- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Culture war again

“Experts are uncertain as to what might have prompted [the culture war’s] reemergence, though most analysts point either to the alarming decay of our once healthy culture or to the repressive urges of puritanical troglodytes.

“But I blame 9/11. … [T]he attacks forced Americans to conceive of the United States as a nation again, and thus, to fight for alternate visions of what that nation should be. The battleground for the fight would be all those unvanquished trivialities: the latest Super Bowl halftime show, the latest Mel Gibson movie, the latest empty political gesture by the government of San Francisco. September 11 didn’t eliminate our appetite for fluff — it just made us magnify the fluff’s social significance.

“The correlation between culture wars and real wars isn’t an exact one, but there is, I think, a real link. … No discussion of ‘The Passion [of the Christ]’ was complete until someone had brought up the anti-Semitic atmosphere of the Middle East; no discussion of gay lib could conclude before someone compared the religious right to the Taliban. …

“Today, the once-facile talk of ‘two Americas’ … sounds much more plausible.”

Jesse Walker, writing on “Return of the Yeti,” Tuesday in Reason Online at www.reason.com

Art and all that’

“Banning and eliminating comes naturally to these liberal spiritual brothers of Osama bin Laden. Our mullahs have described a fatwa on Mel Gibson’s film [‘The Passion of the Christ’]. Abe Foxman [of the Anti-Defamation League] is leading a jihad against the cross, just as liberal Catholic scholars are assisting in slandering the great Pope Pius XII. …

“The New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier refers to the Gospels as ‘way beyond the pale of decency.’ I find Wieseltier beyond the pale. When our Lord Jesus was depicted as having sexual thoughts while dying on the cross in ‘The Last Temptation of Christ,’ few voices were raised in protest. When some untalented pig photographed a crucifix in a jar of urine, even fewer voices were raised. Art and all that. …

“Now people like Foxman want to ban a Christian film made by a devout Catholic like Gibson. What I’d like to know is how that could happen in a Christian country.”

Taki Theodoracopulos, writing on “A Nation of Victims,” in the March 29 issue of the American Conservative

Perfect defendant

“To judge from commentary during and after the trial, [Martha] Stewart seems to have been universally known and almost universally disliked. She was regarded as cold, aloof, arrogant, snobbish, cruel and patronizing — and she made matters worse by cooking, flower-arranging, table-setting and generally domesticating to an irritating degree of perfection. …

“Since well before the verdict, newspapers and television news programs have been slavering at the prospect of the ‘domestic diva’ behind bars. To judge from the level of hostility to Stewart’s personality, it must have been almost impossible to find a jury not prejudiced against her. …

“Martha … fit to perfection, the part of the Great White Defendant, who, as Tom Wolfe observed in ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities,’ is the legal prey all ambitious headline-hungry prosecutors dream about. …

“Stewart may be the first criminal to be sent to prison for the terrible offense of being Too Too Perfect.”

John O’Sullivan, writing on “A slip of the lip, and Stewart takes the fall,” Tuesday in the Chicago Sun-Times

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