- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lolita nation

“One of the first media sensations ever to impinge upon my consciousness was the visit to Britain by rock star Jerry Lee Lewis in May 1958. … This was supposed to be a concert tour, but 22-year-old Jerry had brought his wife Myra along, and the British press got wind of the fact that Myra was only 13. This wasn’t an unusual thing in the south of that time. … Myra was his third wife, and also his second cousin once removed.

“Back then, country people grew up fast and close to their kin. Neither Jerry nor Myra could understand what the fuss was about. … It didn’t help that Jerry’s new record was titled ‘High School Confidential.’

“How long ago it seems! Nowadays our kids are financially dependent on us into their mid-twenties, and can’t afford to leave home till they are 35. Marriage at 13? Good grief!

“Here you see one of the paradoxes of our strange times. Our women dress like sluts; … our colleges have coed bathrooms; songs about pimps rise to the top of the pop music charts; yet so far as anything to do with the actual reality of actual human nature is concerned, we are as prim and shockable as a bunch of Quaker schoolmarms.

“After 40 years of lying to ourselves, we are now terrified of the truth. Which is an unhappy thing, because the truth is bearing down on us fast.”

— John Derbyshire, writing on “February Fooled the Forsythia,” Monday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

New equality

“In the pantheon of American feminists, Catharine MacKinnon will be forever linked with her friend and colleague the late Andrea Dworkin, the anti-pornography crusader whose outsize ‘feminazi’ appearance in baggy dungarees was the cause of a great deal of mirth and endless sexist jokes.

“MacKinnon … has an unexpected vice: an addiction to People magazine, the American celebrity weekly that is obsessed with Britney and Angelina Jolie. ‘I read it cover to cover,’ MacKinnon confesses. …

“MacKinnon has seen the women’s movement go from flower power and free love to ‘reclaim the streets’ demos against violence, only to find that women have gone on to offer men sex of the most explicit kind in the name of equality. As an article in the Wall Street Journal put it: ‘How did feminists end up in bed with [Playboy boss] Hugh Hefner?’”

— Sarah Baxter, writing on “Raunch culture and the end of feminism,” May 7 in the Sunday Times of London

Menace movie

“‘Mission: Impossible III’ is rated PG-13 for ‘intense sequences of frenetic violence and menace.’ That is pretty much all there is to this movie. It has all the meaning of a roller coaster at a theme park. While you are in your seat, the experience is sort of exciting and fun. But once those few thrilling moments are over, you come away with nothing to show for it.

“The episodes of plot are mainly moments of rest that connect the explosions, gun battles, helicopter duels, people crashing through windows, and cars overturning on the highway and bursting into flames. To the movie’s credit, some of these scenes of frenetic violence are well-done, especially when the hero jumps off buildings and when he tries to pick up a doomsday cylinder as it rolls through heavy traffic. …

“The cylinder contains something so destructive it is called the ‘anti-God.’ And the government wants it given to a Middle East dictator to justify an invasion, so we have Hollywood’s requisite anti-war statement. That’s it.”

— Gene Edward Veith, writing on “Mission: Impossible III,” in the May 20 issue of World Magazine

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