- The Washington Times - Monday, August 22, 2005

NYC hate

“New Yorkers hate Southerners and Southern culture. A Southern accent draws scorn from everybody, which is why I find the idea of Fred Thompson as Manhattan DA on ‘Law and Order’ as likely as Pvt. Jenna Bush. The minute he opened his mouth, most New Yorkers would stop listening. …

Bill Clinton is accepted because white Southerners hate him.

“New York doesn’t even have a country music station. They tried and no one listened. Yes, Garth Brooks played in Central Park, but even the cops laughed at the idea of New Yorkers actually going to such a thing. Sure, they wanted to build a NASCAR track in Staten Island, but that’s Staten Island, our very own Cobb County, but with 10 times the racists. Most New Yorkers laugh at NASCAR as the sport of drunken idiots.”

Steve Gilliard, writing on “This ain’t Arkansas, baby,” Aug. 11 at stevegilliard.blogspot.com

Misinformation

“The Seattle & King County (Wash.) Public Health page called ‘HIV/AIDS Program: How effective are condoms?’ reports: ‘No method of contraception or disease prevention is effective when practiced incorrectly or inconsistently. A 1988 National Survey of Family Growth found abstinence to have a contraceptive failure rate of 26 percent when not practiced consistently. So, in abstinence, as in condom use, consistency is key.’

“Mighty odd-sounding. … Is it really abstinence when you aren’t consistently abstaining? Or is their claim that people who decide to be abstinent nonetheless in practice end up backsliding? …

“But here’s what’s really going on. … If you look at abstracts of the 1988 Survey, you find that 26 percent is the failure rate for ‘periodic abstinence,’ which means ‘rhythm and natural family planning.’

“That’s right: 26 percent is the failure rate for the rhythm method, not for deliberate decisions to abstain. …

“Don’t believe everything you read.”

Eugene Volokh, writing on “The Contraceptive Failure Rate of Abstinence?” Aug. 17 at www.volokh.com

Gothic classic

“If the Mona Lisa is the world’s most instantly recognizable piece of art, then what’s the best-known piece of art to come from America?

“That’s easy: It’s the painting that won third place in the Art Institute of Chicago’s 43rd annual exhibition on American paintings and sculpture, in 1930.

“You know the one. You’ve seen it hundreds of times before: ‘American Gothic,’ by Grant Wood.

“This fall marks the 75th anniversary of the painting’s bronze-medal performance. …

“The stern-faced man and woman in the foreground were modeled after real people. The man was a dentist and the woman was Wood’s sister. … Also, the white house in the background is based on a real house — stop by the next time you’re near the Iowa hamlet of Eldon. …

“‘American Gothic’ can mean just about anything to anybody. My favorite post-9/11 political cartoon is an arresting likeness of American Gothic: The couple in the picture are wearing ‘I [heart] NY’ T-shirts. It appeared in The New Yorker about a month after the destruction of the World Trade Center. The message was clear: United we stand.

“Yet there was a time when American Gothic was not seen as a celebration of patriotism or the heartland. In fact, when it first went on display, many people considered it a savage parody of farm-country yahoos.”

John J. Miller, writing on “Mona Lisa, U.S.A.,” Aug. 18 in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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