- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 16, 2004

Turning right

“[I]t’s remarkable how surprising [comedian Dennis] Miller’s turn to the right is in some quarters, even though he’s been calling himself a conservative libertarian since the mid-‘90s. … September 11, though, was a major turning point for Miller, as it was of course for many other people.

“‘I’m shocked it didn’t change everybody as much as it changed me,’ Miller said at a CNBC news conference about his new show. …

“He had a pre-emptive crack ready for those who complain that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the hunt for Osama bin Laden. ‘I wish there was a country called al Qaeda and we could have started the war there,’ Miller said, ‘but there wasn’t. …’

“One woman TV critic … couldn’t get over her shock that Miller had already made up his mind to vote for Bush.”

Catherine Seipp, writing on “Dennis Miller drives the Left nuts,” Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com-RomanCondensed”

Brown’s legacy

“I’d like to say that after the unanimous [1954] Supreme Court decision in Brown [v. Board of Education], white Topekans realized the error of their ways. … What happened instead is what happened across the Midwest: No longer allowed to segregate their schools, white Topekans quietly segregated their neighborhoods. …

“The irony is that since the courts were no longer carefully monitoring the separate-but-equal standard, the majority-minority schools were arguably worse in 1974 than the all-black schools of 1954. … To try to remedy this, three African-American attorneys in Topeka reopened the original Brown case. —

“Oliver Brown had objected to his daughter being bused across town to an all-black school instead of being allowed to attend her neighborhood school. Twenty-five years later, black parents, objecting to the inferiority of their neighborhood schools, wanted their kids bused across town to the almost all-white institutions.

“The sad but predictable result of busing was more white flight. … This year, for the first time, Topeka schools have a majority of minority students, despite the fact that Topeka is still a majority-white city.”

Matthew Polly, writing on “Brown Revisited,” Friday in Slate at www.slate.com

‘The beau ideal’

“Handsome is as handsome does, but handsome often doesn’t do much. The history of Hollywood is pillared with handsome leading men striking statuesque poses, wary of making any sudden moves for fear of cracking. … Of all the handsome Hollywood exhibits, none was glossier than Cary Grant. …

“Cinema’s first boy toy, Grant was the recipient of Mae West’s famous invitation … ‘Why don’t ya come up sometime and see me?’ … Grant quickly shed the slightly louch gaucheness of a male ingenue to become the beau ideal of an English gentleman, but not a drawing-room fop. … His background buttressed him. Cary Grant had a Cockney accent and a coiled-spring athleticism that knocked the silk cover off any suspicion of poshness. …

“Contemporary stars — men in general — no longer desire to emulate Grant’s brand of Continental, cuff-linked sophistication. … We now slur and slouch our way to sophistication.”

James Wolcott, writing on “To Catch a Legend,” in the June issue of Vanity Fair

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