- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2006

‘Free’ follies

“Do you remember the term ‘free love,’ bandied about so frequently in the 1960s and into the freewheeling ‘70s? It seemed to spring out of the ‘flower children’ phenomenon … during the decade-long period when open student dissent against the Vietnam War spawned flagrant drug use, rejection of all authority, the breaking of all taboos and the intoxicating notion that people should just be completely ‘free’ to do whatever they wanted to do.

“Timothy Leary joyously advocated, ‘Tune in; turn on; drop out.’

“The Chicago Seven’s Jerry Rubin shouted, ‘If it feels good — do it.’ …

“But morning came eventually. And the inevitable hangover revealed permanently ruined lives, addled minds, a smorgasbord of sexual diseases, nervous breakdowns, overdose deaths — and set the stage for the still-real AIDS epidemic in this country.

” ‘Free love’ wasn’t free, after all. The tab came due, and the bills are still being paid. The overthrow of responsibility was, and is, terribly, tragically costly.”

— Pat Boone, writing on “No such thing as ‘free’ speech,” Saturday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

Funny guys

“Men will laugh at almost anything, often precisely because it is — or they are — extremely stupid. Women aren’t like that. …

“Humor, if we are to be serious about it, arises from the ineluctable fact that we are all born into a losing struggle. Those who risk agony and death to bring children into this fiasco simply can’t afford to be too frivolous. … I am certain that this is also partly why, in all cultures, it is females who are the rank-and-file mainstay of religion, which in turn is the official enemy of all humor. …

“For men, it is a tragedy that the two things they prize the most — women and humor — should be so antithetical. But without tragedy, there could be no comedy. My beloved said to me, when I told her I was going to have to address this melancholy topic, that I should cheer up because ‘women get funnier as they get older.’

“Observation suggests to me that this might indeed be true, but, excuse me, isn’t that rather a long time to have to wait?”

— Christopher Hitchens, writing on “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” in the January issue of Vanity Fair

Nature’s revenge

” ‘Apocalypto’ is more than a high-velocity Hollywood adrenalin rush. It’s also, arguably, the ultimate reactionary movie, a savage rebellion against modernity that holds up technology and urbanity as poisonous to society. After warming his audience to the good-natured rural villagers, [director Mel] Gibson reverses this trick and paints their urban counterparts as ghoulish and decadent, almost inhuman.

“The captives’ journey into the city is filled with nightmarish sights — slave markets, sickly children, chalk covered laborers in a stone quarry looking like hollow-eyed ghosts — and capped off with a terrifying scene of ritual human sacrifice. Gibson films it all like an ancient macabre freak show, implicating the sin-filled city, with its suffering masses, devious leaders and enslaving inventions, in the desecration of the simple agrarian life he presents at the beginning.

“The film sees modernity as an affront not only to man, but to nature, and it too has its revenge. … This is a movie that fights bloody tooth by bloody nail for peaceful, traditionalist values.”

— Peter Suderman, writing on “Going Native,” Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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