- The Washington Times - Monday, January 29, 2007

Dark childhood

“Dakota Fanning has been making dark and creepy movies for years. Over her seven-year career, she has become a small, blond embodiment of America’s fond hope that scarred children can be restored to childish innocence. …

“From the start, Fanning has played the preternaturally mature child who could toe the cold waters of trauma but just as swiftly retreat to the broad sands of innocence — with a shiver, perhaps, but nothing more enduring than that. In films like ‘The War of the Worlds,’ ‘Hide and Seek,’ and ‘Man on Fire,’ she became an emblem of button-cute purity threatened — but not overcome — by the ordeals and evil that are, more properly, part of the adult world. They are roles that enact our voyeuristic curiosity about how far the boundaries of innocence can be extended.”

— Meghan O’Rourke, writing on “All Shook Up Over ‘Hounddog,’ ” Wednesday in Slate at www.slate.com

Elite ban

“The year was 1917. At the beginning of the spring semester, the Harvard Crimson reported that 1,000 undergraduates were ready to enlist in the Reserve Officers’ Training Program (ROTC), including students from the law school, from other graduate schools, and even members of the faculty. The recent crisis in international affairs had created a need for qualified military leaders, and the editorial hailed the school’s vigorous response to it: ‘That Harvard is the first University to adopt an intensive system of training officers should not be a matter of pride, but rather a basis for the hope that other colleges will establish the same system, and that the foundations of a great citizen army will be laid among our young men.’

“Ninety years later, Harvard leads in the opposite direction. … There are currently ROTC programs at hundreds of American colleges, but the faculties of Harvard, Columbia, Brown, Yale, Dartmouth and Stanford continue their ban on campus military training, a deficiency all the more striking in schools that offer a superabundance of every other type of activity. …

“When the United States ended its draft in 1973, it turned the protection of the country and its vital interests over to a force of volunteers. At that point, the word ought to have issued from the academic community that democracy will henceforth depend on the readiness of the best and the brightest to volunteer for duty. Instead, faculties shaped by the antiwar movement drove ROTC and its recruiters from the campuses.”

— Ruth R. Wisse, writing on “Gliberalism,” Sunday in Opinion Journal at www.opinion journal.com


“What is a patriotic terrorist?

“It is an American who claims to love his or her country while enjoying the enemy’s success against said country. It is a person who gets deeply offended if you question their patriotism, while also appearing to share the same ideals of the more spirited folk who like to blow up innocent people.

“Patriotic terrorists love America with so much intensity that it appears to the untrained eye that they hate it. … Patriotic terrorists love America so much that they realize it needs an intervention — and real terror is the only way to enable that intervention. In fact, to keep a mammoth, arrogant superpower like America in check, terrorism is the only thing we’ve got. Noam Chomsky knew this from the start, making him a patriotic terrorist of the highest order.”

— Greg Gutfeld, writing on “New Trend On The Rise: The Patriotic Terrorist,” Thursday at www.huffingtonpost.com

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