- The Washington Times - Monday, November 14, 2005

Gay chic

“You can hardly turn on a television set, go to a movie, or listen to a political speech without the supposedly ‘marginalized’ person … being portrayed, catered to, lauded, romanticized, or analyzed. …

“We now have ‘The L Word,’ a program on Showtime, described as ‘Sex in the City’ but with the city revolving around beautiful lesbians. …

“Ellen DeGeneres’s talk show has been renewed for another season. What is this — the fourth chance she’s had to have a show? Yes … Hollywood executives just know that our television tableau would be incomplete without the official lesbian being on the screen every day of the week.”

— Tammy Bruce, from her new book, “The New American Revolution”

Hipster folly

“The world’s great cities face serious, even catastrophic problems. Terrorists have planted bombs in London’s Underground and bus systems. Floods have wiped out New Orleans, and fires incinerated scores of impoverished Africans living in crowded, seamy Paris apartments. …

“Yet rather than address serious issues like housing, schools, transport, jobs and security, mayors and policy gurus … have adopted what can be best described as the ‘cool city strategy.’ If you can somehow make your city the rage of the hipster set, they insist, all will be well.

“New Orleans, the most recent victim of catastrophic urban decline, is a case in point. Once a great commercial hub, the city’s economic and political elites have placed all their bets on New Orleans becoming a tourist and culture center. Indeed, just a month before the [Hurricane Katrina] disaster, city leaders held a conference that promoted a ‘cultural economy initiative’ strategy for attracting high-end industry. The other big state initiative was not levee improvement but a $450 million expansion for the now infamous convention center. …

“Cities once boasted of their thriving middle-class neighborhoods, churches, warehouses, factories and high-rise office towers. Today they set their value by their inventory of jazz clubs, gay bars, art museums, luxury hotels and condos.”

— Joel Kotkin, writing on “Uncool cities,” in the October issue of the British magazine

Prospect

‘To see both sides’

“Dan Rather loves, loves, loves this movie [‘Good Night and Good Luck’]. We had a great conversation about it. …

“[P]robably 90 percent of actors are Democrats. I have absolutely no political ambitions. However, let’s say I was interested. I’d have to run on a completely different ticket than anyone ever ran on. I’d have to run on the ‘Yeah, I did it’ ticket. ‘Did you sleep with so-and-so?’ ‘Yeah, I did.’ ‘Did you take drugs?’ ‘You bet I did.’

“Schwarzenegger ran on the ‘I don’t wanna talk about it’ ticket. So did Bush. It’s very easy when you’re a conservative to say ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ It’s simple: evildoers, bad people. The job of a liberal is to see both sides. That makes us lousy debaters. It’s much easier to have a simplistic point of view, like Reagan.”

— George Clooney, interviewed by J. Hoberman, in the Oct. 4 issue of the Village Voice

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