- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Meth for losers

“[‘V for Vendetta’] will remain, like ‘The Matrix,’ a harmless fantasy.

“But there’s another group of people who might see this film whom I worry about: the marginally paranoid, disaffected “losers” who serve as the recruitment pool for extremists and terrorists. Think of Timothy McVeigh, who read a single novel — ‘The Turner Diaries’ — and began to plan the bombing of Oklahoma City. … Or the assemblage of social misfits which al Qaeda was able to recruit for the attacks in 2001.

“To these people, a film with lines like ‘Sometimes blowing up a building can change the world’ is like a dose of crystal meth. What makes things worse is the fantasy element in the film: No innocent bystanders are killed, no children blown apart by the indiscriminate use of explosives in a crowded city, no hospitals filled up with bloodied old people, janitors, and pregnant women. …

— John Zmirak, writing “A Review of ‘V for Vendetta,’” on March 27 at the Webzine Godspy

‘Enemy of the People’

“For consideration by the jury in deciding whether [Zacarias] Moussaoui should be executed, prosecutors brought forth the story of the victims of 9/11.

“First out was former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who described the chaotic scene that day as he sought to understand and grapple with the dimensions of the attack. Jurors also saw extensive video of people jumping to their death, sometimes in flames. …

“But in a larger sense, the focus on the private suffering of the victims and their families invites us to lose sight of the main point. The conspiracy of which Moussaoui was a part was an offense against the United States. …

“The designation ‘enemy of the people’ is one that states have sometimes deployed in order to justify monstrous acts against those so designated. We are right to be wary of the term and any hint of loose application. But we would be wrong to deny its applicability in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui.

“By pursuing him in criminal court, the U.S. government obscured the stakes in this case.”

— Tod Lindberg, “Enemy of the People,” in the April 17 edition of the Weekly Standard

All in the family

“It’s a family thing. You may not warm up to overbearing Aunt Adelaide or annoying cousin Conrad, but they’re bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh. … It is hard not to feel connected, for better or worse, to the extended family of the baptized … my special sideline is praying for famous people who also happen to be [Catholic] fallen aways.

“There are many famous fallen aways, because families are messy. Lots of my favorites are literary, like Shakespeare, whose Catholic father was fined for not attending the Church of England, and who was at least sympathetic to the persecuted faith of his father, if not a secret believer. And there are deathbed reversions, too, such as the controversial final moments of Jean-Paul Sartre, or the finale of inconstant convert and unhappily homosexual Oscar Wilde’s life. …

“Family ties are all over — the black sheep you’d rather not acknowledge, and those more progressive relations who’ve “grown” so far away from you that they’d rather not acknowledge you, as well as big brothers and sisters who make us proud. Now Katie [Holmes], Tom Cruise, and their Scientologist baby will swell the multitude on my list. Maybe someday that baby will become curious about his or her lost relatives in the faith.”

— The pseudonymous Madame X, writing on “Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and the Catholic Church,” on Tuesday at TheFactIs.org



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