Sunday, September 24, 2006

Men of honor

“[On September 11, 2001] the United States was attacked by men who claimed to ‘love death more than you love life,’ a sentiment so alien to our ears that even now, no matter how many times we have heard it or variants of it repeated, we seem unable to grasp its implications. Only crazy people, we reason, think that anything could be more important than self-preservation.

“Yet on that same day we were astonished by the deeds of other men who also set self-preservation aside, though they did so in the service of goals very different from the homicidal and suicidal ideology of the terrorists. These were the firemen of New York, who went into the smoldering World Trade Center towers with a good idea that they would not be coming back out. Three hundred and forty-three of them perished. …

“The firemen, like members of the military, exist within the remnants of what James Bowman calls Western honor culture, a code of conduct that evolved over many centuries before ebbing in the century just past to the point that we can barely recognize it anymore — except when someone does something so stunningly, obviously honorable that we are reawakened to the majesty of old-fashioned virtues like courage and sacrifice.”

Paul Beston, writing on “X-Ray Vision,” in the September issue of the American Spectator

Powder-puff army

“If men and women are interchangeable … then why didn’t [Virginia Sen. George] Allen’s dad have any women play for the Washington Redskins? As the nation’s first female television sportscaster, I had a chance to observe professional football up close. Before putting women in combat, put them in the NFL and let’s watch that experiment from the safety of our armchairs.

“I am no shrinking violet. … I fly planes. I shoot guns and I work out with weights, but I could work out forever and not change the fact that I am no match, physically, for a man.

“Under George W. Bush, women are being illegally assigned to units that are co-located with male combat units. Congress has the responsibility for military oversight, but Sen. Allen has not lifted a finger to stop this. [Virginia Democrat] Jim Webb gave us no reason to believe he would do otherwise. …

“Military women have contributed much to this country, but that doesn’t mean they should be trained with men, used in combat units or co-located with combat units. Any reasonable person knows that by doing this, we put women and men at greater risk.”

Jane Chastain, writing on “Real men don’t use women for cannon fodder,” Thursday in WorldNetDaily at

DVD glut

“Until recently, video releases have followed essentially the same schedule as theatrical openings, just shifted forward three or four months: The studios’ end-of-the-year, Oscar-bait movies generally hit DVD in the spring, the summer blockbusters are pushed to fall, and the prestige indies come out early in the new year. But, lately, a new season has been added to the year in video: the pre-fall-premieres TV-boxed-set stampede.

“TV on DVD has been a growing market for some time, but this month it’s all but forcing theatrical releases off the shelves. As I write, five of Amazon’s top six bestsellers — and about half of the top 100 — are TV boxed sets. For decades, television has been slowly killing Americans’ desire to go out and see movies at the theater; now it’s killing their desire to watch them at home as well.”

Christopher Orr, writing on “Tubular,” Tuesday in the New Republic Online at

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