- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Offensive ‘art’

“Don Imus is a gifted entertainer who has been practicing his art — offensive humor — for decades. …

“Part of what makes Imus funny in the context of his show is the unscripted nature of the interchanges between him and his claque. It takes a lot of courage and skill and a little luck to pull off that kind of routine day after day for years without crashing. Unfortunately, he ran out of luck [when he insulted the Rutgers University women’s basketball team]. …

“What Imus should have done that day was to call the women and arrange for transportation for them to come and meet with them for a private apology. … He should not have made any public apology, but handled whatever criticism came with humor. He should have made fun of the critics and of himself.”

— Yale Kramer, writing on “The Race Police or Imus: Which Is Worse?” Tuesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Modern meaning

” ‘Sorry I was on my cell phone,’ the cashier said. ‘My friend goes to Virginia Tech, and I can’t reach her.’ …

“I hadn’t been near a television; my children were out of school early for testing, and evidently the biggest mass shooting in modern American history had happened while I waited in the car line.

” ‘They catch the shooter?’ another customer asked, causing me to realize this was no run-of-the-mill small talk. …

“I went home to the comfort of my television, but found the experience a little like calling the police on a rotary phone — hopelessly slow and frustratingly inexact. Death totals varied, eyewitnesses struggled to understand the chaos, school officials sent out uninformative statements. …

“Of course, this being 2007, I didn’t have to use a remote control to get my information. Blogs had a surfeit of details … which I waded through like it was my moral duty as a citizen. … By midnight, Drudge had 15 red hyperlinks above the headline. … I clicked on each one, participating in the modern American’s search for understanding — not on my knees in prayer, but on high-speed wireless in a Technorati search.

“The late Neil Postman criticized this misplaced value on information: … ‘The computer and its information cannot answer any of the fundamental questions we need to address to make our lives more meaningful and humane. The computer cannot provide an organizing moral framework.’ ”

— Nancy French, writing on “The Search for Good News,” Tuesday in National Review Online at Pwww.nationalreview.com

Go down, who?

“The worst moment was a year and a half ago. I have a class on song lyrics, and I was presenting the Negro spiritual ‘Go Down, Moses.’ I was talking about how it’s a coded message of liberation, a way for slaves to make political statements without being recognized. I suddenly realized to my absolute horror that so many of these students had no idea who Moses was.

“In this class of 30, not one white person, only African-Americans, understood the Biblical references. The only people I’m getting at my school [Philadelphia’s University of the Arts] who recognize the Bible are African-Americans. And the lower the social class of the white person, the more likely they are to recognize the Bible. Lots of these white students, if they go to church, it’s all feel-good social activism. There’s no preaching anymore. The Bible is one of the West’s foundational texts, and they don’t know it anymore.”

— Camille Paglia, quoted by Rod Dreher in BeliefNet.com

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