- The Washington Times - Monday, September 5, 2005

Shakedown

“Will someone please tell self-promoter Jesse ‘Hymietown’ Jackson to shut up?

“The useless shakedown artist is now, as always, screaming the R-word — ‘racism’ — at President Bush, as the reason for the slow response to the New Orleans hurricane disaster. …

“Jackson is right about one thing. ‘There’s a historical indifference to the pain of poor people and black people’ in this country, he said. I agree that Jesse Jackson has a historical indifference to the pain of poor people and black people — all while making money off of their backs.

“It’s time for gazillionaire Jackson to quit whining and put his millions where his mouth is. It’s time for him to finally give a cent of his money to the American blacks he has used and sold out for so long.”

—Debbie Schlussel, writing Friday at www.debbieschlussel.com

Borking lessons

“In late 2001, a Senate Democratic staffer wrote a memo dividing President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees into the categories of ‘good,’ ‘bad’ and ‘ugly,’ depending … on ‘input from the groups’ of activists. … D. Brooks Smith, a federal district judge … nominated to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, was among those in the ‘good’ category.

“The designation didn’t last for long. Judge Smith became the target of a ‘borking.’ … The Senate eventually confirmed Judge Smith, but only after he had been held in limbo for nine months and accused of mendacity, ethical transgressions and a bias against women. …

“Judge Smith is less known than other judicial nominees who have come under ‘borking’ assault … [but] his experience offers a kind of template of abuse: Activist groups unearth whatever harmful details they can find, no matter how dubious; they gin them up into screaming charges; the charges in turn get picked up by reporters, eager to keep pace with a potential ‘controversy,’ and by politicians, eager to find any stick with which to beat a ‘dangerous’ nominee from the opposing party.”

—Quin Hillyer, writing on “How Judges Are Judged,” Aug. 30 in the Wall Street Journal

‘Subversive’ star

“[Greta] Garbo was built of strong contrarian stuff. She became famous, of course, for the way she reviled her fame. Her most celebrated line — ‘I want to be alone’ — from the 1932 film ‘Grand Hotel,’ got taken up by MGM’s publicity people and then posterity as the synopsis of an enigmatic desire to withdraw from her admiring public.

“But … the studio discouraged Garbo from giving interviews and the like because she wasn’t a team player. … Her so-called reclusiveness was really her assertion of dignity in the face of the studio’s bottom-line depredations and celebrity’s leveling blandishments. …

“Before Garbo, erotic feminine sexuality on the silver screen was for the most part represented by the figure of the vamp … theatrical, fraught with danger, a romantic finality that spelled the death of romantic feeling. … Garbo’s sexuality was a whole different story. … Garbo’s evocation of sex had the most subversive connotation imaginable: It was no big deal.

“Until Garbo … sex had appeared in American movies as a hidden destination, lying teasingly below the surface. With Garbo, sex is out in the open.”

—Lee Siegel, writing on “Sexy Beast,” Wednesday in the New Republic Online at www.tnr.com

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