- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2006

Plot lines

“This was the year Hollywood cut loose from its audience and decided to pursue its own story line. None of the five [Academy Award] nominees for best picture did well at the box office. The winner — ‘Crash’ — was at best a gritty minor work, whose chief virtue was the message that Hollywood approves — everyone is a racist. …

“So since Hollywood can’t come up with scripts that resonate with middle America, here are a few suggestions:

“‘The Fall of the Berlin Wall.’ The most important historical event since World War II hasn’t been touched on the screen. …

“‘The Alger Hiss Story.’ A top American diplomat … is accused of being a Soviet agent by a frumpy, down-at-the-heels magazine editor, Whittaker Chambers. … The conspiracy — which probably handed Eastern Europe to the Soviets — begins to unravel.

“‘Loyalties,’ by Carl Bernstein. The hero of Watergate sets out to exonerate his parents and other victims of McCarthyism. After researching the story, however, he realizes they actually were working with the Soviets. …

“See you at next year’s Oscars.”

— William Tucker, writing on “Hollywood Loves Hollywood,” Wednesday in the American Enterprise Online at www.taemag.org

Cartoon fury

“I declared prematurely that one of the media’s central stupidities was to debate how offensive the 12 Jyllands-Posten cartoons really were and whether the barbarians had a case for going berserk.

“To debate the contents of the disputed speech, I argued, would be to compromise the bedrock principles of private property rights and freedom of speech. We’d be conceding that the right to ridicule ought to be restricted. Or so I believed.

“I was wrong. …

“The illustrators were called juvenile, obnoxious, Islamophobic, even immoral. They were accosted for doing nothing to advance enlightened argument; of acting in ‘terrifically bad taste’ and indulging in ‘gratuitous provocation, not worthy of publication,’ to quote some of the politicians and pundits who trashed them. …

“What was the premise for dubbing mild satire immoral and unenlightened, and inadvertently maligning the innocent illustrators? …

“Pictorially positing a connection between Muhammad and the violence that disfigures the Muslim world is not improper or untoward. I, and many other writers, have instantiated in writing the questions the cartoons posed in pictures. Does that make us immoral and improper?”

— Ilana Mercer, writing on “Virtuous Vikings,” Friday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

Choosing silence

“[March 3], leaders of pro-choice and feminist groups gathered at the Center for American Progress to debate the movement’s future. One of the panelists reported that the latest annual tally of abortions in this country was 1.295 million. … ‘Raise your hand if you think that number is too high,’ the conference moderator told the 50 people in the room.

“I saw one hand go up. The woman next to me said she saw another. The two hand-raisers used to work for pro-choice groups but no longer do.

“This is the predicament facing the abortion-rights movement. It’s led by three kinds of people: Those who see no problem, those who are afraid to speak up, and those who think it’s futile.”

— William Saletan, writing on “My Secret Burden,” March 9 in Slate at www.slate.com

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