- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2004

Hearing the voice

“Joan of Arc was a late-medieval teenager to whom God supposedly spoke, directing her into the conflict between England and France. ‘Joan of Arcadia’ is a 21st-century TV teenager to whom God talks, directing her into the conflicts of everyday life.

“‘Joan of Arcadia’ on CBS has been one of the few new shows to become a hit, scoring big both with teenagers and critics. …

“The God who talks to Joan is shown with respect. He is omniscient and omnipotent, benevolent — though He sometimes takes Joan to task — and mysterious. His ways are not Joan’s ways, and when He deigns to give her a glimpse of the ‘big picture,’ Joan gets overloaded and faints dead away.

“The show’s worldview is theistic, which is wonderfully refreshing, and it may well help secularist viewers get their imaginations around the concept of God. …

“Those who like the thought of God speaking to them need to learn that they too can hear God’s voice, anytime they want. It’s called reading the Bible.

Gene Edward Veith, writing on “Joan’s God shows up in prime time,” in the Saturday issue of World

Cultural makeover

“For the last six months, millions of Americans have tuned in every week to watch the exploits of an unlikely band of superheroes: Jai Rodriguez, Kyan Douglas, Ted Allen, Thom Filica and Carson Kressley a.k.a, ‘the Fab Five.’ They’re the stars of the breakout hit ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.’ …

“While it’s hardly the only makeover show on cable television, … it’s easily the most popular. …

“Not surprisingly, the show has set teeth on edge on both sides of the culture war divide. Cultural conservatives rightly see ‘Queer Eye’ as yet another attempt to situate homosexuality and the accompanying lifestyle within the American mainstream. On the other hand, some gay activists, Andrew Sullivan among them, view ‘Queer Eye’ as a kind of gay minstrelsy. In this line of thinking, Americans have embraced the Fab Five because they confirm the worst stereotypes of gay men and, as such, do not pose a threat to the cultural status quo.”

Roberto Rivera y Carlo, writing on “Depeche Mode,” Thursday in Boundless at www.boundless.org

Radio rage

“Rush wasn’t built in a day. That’s Michael Harrison’s take on [last] week’s announcement by Progress Radio that it had signed comedian/author Al Franken for a daily show intended to provide a liberal challenge to the medium’s 600-station gorilla, Rush Limbaugh. The founder and editor of Talkers magazine, the industry’s lead trade journal, says that if Progress Radio fails, it will be because of the impossibly high expectations it has set for itself.

“‘The physics of the market tells us it takes years to build up radio programs, much less a network,’ says Mr. Harrison. And it’s not an accident that America’s two top talk-show hosts — Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity — are longtime radio guys. ‘It’s a maddening process if you don’t have that in your blood.’

“According to Mr. Harrison, politics is a bad prism for measuring the prospects of radio success. Many of those who listen to radio conservatives, he says, listen because they hate the host. He notes that while Michael Savage would never be elected mayor of San Francisco, not least because of his views on homosexuality, it didn’t stop him from getting the top rating there.”

From “Radio Daze,” an editorial in Friday’s Wall Street Journal

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