- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2006

News that didn’t fit

“From the beginning, reports on Katrina portrayed the hurricane as not just a natural disaster, not even just a tragic case of government bungling, but a devastating indictment of American racism and social injustice. … Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean declared, ‘We must come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age, and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not.’

“As it turns out, Dean got two out of three wrong. …

“A study of the locations where bodies were recovered showed that they were not disproportionately concentrated in low-income neighborhoods. …

“And race? In a database on 486 Katrina victims, ‘African-Americans outnumbered whites 51 percent to 44 percent. In the area overall, African-Americans outnumber whites 61 percent to 36 percent.’ …

“One reason we saw so many black survivors on the news was that mostly white-populated areas the hurricane hit — St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans, the cities of Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi — received relatively little media attention. … [T]he media had their narrative in which Katrina victims were poor and black; white people left homeless and waiting in vain for help did not fit the picture.”

— Cathy Young, writing on “Katrina’s racial paranoia,” Sunday in the Boston Globe


“In Hollywood, where a starlet’s fame may be briefer than her high-school education, the effective career of an actress can be nasty, brutish, and short, or, in the lingo, ‘way harsh.’ … Anti-aging camouflage, such as plastic surgery, Botox, collagen injections, and other elixirs may provide a brief respite, but eventually every actress comes up against the age stereotyping in Hollywood. Goldie Hawn famously described the prevailing attitude this way in ‘The First Wives Club’: ‘There are only three ages for women: Babe, District Attorney, and Driving Miss Daisy.’”

— Edward Jay Epstein, writing on “The Starlet’s Dilemma,” Monday in Slate at www.slate.com

Little tyrannies

“One of the mantras recited repeatedly by liberal Democrats during the confirmation hearings of Judge Samuel Alito was that the courts are supposed to be ‘standing up for the little guy’ against the institutions of society. …

“There’s obviously some truth to this, but you can’t just assume the little guy is always right. Social institutions function by providing the greatest good to the greatest number. Someone is always going to be dissatisfied, but it’s dangerous to suppose that individual complaints should always trump the majority. Courts are government institutions as well. If they become a tool whereby individuals and minorities can impose their will on the majority, they can become equally tyrannical. …

“To listen to Sens. Richard Durbin and Russ Feingold, you’d think all a judge has to do is decide who the ‘little guy’ is and vote for him. Judge Alito’s deliberative, case-by-case approach is a much more mature method. It’s nice to know he’ll soon be sitting on the Supreme Court.”

— William Tucker, writing on “What’s So Great About the Little Guy?” Tuesday in the American Enterprise Online at www.taemag.org

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