- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Unglamorous death

“As his execution date approached, clemency for [Stanley ‘Tookie’] Williams became a liberal cause celebre for some Hollywood stars and Democratic politicians. California Assemblyman Mark Leno … praised Williams for his ‘redemptive efforts to steer kids away from violence.’

“In that effort, Williams’ failure hit close to home. In 1994 his son, Tookie Jr., was convicted of murder. Meanwhile, between the Crips’ 1979 inaugural year and 2003, more than 9,700 gang-related homicides occurred in Los Angeles County alone, according to California justice department records. Hundreds were drive-by shootings, a murder technique introduced and perfected by the Crips.

“In the end, Williams escaped the kind of bloody street death glamorized by his legacy gang. Instead, he died before 39 jailhouse witnesses, strapped to a gurney with a needle in his arm.”

— Lynn Vincent, writing on “Tookie’s Victims,” in the Dec. 24 issue of World

N.Y. cowboys

“I went to the Loews multiplex at Broadway and West 68th Street on the Friday evening that ‘Brokeback Mountain’ premiered in New York. It was mobbed. … I returned early Saturday afternoon for a matinee. Every show until [9 p.m.] was sold out. I bought tickets for Sunday right then.

“Good thing too. The theater was completely packed when I got there. …

“Reviewing for the New York Times, Stephen Holden calls ‘Brokeback’ an ‘epic western.’ This sent me to Dictionary.com. Epic: ‘a literary or dramatic composition … celebrating heroic feats,’ like ‘Beowulf.’ ‘Brokeback’ is moving, even to cultural skeptics. … But heroic? To devotees of the Times Arts section, yes. [The bisexual protagonists] are the heroes. The bigoted society that keeps them apart is the monster. Surviving is the heroic feat. …

“Cultural liberals, starring in their own vision of history, play out their edifying drama as long as they can. If cultural liberalism is to work on an emotional level, the struggle — for civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, the environment, gay rights, or all of the above in a righteous amalgamation — must go on. If that means pretending that nothing changes and success perpetually remains a tiny dot on the horizon, so be it.”

— Louis Wittig, writing on “Gay Cowboys on West 68th Street,” Dec. 21 in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Emasculation

“[T]he publicly financed educational system is at least 20 percent better at producing successful female students than male, yet hardly anyone sees this as remarkable gender discrimination. …

“There is scant acknowledgment that we face a generation of young men increasingly failing in a school system seemingly calibrated to female rhythms.

“A consequence is that male income falls and female income rises. Nothing wrong with that, except that men inexorably withdraw from domestic life: they become outlaws rather than in-laws.

“Legions of women despair of finding a mate compatible in function and vibrancy. So they go it alone: A third of babies are born to unmarried women, perhaps making a sage choice given the feckless, demoralized chaps from whom they must choose. We lead the world in fatherless families — 40 percent of children fall asleep without a resident father regularly within reach. …

“What is going on in this country?”

— Lionel Tiger, writing on “You’ve Got Male,” Dec. 18 in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

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