- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2006

Smiting ‘Daniel’

“Writing earlier this month about the premiere of NBC’s controversial show, ‘The Book of Daniel,’ the Nashville Scene’s Liz Garrigan observed, ‘Something altogether anticlimactic happened. … God did not smite Middle Tennessee or cast into stone those viewers who find intriguing the character of a fallible Vicodin-addicted clergyman.’

“Maybe not. But the market sure did. ‘Daniel’ hath been smote. …

“NBC announced … that it has canceled the show amid a torrent of protest from mostly religious viewers outraged by its caricature of Jesus Christ and the panoply of dysfunction masquerading as the family of the troubled Episcopal priest. …

“Given the groundswell of protest, the show lasted only three weeks before NBC defrocked the comedic drama entirely.”

— Joel Miller, writing on “‘Daniel’ and the welfare queen,” Thursday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

Public miseducation

“So here I am facing another Minnesota winter, looking to expand my mind. Naturally, I turn to ‘The Winter & Spring 2006 Community Education Catalog’ of the Eden Prairie, Minn., public schools, where I see the very first course offering is:

“‘Da Vinci Code Historical Seminar — Did you find the historical events in the 2003 fictional best-seller interesting but too fantastic to believe? Actually, most of the background items cited in the book were tied to events purportedly recorded in history.’ …

“What really made me pause however was this line: ‘The Priory of Sion actually existed since 1099, and Opus Dei frightfully exists right here in the U.S.A. today!’

“The Priory of Sion … certainly did not exist since 1099 (or ever), being a 1960s fabrication of a convicted French swindler. Asserting in a public-school program — even one for adults — that it actually existed amounts to using the public schools to spread anti-Christian and specifically anti-Catholic propaganda. The line about Opus Dei’s very existence in the U.S. being frightening suggests the same, and then some.”

— Susan Vigilante, writing on “Opus Dei 101,” Thursday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Suing ‘Dora’

“‘Look!’ exclaims my 3-year-old daughter, pointing excitedly at a box of cookies in the supermarket. ‘It’s Dora! And Boots!’ I nod and smile. ‘Yes, it is,’ I say, and we move on.

“I do not feel injured by this exchange. But according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a D.C.-based health nanny group, if I lived in Massachusetts the incident would be worth at least $25 in statutory damages.

“Using that sort of reasoning, CSPI, the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and two Massachusetts parents who would rather sue multinational corporations than stand up to their own children are seeking billions of dollars in damages from Viacom (which owns Nickelodeon, home of ‘Dora the Explorer’) and Kellogg, maker of sugary breakfast cereals and other food products CSPI thinks your kids shouldn’t eat. The plaintiffs say it’s not about the money.

“I believe them. This lawsuit … is really about censorship. By threatening onerous damages, CSPI aims to achieve through the courts what it has unsuccessfully demanded from legislators and regulators for decades: a ban on food advertising aimed at children.”

— Jacob Sullum, writing on “Dora the Exploiter,” Wednesday in Reason Online at www.reason.com

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