new, mechanized human society — the polar opposite of a still-agricultural, ‘Arcadian’ France — combined ingrained Anglophobia and the Gallic disdain of American ‘uncouthness’ to create the durable stereotype of the Yankee: rich, powerful, vulgar and a menace to all the things in life the French hold dear.

“During the 20th century, French hostility to America became even more complicated. … As a colonial power, France viewed an ever-expanding United States as a direct threat to its own imperial ambitions. … The picture further darkened in the wake of World War I, when France, frustrated in its desires to have the United States forgive its war debt, began to see itself as yet another victim of Uncle Sam, now redubbed by some ‘Uncle Shylock.’ …

“And the U.S. liberation of France from Nazi occupation in World War II did little to simplify matters. The presence of U.S. troops on French soil sparked new resentment … while the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe stirred fears of a new occupation and rancor … with its contingent demands that Communists be excluded from office. Finally, with the 1960s came a renewed anti-Yankee, anti-imperialist vocabulary … and so on up to the new millennium.”

Stephen Sartarelli, writing on “Where Did Our Love Go?” in the Jan. 14 issue of the Nation

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