- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 1, 2007

Power dance

“[Zimbabwean President] Robert Mugabe is the last surviving participant in what Lord Byron (who said he longed to see it) called Africa’s ‘first dance of freedom.’ Actually, Byron would have been more prophetic to call it ‘Africa’s first dance of power.’ … In hindsight, it appears that almost all African anti-colonial political leaders were engaged not so much upon a freedom struggle as on a power struggle.

“Mugabe … has done incalculable damage to his country; he is said to have produced the most rapid and severe contraction of any economy in modern history. …

“The economic disaster over which Mugabe has presided, turning a breadbasket into a basketcase, is not unique however. Radical rhetoric was used from the very first — in Ghana, for example, the sub-Saharan African country that has been independent the longest — as a cover for merciless and destructive looting by political elites and their military successors.”

— Anthony Daniels, writing on “A Tyrant in Zimbabwe,” in the April 16 issue of the National Review

Angry women

“With all of the anonymous insults being thrown around on the Internet these days, do you ever wonder about the sex of the poster? Do you think it’s mainly men who are the supposed angrier sex so the insults must be coming from them? Think again. Research from a British study of 22,000 people over 50 years shows that women are the angrier sex. …

“The researchers speculate that women’s anger is prompted by feelings of powerlessness caused by ‘entrenched sexism in modern society.’ As opposed to what, less sexism in ancient society? When sexism was more prevalent, women were even more ‘ladylike.’ Today’s women are encouraged to express anger in our ‘you go, girl’ culture but instead of using anger constructively, women continue to take the mean-girl routes, talking behind people’s backs, avoiding confrontation and personal responsibility for their anger by being anonymous and/or passive aggressive in their approach. What this leads to is probably … more anger.”

— Forensic psychologist Helen Smith, writing on “Women, Anger and the Web,” Thursday at drhelen.blogspot.com

French Rock

“Odd couples do not get much odder than Eric Rohmer and Chris Rock, but the latter’s new film, ‘I Think I Love My Wife,’ is based on one of the classic ‘Six Moral Tales’ by the French genius and master of cinematic subtlety, ‘L’amour l’apres midi’ (released in America as ‘Chloe in the Afternoon’) of 1972. Whatever else you may say about Chris Rock, he’s not exactly subtle. Moreover, he’s breaking the general rule, that remakes are a bad idea, as well as the special, supplemental rule that Hollywood remakes of French classics are a very bad idea. Yet Mr. Rock’s translation of Mr. Rohmer’s picture into an American idiom is so different from the original that it takes on an independent existence. We never feel as if he is trying and failing to make a French film. …

“By making [his character] Richard into such an unnaturally restrained and even uxorious husband, [Mr. Rock] also pushes him to the borders of unbelievability, introducing a note of incoherence into what might otherwise have been a funny but at the same time serious meditation on love and marriage. Even as it is, you can see in this movie the germ of one that, although it is unimaginable as coming from its ultimate progenitor, the great Eric Rohmer, would not disgrace him either.”

— James Bowman, writing on “I Think I Love My Wife,” Friday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

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