- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 16, 2006

Castro’s reporter

“The late New York Times journalist Herbert L. Matthews is now an almost forgotten name, except, perhaps, among journalism students and those who remember the earliest days of the Cuban Revolution. …

“In those days, the Times had an ad campaign showing average citizens who had obtained jobs through its classified section. A soon-to-be-famous cartoon appeared in National Review, featuring a caricature of Castro with the caption, ‘I got my job through the New York Times.’ …

“His work was appreciated by Castro and his entourage: Che Guevara called Matthews a ‘cordial witness’ to their revolution, a description Matthews cherished. As propaganda masters, Castro and Guevara welcomed the use to which Matthews’s writings could be put. They saw him as a journalist who could help them in their grasp of power, a role Matthews willingly played. His life and work serve as an example aspiring journalists should learn from, and seek not to emulate.”

Ronald Radosh, writing on “A Dictator’s Scribe,” Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com


“The major blind spot of megachurches is that they tend to be very effeminate with aesthetics, music, and preaching perfectly tailored for moms. Manly men are repelled by this, and many of the men who find it appealing are the types to sing prom songs to Jesus and learn about their feelings while sitting in a seafoam green chair drinking herbal tea — the spiritual equivalent of Richard Simmons. A friend of mine calls them ‘evangellyfish’ with no spiritual vertebrae.

“Statistically, traditional churches are in steep decline, contemporary churches will dominate in the foreseeable future, and emerging churches are just beginning to sort out what the future holds for them. The two hot theologies today are Reformed and emerging. Reformed theology offers certainty, with a masculine God who names our sin, crushes Jesus on the cross for it, and sends us to hell if we fail to repent.

“Emerging theology offers obscurity, with a neutered God who would not say an unkind word to us, did not crush Jesus for our sins, and would not send anyone to hell. I came to Reformed theology by preaching through books of the Bible such as Exodus, Romans, John, and Revelation, along with continually repenting of my sin.”

The Rev. Mark Driscoll of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church, interviewed by Jason Bailey, July 4 in ChristianityToday.com

Hilton’s hit

“I wish I could report that the debut single by Paris Hilton, ‘Stars Are Blind,’ is a dud. The fact is, I can’t stop humming the … thing. It’s certainly a triumph of counterintuitive branding. Hilton spent time in the studio with producers like Scott Storch, a specialist in loud and nasty hip-hop club tracks, and it seemed a foregone conclusion that she would inaugurate her musical career with a sleazy pole-dance anthem. … But ‘Stars Are Blind’ is a sweet, sun-kissed love song. … All in all, it’s a surprisingly good start to Hilton’s campaign to break into the pop diva game. …

“She might not be able to sing or dance, but Paris Hilton offers diva-pop one thing it’s lacked: an anti-hero.”

Jody Rosen, writing on “Paris Hilton, Anti-Hero,” Friday in Slate at www.slate.com

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