- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 16, 2006

Movie messages

“[M]any films portray innocence as backward, dull and unsophisticated. Who wants to be a nerd when you can be James Bond? The ‘uninitiated’ are the fools in … hundreds of films, including the recent ‘40 Year Old Virgin’ — and they become progressive, exciting, and cool only by indulging their desires and shedding their grossly overstated commitment to morality. Clearly, virtue is embarrassing.

“[M]any films make a narrative argument that inspires audiences to press against the boundaries of all kinds of innocence-thresholds. There’s nothing wrong with revenge, says ‘Batman Begins.’ Forget about your reluctance for shameless self-promotion, says ‘Chicago.’ C’mon, don’t be so uptight about coveting wealth and beauty and romance, says ‘Notting Hill.’ Relax your judgmental spirit toward stealing, says ‘Oceans Eleven’ and ‘Twelve.’ ”

— Greg Spencer, writing on “Hollywood, Herod and The Massacre of Innocence,” in Boundless at www.boundless.org

Taliban U.

“Imagine if you were in college and found out that the guy next to you in class had worked as a propagandist for one of the most oppressive regimes of modern times. How would you react?

For some Yale students, this is not a theoretical question. Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, a former spokesman for Afghanistan’s Taliban government, was admitted to the university last year as a special student in a nondegree program; this spring, he plans to apply as a regular student.

Hashemi’s story came to light after he was profiled in an article in The New York Times Magazine. …

“John Fund of The Wall Street Journal … writes that the Yale students he interviewed were unanimous in their opinion that the reaction to Hashemi would have been more hostile if he had been associated with, say, the apartheid regime of South Africa. One senior told Fund that the general feeling was that it wasn’t appropriate to be as judgmental toward non-Western regimes. …

“And the reaction from faculty? Jim Sleeper, a journalist and political science lecturer at Yale, has responded … by attacking Fund … instead of addressing the issues.”

— Cathy Young, writing on “Educating the Taliban at Yale,” Sunday in the Boston Globe

Campus ‘corruption’

“The intellectual corruption of our universities by political radicals has been proceeding without interruption since the Vietnam War. This political movement in the academic world didn’t get into high gear until the 1980s, when the Sixties generation attained tenure rank and with it institutional power in the universities. But it has now become a pervasive and destructive fact of our national life. Entire academic departments and fields are no longer devoted to scholarly pursuits, but have become ideological training and recruitment centers for radical causes.

“Educational institutions are the cornerstones of our democracy. This is particularly so in the present historical juncture when we are engaged in a war with totalitarian enemies that seek to destroy us. Teaching the next generations the principles of our system, and developing in them the ability to reason and think for themselves are agendas crucial to the health and survival of our nation. This knowledge and these abilities are the fundamental prerequisites of a democratic culture. And they are in danger in our country today.”

— David Horowitz, testifying Wednesday before a Kansas House of Representatives hearing on academic freedom

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