- The Washington Times - Monday, May 10, 2004

The original epic

“Homer’s ‘Iliad,’ about the Trojan War of 13th century B.C., has been boiled down from an epic 15,693-line poem to a 157-page script for ‘Troy,’ the $200 million blockbuster starring Brad Pitt as Achilles. …

“If ‘Troy’ turns people on to the glories of Homer, it will have served its purpose. It has already persuaded at least one person to take up the book: Brad Pitt.

“Pitt confessed he hadn’t read the ‘Iliad’ before doing this movie. But face it, when you are Brad Pitt, you don’t have to read the ‘Iliad.’ You have other strengths.

“No other poem from classical antiquity has so stirred the mind as the ‘Iliad.’ It is a terrifying, brilliant thing, a verbal lightning bolt so strikingly beautiful that we are compelled to admit, with envy and amazement, that this, the first large, complete work of art in Western literature, is probably also the best.

“No film can ever be as good as this epic poem, with its immortal, beautiful tag lines: its rosy-fingered dawns, its strong … Achaeans, its heroic epithets for the earthly and the heavenly.”

Michael Browning, writing on “The face that launched a thousand ships,” Sunday in the Palm Beach Post

DUI diversity

“America’s highways are becoming far more dangerous because of cultural differences — unassimilated foreigners who believe that knocking down 10 beers before hitting the road is no problema. And drunk driving is an accepted behavior among Mexicans in particular.

“Americans have changed their outlook regarding this irresponsible activity over the past few decades partly because of the commendable consciousness-raising efforts of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). But there has been no such cultural shift among Mexicans or in Mexico. …

“Traditionally, drinking to excess is valued in Mexican and Latin culture, where it is seen an expression of machismo. …

“In 2001, according to MADD, 44.1 percent of California’s drunk driving arrests in 2001 were of Hispanics, although Hispanics made up only 31.3 percent of the state’s population. …

“Accidents involving drunk drivers increased overall nearly 5 percent in the state in 2000, with an uptick in Los Angeles County of 7.6 percent in that year.”

Brenda Walker, writing on “Diversity Is Strength! It’s Also Drunk Driving,” May 4 at www.vdare.com

Good clean fun

“When you are the mother of three young children, you have plenty to worry about. All mothers have their internal list of risks and bad influences for their children to avoid. Mine is about 9 million items long. Here’s two names that do not appear, though: Mary Kate and Ashley. …

“God bless the Olsen twins. As my daughter nears her 10th birthday, we spend more and more time navigating the stormy waters of mass media and pop culture. …

“The pint-sized moguls have a new movie. … I have no idea what it’s about, but it’s nice to be able to say, ‘Sure, you can see that movie. It looks fine.’ …

“(Note to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Paris Hilton: Mary Kate and Ashley, those poster girls of good, clean fun, are billionaires.)”

Susan Konig, writing on “My Favorite Twins,” Friday 5/9 in National Review Online at [email protected]

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