- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Culture for sale

“Trend-spotting has, in essence, become just another trend. Consequently, the most successful trend forecasters are repositioning themselves as something more than mere arbiters of taste. They’re now social scientists with a hipster edge. …

“Still, some see trend forecasters as nothing more than expensive soothsayers, bringing the illusion of control to a $250-billion ad industry wracked by uncertainty, a fragmented audience and anti-advertising technology. …

“We’re returning to church, cheering evangelical wrestlers and ‘redneck’ comic Jeff Foxworthy because that’s authentic America. We’re embracing our primal selves after years of tech-supported censoring; flocking to horror films and violent video games. … At the same time, we love small luxuries — the special martini, the fancy cigar, the low-cost/high-design vacuum — because life is short and disaster is right around the corner. And besides, we deserve it.

“In a way, this desperate need among advertisers to ‘divine’ our intimate truths has indelibly linked consumerism to culture. … Life is being captured, repackaged and sold back to us as quickly as we live it.”

—Gina Piccalo, writing on “Fads are so yesterday,” Sunday in the Los Angeles Times

‘Coming out’ at 10

“[H]omosexual activists are recruiting kids into homosexual sex and a ‘gay’ identity, using ‘tolerance’ as a ruse. …

“From 100 gay/straight alliance (GSA) clubs in schools in 1997, [Time magazine reported in an Oct. 10 cover story], the number has grown to ‘at least 3,000. … Nearly one in 10 high schools has one, according to the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN).’

“The average age of kids ‘coming out’ as homosexual has ‘dropped to 10 for gays and 12 for lesbians,’ according to the chair of Cornell University’s human-development program. …

“‘We’re gonna win,’ says [GLSEN founder Kevin] Jennings, speaking expansively of the gay movement, ‘because of what’s happening in high schools right now.’ …

“Clearly, the homosexual movement’s effort to recruit children has never been stronger than it is now.”

—Robert Knight and Benjamin Frichtl, writing on “Time Magazine, School Event Expose Massive Cultural Campaign to Promote Homosexuality to Kids,” Thursday for Concerned Women for America at cwfa.org

Privileged images

“You can’t argue with the beneficial effects of having bucks. In artistic terms, though, the adventure of either seeing through or rising through society is a lot more interesting than portraying very wealthy people as having their own problems, dilemmas, etc., and going about telling such a story without exposing the pathologies of privilege. …

“But in the last decade or so, serious and popular art more and more has been overtaken by uncritical images of wealth and privilege. Ours must be the only civilization that has ever existed whose art yokes together material riches and spiritual success. Think of the film ‘Indecent Proposal,’ in which the shallow, crass millionaire who offers a husband and wife a million dollars if the latter will sleep with him is presented, in the end, as a person of more character and integrity than the couple who says yes.”

—Lee Siegel, writing on “Rock in a Hard Place,” Monday in the New Republic Online at www.tnr.com

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