- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Parallel paranoia

“[I]t has been said that Harriet Miers is an ‘inkblot.’ That’s supposed to mean she has no visible horns, no discernible politics, and no paper trail; that she’s a huge national mystery. But what it should really mean is that she has become a huge national Rorschach test: We look at her and can see nothing beyond our own fears and anxieties. …

“My own suspicion is that this is just the newest iteration of the game we just finished playing at the Roberts hearings: The They-Must-Know-Something-I-Don’t-Know game, in which each side concocts a fully developed sense of the nominee based on nothing more than paranoid readings of the other side’s sense of the nominee. …

“Rorschach tests work, to the extent they do, because they reveal that the viewer is crazy without ever confronting him with that fact directly. That … is exactly what both sides of the judicial confirmation wars are now betraying: Faced with the impossibility of really knowing someone, much less predicting their behavior into the far distant future, we gaze at a meaningless drawing and see only our worst selves.”

—Dahlia Lithwick, writing on “Miers, Miers on the Wall,” Friday in Slate at www.slate.com

Fact-free film

“There are few facts on display in ‘Good Night, and GoodLuck,’ actor George Clooney’s liberal version of CBS-TV news commentator Edward R. Murrow’s 1953 feud with Joe McCarthy, the fiercely anti-Communist senator from Wisconsin. …

“At the height of McCarthy’s campaign warning about potential security risks in the U.S. Army, Murrow does a show about a young lieutenant mustered out of the Army because of the allegedly left-wing activities of two family members. …

“Of course, the movie does not tell viewers that McCarthy had nothing to do with kicking the young lieutenant out of the Army. …

“‘Good Night, and Good Luck’ sticks mainly to the … liberal, pro-Communist, revisionist version about the controversy surrounding Murrow’s programs and McCarthy. As such, it offers … lots of style, but not much substance. …

“Ann Coulter’s bestseller ‘Treason’ — offers a more detailed, better-researched and more well-rounded look at McCarthy’s career.”

—Tom Snyder, writing on “Clooney film not high on facts,” Saturday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

Selective activism

“In late July, news surfaced that Iran had executed two gay teenagers — ostensibly for sexual assault, but most likely for the crime of being gay. As pictures of their executions spread around the Internet, American gay and lesbian activists responded swiftly: The president of the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest gay and lesbian political organization, sent a letter to [Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice urging her to take action. —

“For the most part, however, interest was short-lived. Last month, when Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to New York to visit the United Nations, he was greeted by thousands of Iranian protesters from the United States and overseas. America’s gay and lesbian activists did not join in. …

“When it comes to the oppression of gays and lesbians in Muslim countries, gay activism … never really existed. …

“Activists are more than willing to condemn the homophobic leaders of the Christian right for campaigning against gay marriage; but they are wary of condemning Islamist regimes that execute citizens for being gay. Something has gone terribly awry.”

—Rob Anderson, writing on “The Quiet Americans,” Thursday in the New Republic Online at www.tnr.com


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