- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 9, 2005

Feminist princess

“I’m not sure when I first heard about ‘Xena: Warrior Princess,’ or when I first tuned in to see what it was all about. I remember watching reruns on the SciFi Channel and being drawn by the show’s unique balance of dark drama and wacky comedy, the fights that mixed gritty realism with stylized martial arts, the reinvention of ancient history and myth combined with snappy modern dialogue — and the characters, above all Xena herself. …

“‘Xena’ is credited by many, including ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ creator Joss Whedon, with blazing the trail for a wave of female action heroes: Buffy, Max of ‘Dark Angel,’ Sydney Bristow of ‘Alias,’ Starbuck in SciFi’s new ‘Battlestar Galactica’ … and the Bride in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill.’ …

“How was Xena a female pioneer? … Xena … was unapologetically strong and unapologetically female, sexy and powerful, unafraid to get sweaty and dirty on the job, and all the more beautiful for it. Nor did she care about pleasing anyone. …

“Women on ‘Xena’ were simply human, no better or worse than men: feminism as it ought to be.”

— Cathy Young, writing on “What we owe Xena,”Sept. 15 in Salon at www.salon.com

Lost perspective

“[W]e have lost perspective how education has suffered as result of it being a government-controlled monopoly. …

“News from China this week is that state censorship agencies have issued new rules about what kind of news may be published on the Internet. The rules established 11 ‘forbidden zones’ and include a ban on anything that might promote religious beliefs.

“Is it a little eerie to think that we run our public schools like the Chinese communists run their marketplace? The point of education was not a mystery to one of the pioneers of American public education, Horace Mann. …

“The reason we require schooling, according to Mann, is that a free country needs responsible, enlightened citizens to function. Accordingly, Mann says, in school curricula ‘principles of morality should be copiously intermingled with the principles of science.’ …

“We’ve lost sight of the goal of public education producing better people and citizens. We can’t even agree about what this means.”

— Star Parker, writing on “Thoughts on public education,” Tuesday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

‘Absurd’ thriller

“Many thrillers begin with an engaging premise and quickly fall apart once the setup gives way to predictable plot climaxes and chase scenes. ‘Flightplan,’ Jodie Foster’s new terror-in-the-skies thriller, follows this pattern and is notable only for a stronger than average start and a particularly absurd conclusion. …

“‘Flightplan’ does identify itself as a post-9/11 film in interesting ways beyond the added tension involved in airline travel. A relatively new character to this type of thriller — an air marshal — figures prominently in the plot. Also playing a role: a group of Arab passengers, whom [Miss Foster’s character] Kyle immediately suspects to be involved in her daughter’s disappearance. …

“But — ‘Flightplan’ being a mainstream Hollywood production — don’t expect the role of the Arabs to serve anything other than a saccharine, politically correct purpose.”

— Andrew Coffin, writing on “Flightplan,” in the Oct. 8 issue of World


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