- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Summer trend

“[I]n the summer of 2000 … CBS rolled out a risky reality show that had adopted a European premise. That show was ‘Survivor.’ …

“With the subsequent reality-show explosion, all the networks began scheduling summer stunt programming. …

“[T]he … most buzzed-about show [of 2003] was an entirely summer phenomenon. Remember the heady months of ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ fever, when you couldn’t open a magazine or newspaper without one or more of the Fab Five winking back at you? …

“‘Queer Eye’ was ‘The Osbornes’ of 2003 — and may yet get just as tiresome, just as quickly. But suddenly summer, rather than being a dump-bin of re-runs, is now the season for daring hits with irresistible, high-concept premises.”

Adam Sternbergh, writing on “Suddenly, summer,” Dec. 30 in the National Post

The King returns

“Each episode of the ‘Lord of the Rings,’ as it came out year by year, resonated in an eerie way with current events. …

“A major theme of the trilogy … is the defense of Western civilization.

“One of the reasons the novels and movies have the impact they do is that ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is a compendium of Western culture. Its author, J.R.R. Tolkien, a professor of ancient literature, combined elements from the whole range of Western legends, epics, and heroic sagas old and new. …

“In ‘The Return of the King,’ the tide of a major battle turns when Aragorn persuades the ‘army of the dead’ — those who ‘have no beliefs’ — to join the fray. These were traitors who refused to fight in the previous war against the Shadow and so were cursed. Aragorn gave them the chance to regain their honor, and this time they came through.

“Perhaps those who refused to fight the Communists, the last threat to Western civilization, might be persuaded to abandon their current opposition to the war on terror. More importantly, perhaps the West will recover its nerve and its values. But this will require returning to the King.”

Gene Edward Veith, writing “The free folks vs. the Orcs,” in this Saturday’s issue of World

Presumed innocent?

“Kobe Bryant’s alleged sexual assault has generated the usual media circus that follows criminal charges against professional athletes, especially for sex crimes. But even with all its tawdry details, the case raises some serious issues about the way the justice system treats rape complainants and defendants.

“Bryant, the 25-year-old Los Angeles Lakers guard, is accused of assaulting an 18-year-old woman who was working as a concierge at a Colorado resort where he was staying in June 2003. …

“For some feminists, of course, there is only one side to this issue. After the 1997 trial of sportscaster Marv Albert, defending the judge’s decision to admit compromising information about Albert’s sexual past but not about his accuser’s, feminist attorney Gloria Allred decried ‘the notion that there’s some sort of moral equivalency between the defendant and the victim.’

“Yet as long as the defendant hasn’t been convicted, he and the alleged victim are indeed moral equals in the eyes of the law.”

Cathy Young, writing on “Kobe’s Rights,” in the January issue of Reason

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