- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 20, 2005

‘Girlish twittering’

“Add this to the failings of former New York Times editor Howell Raines: Maureen Dowd gave him the chance to drop her from the op-ed pages in 1996, six months after she started the job, and he didn’t take it. ‘As a woman,’ Dowd recounted in her [March 13] column, about the problems newspapers have attracting female pundits, ‘I told Howell, I wanted to be liked — not attacked. He said I could go back to the Metro section. …’

“But evidently Raines didn’t say this very forcefully, so here we are. A decade later, Dowd’s girlish twittering at the Times continues to sully the reputation of women opinion writers everywhere. The tacit and condescending message is: If the country’s paper of record expects no more from its lone female op-ed columnist than strained wordplay and suggestive visuals — Dowd began her latest column by imagining herself as Emma Peel in a black leather catsuit — then the bar for women on the op-ed pages at newspapers generally must be set awfully low.”

Catherine Seipp, writing on “The Way of the Woman,” March 17 in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Fashion pirates

“High-end designers from Louis Vuitton to Lanvin descended on the Paris fashion shows this month. They were joined, as they are every year, by those looking to steal their work. Design piracy, in which cheap manufacturers knock off high-end clothing designs and quickly offer them for sale, has a long history in the fashion world. … Now the development of digital photography has made piracy simpler and faster than ever before. Designs displayed on the runway today can roll out of Chinese manufacturing plants in a matter of days — often before the originals ever hit the marketplace.

“You would think rampant piracy would infuriate designers, and the large corporations that employ them, leading them to demand the same kinds of intellectual-property protections that a wide range of creative industries have lobbied for. …

“And yet fashion, an industry where innovation is high and copying is rampant, is for the most part not covered by U.S. copyright law … So why don’t luxury apparel corporations agitate for stronger intellectual property protection? …

“Trademarks and logos help distinguish the originals from the knockoffs, which is one reason they are so prominent on many clothes and accessories. … [I]f cheaper companies weren’t copying the styles of high-end designers and making them widely available, the appetite among wealthy consumers for the latest creations would be considerably reduced.”

Kal Raustiala, writing on “Fashion Victims,” March 15 in the New Republic Online at www.tnr.com

The witness

“Ashley Smith and Brian Nichols were together for seven hours. …

“Something changed.

“Something happened. …

“They were together seven hours and each emerged transformed. He gave himself up without a fight and is now in prison. She reported to police all that had transpired, the police told the press, and now she is famous. …

“On the news a ‘hostage rescue expert’ explained that she ‘negotiated like a pro.’ Actually what she did is give Christian witness. It wasn’t negotiation. It had to do with being human. …

“Is it an accident that a great but troubled country that yearns so to be good is given such instruction at this time?”

Peggy Noonan, writing on “Flannery O’Connor Country,” March 17 in the Wall Street Journal

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