- The Washington Times - Monday, July 5, 2004

Mean TV

“‘Only the bad survive,’ is the slogan for the WB network’s ‘Superstar USA,’ but these days it could just as easily serve as the mantra for the entire industry. Once the sole province of Jerry Springer and a few acolytes, mean-spirited programming has overrun the TV landscape, and every network is getting in on the fun. … ‘Superstar USA’ dupes awful singers into believing they’re about to be discovered as the next Mariah Carey, only to crown the worst performer at show’s end. Even NBC’s seemingly innocuous ‘The Apprentice’ derived its thrills from the exploits of a hectoring mogul who reduces his underlings to suits full of jelly. American TV has embraced its inner bully. …

“Things began to head in this direction when NBC’s ‘Fear Factor,’ an immediate success upon its debut in 2001, began to draw huge audiences with its weekly crucible of the gross and the demeaning.”

Kevin Canfield, writing on “The Idiots’ Box,” Thursday in the New Republic Online at www.tnr.com

Whose children?

“In the debate over gay marriage, strikingly little attention has been paid to the impact on children. …

“Almost no attention has been devoted to what may be the more serious political question of who will supply the children of gay ‘parents,’ since obviously they cannot produce children themselves. … The vast majority will come, because they already do come, from pre-existing heterosexual families. In Massachusetts, ‘Forty percent of the children adopted have gone to gay and lesbian families,’ according to Democratic state Sen. Therese Murphy. …

“With some 3 percent of the population, gay couples already seem to enjoy a marked advantage over straight ones in the allocation of supposedly superfluous children. …

“Ever since the federal government became involved in the child-abuse business some 30 years ago, governments nationwide have had the means and the incentive to seize children from their parents with no due process finding that the parents have actually abused their children. …

“Gay adoption is simply the logical culmination in the process of turning children into political instruments for government officials.”

Stephen Baskerville, writing on “Could your kids be given to ‘gay’ parents?” Thursday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

D.C. purgatory

“Only the patriotically deluded think Washington, D.C., is a great summer vacation spot. The weather is hot, muggy, and miserable. The streets are pot-holed, the sidewalks smell, and those giant 1950s-science-fiction-atomic-blast-transmogrified caterpillars you see are actually homeless people moving under layers of blankets.

“Unlike many jaded Washingtonians I am not indifferent to the plight of the homeless, and do give them change if they attack me. But I am indifferent to the alleged charms of Washington, D.C. You want D.C. — and the monuments, the Smithsonian, and the seat of the federal government — you can have it.

“Unfortunately, I have it every working day, though at night I escape across the Potomac to Virginia. My dislike of D.C. would be somewhat ameliorated if I could ride a horse into work — as a westerner, I still wear cowboy boots as a matter of course — but that, alas, is not on.

“What is on is the Metro, the Washington subway system. Riding it, for me, is a five-day-a-week penance, which I hope will reap me rewards in Heaven.”

H.W. Crocker III, writing on “Metroland,” Thursday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

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