- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Flashing fashion

“I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ve seen too much of the fairer sex. For me, the final straw came last month when Britney Spears jauntily revealed her … nether regions to waiting photographers. … Britney’s stunt made her the Internet smash of the season. But in providing America’s workers with this cubicle distraction, Britney was doing a lot more than making her own privates public.

“In fact, Britney was following to its logical end what has become the first rule of contemporary American girlhood: To show that you are liberated, take it off. … Courtney Love, Lindsay Lohan and Tara Reid have also staged their own wardrobe malfunctions. But flashing is hardly limited to celebrities. The girls-next-door who migrate to Florida during spring break happily lift their blouses and snap their thongs for the producers of ‘Girls Gone Wild,’ who sell their DVDs to an eager public. …

“It seems that men, despite their reputation as braggarts, actually don’t find self-exposure all that appealing. Where are the male counterparts to Britney Spears and ‘Girls Gone Wild’? …

“Why men have become more discreet than women … is one of those cultural mysteries that is yet to be solved.”

— Kay S. Hymowitz, writing on “Scenes From the Exhibitionists,” Friday in the Wall Street Journal

Devilish ‘might’

“Noticing the imperfection of our societies, we may be tempted into thinking that the problem is with the limiting structures we have inherited. If only we could dispense with them … how much better things might be.

“What a cunning, devilish word, ‘might.’ … Scrap our current political accommodations and things might be better. Then again, they might be a whole lot worse. … ‘Man was born free,’ [Jean-Jacques Rousseau] declaimed, ‘but is everywhere in chains’: two startling untruths in a single famous utterance. Rousseau was keen on ‘forcing men to be free,’ but we had to wait until his followers Robespierre and Saint-Just to discover that freedom in this sense is often indistinguishable from what Robespierre chillingly called ‘virtue and its emanation, terror.’

“Something similar can be said about … Karl Marx. How much misery have his theories underwritten, promising paradise but delivering tyranny, oppression, poverty and death?”

— Roger Kimball, writing on “Introduction: utopia vs. nationhood,” in the January issue of the New Criterion

Law and disorder

“You know, I not only play a prosecutor on TV, I used to actually be one. So when I see something like the farce that’s playing out in North Carolina it makes my blood boil.

“Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, who brought the Duke lacrosse players rape case, has violated just about every rule in the prosecutor’s book. …

“In the North Carolina case, 88 Duke professors (civil libertarians, I’m sure), praised the DA, and many in the black community pressured him as he rushed to judgment against these accused students in the midst of his re-election campaign. And for the media, the story had everything — sex, rich vs. poor, the racial element — everything but proof of guilt.

“These accused young men are forever tarnished, but at least they can afford to defend themselves. What about the less fortunate who cannot? There is a lot at stake when we go to the polls to vote for a local prosecutor. We should never forget that. They, like judges … sometime have to stand against the howling mob, not become a part of it.”

— Fred Thompson, star of NBC-TV’s “Law & Order,” in an ABC Radio commentary Friday

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