Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Job security

“The Jimmy Fallon we know — the ‘Saturday Night Live’ alum who can’t keep a straight face during a sketch — seduces young female viewers because of his boyish ineptitude. The 30-year-old has made a career of channeling a 12-year-old who watches too much Pee Wee Herman. He has embraced the look of immature indie rockers with bed-head hair and has hence become the prankster man-child who poses no threat, the guitar-strumming class-clown boyfriend who just wants to make you giggle and will never take advantage of you because, well, how could he?

“More ridiculous, Fallon will likely retain his high level of popularity as long as he continues to work. Most ‘Saturday Night Live’ alums leave the nest and hedge a bet on whether or not they can act; they face complete failure if they can’t deliver the goods. Jimmy Fallon’s schtick is about never being able to deliver. And therein lies the ultimate in Hollywood job security. Just keep doing what you do — almost being funny — and you can keep your ($150 retro T-)shirt.”

Adam Baer, writing on “Jimmy One-Note,” Monday in the New Republic Online at

Running the world

“At the tail end of [the new book] ‘All the Pope’s Men,’ author John Allen offers this arresting paragraph: ‘Though no pope and no Vatican diplomat will ever come out and say so, the bottom line is that, despite great respect for the American people and their democratic traditions, the Holy See simply does not think the United States is fit to run the world.

“‘As a country, it is too rich, too narcissistic, too shortsighted and voluble, too young to be entrusted with the quasi-unfettered power that 20th-century history entrusted to it. To be sure, there aren’t many countries around that the Holy See would approve for such a role … [and] if the Vatican had to choose between a world run from Washington, D.C., and one run from Islamabad or Beijing, there’s little doubt they would opt for Washington.’…

“What most Vatican diplomats and thinkers might not realize, though, is that … most Americans aren’t terribly interested in running the world. But Americans have come to understand, however reluctantly, that power, like nature, abhors a vacuum. … Absent American leadership, the world will not be calm and orderly; the world will be chaotic; lethally chaotic.”

George Weigel in “The Vatican and the United States” in the Sept. 30 Arlington Catholic Herald

Left-wing Nobel

“The last American to receive the [Nobel prize for literature], Toni Morrison, was a surprise to nearly every pundit, many of whom could easily think of two or three dozen American writers more deserving. But the fact that Ms. Morrison was female and a member of a victimized minority gave her an easy advantage.

“It is less surprising then that this year’s literary prize went to Elfriede Jelinek, an Austrian paleo-feminist whose latest play ‘Bambiland,’ is a heavy-handed attack on the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Ms. Jelinek, a former Communist Party comrade, remains the sweetheart of the Austrian Left. …

“In its announcement of the award, the Academy praised Jelinek’s depiction of ‘the cold-blooded practice of male power,’ which makes a ‘fundamental criticism of civilization by describing sexual violence against women as the actual template for our culture.’”

Christopher Orlet, writing on “The Nobel for Neolithic Politics,” Monday in the American Spectator online at

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