- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ken’s comeback

“They broke up after 43 years together citing irreconcilable differences. Now, after a mere 18 months apart, Ken wants Barbie back.

“What’s more he is prepared to make the effort to change. He will unveil a new look early next year and his spokesman at the manufacturers Mattel promises a radical, highly secret, rethink. …

“Mattel stopped promoting the two together and Ken was pushed to the back of the toy shop shelves.

“Russell Arons, the doll’s personal manager and publicist, admits that Ken ‘has been in conversation’ with some of Britain’s and Hollywood’s celebrity stylists in an attempt to win Barbie back. …

“The British stylist Kenny Ho, who has advised David Beckham and Pierce Brosnan, said Ken needed to go ‘slick and urban’ to win back Barbie, and be less of a fashion victim.”

— Nina Goswami, writing on “Ken counts on a make-over to win back Barbie,” Oct. 23 in the London Telegraph

Bias bogeyman?

“Thomas Frank [author of ‘What’s the Matter with Kansas?’] has hooked a lot of people’s attention with a very intriguing title, and he’s drawn them in with his very simple answer: the people of Kansas are really stupid.

“Of course he doesn’t state it exactly like that. His claim is that slick puppeteers in the Republican leadership have ridden to power by cynically stoking the flames of a culture war they don’t care about, in order to divert attention from their real ambition, which is to reconfigure the U.S. economy so that it redistributes income from the poor and the middle class to the rich. They’ve created a bitter antipathy among middle Americans toward the cultural elite ensconced on the coasts so that, too blinded by their indignation at not having their solid virtues lauded by the liberal establishment, these gullible Midwesterners won’t see that the very politicians who claim to share their worldview are playing them for fools. The epicenter of this phenomenon, according to Mr. Frank, is Kansas.

“In Frank’s telling … [m]edia bias and liberal cultural elitism are simply bogeymen created by the Right in order to give it a coherent enemy.”

— Kimberly Shankman, writing on “Resenting the Heartland’s Success,” Sept. 26 for the Claremont Institute at www.claremont.org

‘Liberal loathing’

“At the beginning of the 20th century, the British Empire was an unopposed hyperpower (much as the United States has been since 1989).

“But after the conclusion of the first World War, Britain’s imperial psyche began to fracture. ‘After the survivors of the Western front came home,’ [historian William] Manchester writes, ‘Britons wanted nothing more to do with war; most of them hoped never again to lay their eyes on an Englishman in uniform, and they were losing their taste for Empire.’ Winston Churchill despaired of this change. ‘The shadow of victory is disillusion,’ he noted. ‘The reaction from extreme effort is prostration. The aftermath even of successful war is long and bitter.’ …

“Churchill disdained the new liberalism, mocking one of his opponents as part of ‘that band of degenerate international intellectuals who regard the greatness of Britain and the stability and prosperity of the British Empire as a fatal obstacle. …’ So deep was this liberal loathing of empire that even as the first shots of World War II were being fired, Churchill’s private secretary, Jock Colville, witnessed at a theater ‘a group of bespectacled intellectuals’ who, to his shock, ‘remain[ed] firmly seated while “God Save the King” was played.’”

—Jonathan V. Last, writing on “Rule America?” Oct. 9 in the Philadelphia Inquirer

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