- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Not in the mood

“Christina [Aguilera] vamps like a burlesque stripper. Britney [Spears has] gone from schoolgirl to [promiscuous]. Pink is punk.

“Many of music’s reigning divas are partying like it’s 1999, even though the world has become a darker, more uncertain and more anxious place since September 11, 2001.

“With the economy in a funk and record sales down for three years running, even established artists are sexing it up — no doubt encouraged by edgy industry executives.

“The problem is, the public just doesn’t seem to be in the mood for it, and the recent mediocre album sales by Spears, Pink and similar artists may reflect a classic case of mismarketing. …

“Indeed, female artists who are succeeding on the radio and on the charts have tapped into the nation’s post-September 11 soul-searching. …

“Avril Lavigne and Norah Jones … are writing music that’s about being in touch with your own values.”

Keith Girard and Liz Skinner, writing on “Sexual Overload,” last Saturday in Billboard

Existential choice

“If a woman chooses to have a baby, that is right ‘for her.’ If she chooses to have an abortion, that is right for her. What makes something morally right is the act of choosing. Behind this postmodern approach to ethics is a whole metaphysical system known as existentialism.

“[P]hilosophers such as Jean Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger concluded that, since there is no God, there is no meaning in life. Human beings, though, can create their own meaning by their decisions, by acts of the will. With no objective meaning, it does not matter what a person chooses. Some may choose Christianity. Sartre chose Communism. Heidegger chose Nazism. As long as the beliefs are freely chosen, they are valid for that person.

“The same goes for morality. In his book ‘Saint Genet,’ Sartre celebrated the life of a well-known criminal — a thief, liar, and sexual deviant — who, however, chose his moral code, living by his own rules in a way that, in Sartre’s view, made him a saint.”

Gene Edward Veith, writing on “Will power,” in Saturday’s issue of World


“We have fallen into a trap. The suicide bombers’ motivation seemed incomprehensible at the time of the [September 11 terrorist] attack; now a light begins to dawn: They wanted us to react the way we did. Perhaps they understood us better than we understand ourselves.

“And we have been deceived. … I contend that the Bush administration has deliberately exploited September 11 to pursue policies that the American public would not have otherwise tolerated. The U.S. can lose its dominance only as a result of its own mistakes. At present the country is in the process of committing such mistakes because it is in the hands of a group of extremists whose strong sense of mission is matched only by their false sense of certitude.

“This distorted view postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better, and we must have right on our side. That is where religious fundamentalism comes together with market fundamentalism to form the ideology of American supremacy.”

Financier George Soros, in an excerpt from his new book, “The Bubble of American Supremacy,” reprinted Monday in the British newspaper the Guardian

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