- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 25, 2005

Don’t hate it

“‘Everybody Hates Chris,’ inspired by comedian Chris Rock’s boyhood … [is] unapologetically politically incorrect. Chris Rock’s message — blacks should work hard and avoid ghetto culture — is basically the same one Bill Cosby got in so much trouble with recently. But with Rock, for some reason, it goes down easy. …

“Rock, who narrates but doesn’t appear in the autobiographical show, doesn’t spare his parents’ peccadilloes. The father character keeps a running tab of how much money his kids waste (‘That’s 26 cents’ worth of milk you just spilled’) and the mother may shock upper-middle-class white parents with her relentlessly pro-spanking philosophy. … Yet there’s no doubt he remains grateful for how they raised him.

“Much of the charm of ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ is that the parents … are those rare TV parents who are actually in charge of their family. ‘With the exception of Cosby, every black father I see on TV, they’re not really masculine,’ said Rock.”

—Catherine Seipp, writing on “Everybody Can Get Chris,” Thursday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Celebrity victims

“In the first days of post-Katrina coverage, journalists speedily attached famous faces to the tragedy of New Orleans, perhaps to balance those endless shots of the noncelebrity poor.

“We saw and heard Big Easy stars such as Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr., and worried along with fretting anchors about missing great Fats Domino. We watched as writers and broadcasters with a New Orleans pedigree, like Cokie Roberts … became stories in themselves. We cringed as fey Hollywood exercise guru Richard Simmons, in trademark tank top, broke down on ‘Entertainment Tonight.’

“Now, as cleanup and rebuilding begin, a request: Please shift coverage to historic probability thinkers … and to the contemporary ‘possibility’ scholar Lee Clarke. Because probability and possibility — two concepts with limper background music than Bourbon Street, and no visuals to match toxic waterways or gun-toting movie stars — matter a great deal. …

“Probability theory and risk analysis may not be the jazziest topics to wrestle with in Katrina’s wake, but more should try. …

“Should locals rebuild New Orleans as it was? Probably it’s not a bad idea. Possibly it’s a catastrophic one.”

—Carlin Romano, writing on “New Orleans and the Probability Blues,” in the Sept. 23 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education

Ultimate outrage

“[California] Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said … he supports the primary aim of a ballot initiative that would make most abortions for minors illegal without prior notification of the girls’ parents or guardians. …

“‘I have a daughter,’ Schwarzenegger said in an interview. ‘I wouldn’t want to have someone take my daughter to a hospital for an abortion or something and not tell me. I would kill him if they do that.’ …

“‘It will be the ultimate of being outraged about it and angry about it,’ he said.

“‘They call me when my daughter falls off the jungle gym in the school and they say, “What do you want us to use? Can we put a Band-Aid on it? Do you want to come in? She’s crying a little bit.’ ”

“‘They call us about everything. I don’t want them in that particular incident not to call us.”

—Gary Delsohn, writing on “Governor speaks up on abortion,” Wednesday in the Sacramento Bee

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