- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 20, 2005

‘An amazing gift’

“I do feel that people who say men and women are exactly equal in every way are silly. … [M]y girlfriends, already at 23, are thinking, ‘What career can I choose that will also suit having children?’ And it is limiting. Whereas my male friends aren’t thinking that way. … Mostly I think guys think about a job that will support their family, which pushes them away from family contact, while family pushes women away from careers. …

“People are such amazing creatures, and to be able to make one — I mean, I can’t make anything. I can’t make a paper airplane, but I can make a person. That’s an amazing gift. If I’m able to, I would love to. … Whenever a guy says, ‘Thank God I don’t have to give birth,’ I’m like, ‘Are you crazy? That’s the luckiest thing about being a girl.’ ”

Natalie Portman, interviewed in next month’s issue of Premiere

Soap opera satire

“The success of ‘Desperate Housewives’ exposes the fault line in television’s cultural schizophrenia about women. Ever since the ‘70s, the feminist critique of marriage has gotten a workout in TV movies from ‘The Women’s Room’ to ‘The Burning Bed,’ and the Lifetime channel wouldn’t and couldn’t exist without it. But on broadcast sitcoms and dramas, wives and homemakers went right on being eerily contented — a classic proof of Jean-Luc Godard’s observation that while one-shot TV events are allowed to push radical views, presenting the identical ideas in a series format would have the taboo effect of normalizing them. …

“Even as ‘Desperate Housewives’ parodies soap operas, it provokes one effect of the real thing: passionate identification, which the tone of larky irresponsibility just intensifies. The show’s real double whammy is that it has taken flagrant absurdism to make us see these cartoon ditzes and obsessives as vivid human beings. … They stay humanized even when the costume department is ransacking the Victoria’s Secret catalog, which feminists might call bad faith but I call the genius of television.”

Tom Carson, writing on “Desperate Television,” in this month’s issue of GQ

A sense of character

“Many elites believe their thought processes make them superior to others. Like many regular Americans, I value character traits and believe that courage and honor make a person superior. … Far too frequently, when people live in big cities, they lose the sense of how important character is.

“Hollywood misses its audience by failing to appreciate that those traditional values and desires are shared by most of the people in this country. Whenever there’s a movie that a family can go watch together, and it’s a great story, those movies do tremendously well. They’re vast profit centers. Yet they are seldom made. Again, ‘Braveheart’ is an example. …

“But here’s the problem. If you go to a Hollywood studio and pitch them a television show, as I have, even if they loved ‘Braveheart,’ ‘We Were Soldiers,’ and the other films, they’re thinking, ‘Our biggest show last week was Paris Hilton. Is the guy who brought us “Braveheart” going to bring us Paris Hilton?’ ”

Randall Wallace, screenwriter of “Braveheart” and director of “We Were Soldiers,” interviewed in next month’s issue of the American Enterprise

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