- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 29, 2005

American angel

“I went to the studio around 9 a.m. on the morning of September 11. Then news of planes crashing tore me away from my work.

“Feelings of shock, disbelief, sadness, anger, insecurity, and grief overwhelmed me for many days. I couldn’t possibly go back to painting what I had been working on prior to the attack: a series of paintings celebrating the joy and beauty of light and life. My heart was filled with the darkness of despair.

“I turned to painting angels as a way of comforting myself. I realized the angel should embody strength along with tenderness. She would be standing amidst the ruins, looking down in mourning. One hand holds a sprig of red, white, and blue flowers, their colors symbolizing the courage, justice, and truth which the American flag represents.

“Her right hand is clutching her dress at some folds that are suggestive of a sword’s scabbard. Her gaze is directed toward some long piece of metal in the rubble, which perhaps resembles a sword. Could she be contemplating retribution?”

New York artist Hong Nian Zhang, who recently became a U.S. citizen, explaining the inspiration for his painting, “Ground Zero,” in the October-December issue of the American Enterprise

‘Liberal fantasy’

” ‘Commander in Chief’ … delivers Geena Davis as Mackenzie Allen, America’s first female president. … ‘Commander in Chief’ is interesting; interesting as a liberal fantasy (the New York Times’s description, not mine). …

” ‘Commander’ is an archetypal liberal tale: A hero is challenged by blind prejudice but rises to show us that when we embrace equality and diversity, it all works out. …

“In their dreamy Shangri-La, Democrats don’t have any messy baggage. The word ‘Democrat’ does not appear even a single time in the pilot script. ‘Republican’ does. … In the glorious future, with the issues so perfectly framed, ‘Democrat’ and ‘liberal’ have withered away, and everyone presumably knows that their choice is between upright, sincere independents … and icy, extremist Republicans. Ah, to dream.”

Louis Wittig, writing on “It’s Commander in Chief G. I. Jane,” Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Playing doctor

“The TV medical dramas of the 1960s brought viewers to patients’ bedsides and kept them there. Shows like ‘Ben Casey’ and ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.,’ were structured around patients in part because doctors had a surprising degree of control over their TV image. However self-servingly, they nudged producers to paint a clearer, better picture of medicine than today’s shows. …

“When the first medical dramas hit the airwaves in 1951 with the debut of ‘City Hospital,’ the [American Medical Association] demanded from television producers the right to revise scripts in the name of medical accuracy.

“The AMA also pushed to keep the focus away from physicians’ personal lives. … Patients’ struggles drove the story lines. …

” ‘St. Elsewhere’ and ‘ER’ get credit for portraying decaying urban hospitals and taking on controversial story lines — ‘St. Elsewhere’ was the first prime-time drama to feature an AIDS patient; ‘ER’ was the first to show a lesbian doctor. … Unlike their godlike predecessors, the physicians on these series were pathetically human, battling drug addictions, health problems, and bad relationships.”

Ingrid Katz and Alexi Wright, writing on “Paging Dr. Welby,” Monday in Slate at www.slate.com

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