- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Age of Eastwood

“Clint Eastwood has apparently reached a point in his career where he can do no wrong. He directed ‘Mystic River,’ a creaky and pretentious murder story, and Dostoevsky was asked to move over and make room for it. Now Eastwood produces, directs, and stars in ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ a boxing film that is wildly hailed though it fairly fills the theater with the odor of the mothballs in which the script has been stored. …

“Whatever [Eastwood’s] talents may be, he has through the years added a person to the screen world; sage, slim, laconic, reliable. If we can watch this picture at all, it is because this universally admired person is in it.”

Stanley Kaufman, writing on “Flying and Fighting,” in the Jan. 17 issue of the New Republic

Pentagon PC

“The Army has … defied logic in retaining co-ed basic training, acknowledged in 2002 to be ‘not efficient’ in transforming civilians into disciplined soldiers. Revised ‘warrior training’ programs sound impressive, but gender-normed standards emasculate the concept by assuring ‘success’ for average female trainees. Soldiers know that there is no gender-norming on the battlefield.

“The nation is proud of our women in uniform, but that is no excuse for forcing unprepared female soldiers, many of whom are mothers, to face the physical demands of violent close combat. …

“Predictable problems include far higher rates of medical leave and evacuations, primarily due to pregnancy, which Army officials refuse to reveal or discuss. Making the mix even more volatile will be sexual attractions, personal misconduct, and accusations of same.

“Forget feminist legends about Amazon warriors and push-button wars. The modern land-combat soldier carries weapons and high-tech equipment weighing 50 to 100 pounds, with body armor alone weighing 25 pounds. …

“Politically correct group-thinkers and Clinton-promoted generals in the Pentagon apparently have forgotten certain realities affirmed by overwhelming evidence: In direct ground combat, women do not have an ‘equal opportunity’ to survive, or to help fellow soldiers survive. No one’s injured son should have to die on the streets of a future Fallujah because the only soldier near enough to carry him to safety was a five-foot-two, 110-pound woman.”

Elaine Donnelly, writing on “The Army’s Gender War,” Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

The strumpet’s fate

“To descend into tedium is the destiny of most femmes fatales. … What happened to Helen of Troy? Merely the usual disaster of age. In the 1860s a hideous and ragged hag, scrabbling around the Acropolis, was pointed out to an English traveller: ‘Behold — Byron’s Maid of Athens.’ Do such ladies, once notorious for their beauty, prefer to live on into a decrepit seniority, as walking object-lessons in the transience of worldly delights, to the release of an early death…

“Nothing in history is more irrecoverable than a witty man’s conversation or a woman’s sex appeal. … Some strumpets appeal to our sympathies; others repel them. Who has not a soft spot for Perdita Robinson, so well-preserved in the portraiture of the Romantic age, who ended as a tragic, impoverished cripple? Or Nelson’s Lady Hamilton, once so slender and seductive in her poses … but later in life a grotesque mass of flesh, and poor too?”

Paul Johnson, writing on “The decline and fall of the femme fatale,” in the Jan. 8 issue of the British magazine Spectator

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