- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 8, 2005

Cash mystique

” ‘It’s all fleeting,’ [Johnny Cash] told MTV News. ‘As fame is fleeting, so are all the trappings of fame fleeting; the money, the clothes, the furniture.’ This could not be in more marked contrast to the culture of the popular music industry … a culture of superficiality, self-exaltation, and sexual libertinism.

“Perhaps this is the reason Cash remained — to the day of his death — a subject of almost morbid curiosity for a youth culture that knows nothing of ‘I Walk the Line.’ At the 2003 [MTV Music Video Awards] show, 22-year-old pop sensation Justin Timberlake, beating Cash for the video award, demanded a recount. Why would 20-something hedonists revere an old Baptist country singer from Arkansas?

“In one sense, the Cash mystique was nothing new. … Much of it had to do with the ‘man in black’ caricature he cultivated. … People really seemed to think that he had ‘shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.’ ”

— Russell D. Moore, writing on “Real Hard Cash,” in the December issue of Touchstone

Offensive defense

“The other night on TV, I watched a liberal talking head go ballistic in a discussion of the ‘War on Christmas.’ He ranted that there is no such war, and even if there were, it’s those on the right, like Fox News, who are fanning the flames. …

“What’s heated up the hostilities lately is the blurring of the clear language of the First Amendment by our judicial system. Courts have misconstrued the meaning of an ‘establishment of religion’ by the government, to mean nearly anything and everything; from mentioning the name of Jesus in a valedictory address, to a football team praying before a high school game.

“Given the multitude of different churches that make up this country, for the government to actually establish a national religion, it would not only be undesirable but next to impossible. The idea that some kind of Christian theocracy is in the making is laughable to anyone who has ever debated the articles of their faith with those of another. …

“The new twist on all of this is that Christians who are finally making a case for their formerly constitutional rights are now portrayed as being on the attack.’

— Lisa Fabrizio, writing on “Ghosts of Christmas Presence II,” Wednesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Postpartum fashion

“[F]or this viewer, currently 10 weeks away from delivering her first child, the perverse highlight of [‘The Victoria Secret Fashion Show’] was watching the supermodel Heidi Klum parade down the catwalk half-naked, showing off the body that, through some combination of starvation, genetic luck and Alberto-Gonzales-approved methods of torture, she hammered into runway-ready condition only eight weeks after giving birth to her son. … Klum took … postpartum fitness to new heights. …

“The obvious question, of course, is why? Klum is one working mother who can afford an extended maternity leave, and even if she wanted to host the event … she could have chosen not to strip down to her be-sequined skivvies. The only explanation I can imagine for the brutal speed of Klum’s slim-down is that she wanted to show the world she could do it. She wanted to raise the bar for expectant supermodels, snipping the umbilical cord with one hand while pumping her delts with the other.”

— Dana Stevens, writing on “After Birth,” Wednesday in Slate at www.slate.com

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