- The Washington Times - Monday, July 30, 2007

Rich and rude

“We are living in the second great Gilded Age, a time of startling personal wealth. In the West, the mansion after mansion with broad and rolling grounds; in the East, the apartments with foyers in which bowling teams could play. …

“Cellphones are wonderful, but they empower the obnoxious and amplify the ignorant. Once they kept their thoughts to themselves. They had no choice. …

“BlackBerrys empower the obsessed. We wouldn’t have them if the economy weren’t high and we weren’t pretty well off. …

“It is possible that we are on the cellphone because we are lonely and hunger for connection, even of the shallowest kind; that we BlackBerry because we hope for a sense of control in a chaotic world …

“It’s also possible we have grown more boorish. … Many things thrive in the age of everything, including bad manners.”

Peggy Noonan, writing on “Rich Man, Boor Man,” on Friday in OpinionJournal.com

Sneer and smear

“The [Wall Street Journal] is still agitating for open borders. … George Melloan is worried that — to paraphrase the country song — we’ve picked a fine time to crack down for real, with poor hungry diners and the crops in the fields. …

“[Mr. Melloan writes:] ‘The well-manicured lawns in my home town would soon become weed gardens in the absence of the Mexicans who man landscape services. … Republicans … are frozen in the headlights of the anti-immigrant campaigns being conducted by nativists and vigilantes in their home states. Hate and emotion do not produce good laws.’

“I am really tired of the sneering and smearing from these people. They refuse to engage border security arguments and instead escape to a fantasy world in which they’re the wise solons wearily surveying us grunting, easily led morons who, out of base passions, want to interfere with the natural order of things.”

Blogger “SeeDubya,” writing on “Is it really worth pointing out that the WSJ is still touting open borders and smearing opponents?” Thursday at JunkyardBlog.net

News blues

“The American press has the blues. Too many authorities have assured it that its days are numbered, too many good newspapers are in ruins. It has lost too much public respect. … It is abused relentlessly on talk radio and in Internet blogs. …

“Surveys showing that more and more young people get their news from television and computers breed a melancholy sense that the press is yesteryear’s thing, a horse-drawn buggy on an eight-lane interstate.

“Then there are the embarrassments: hoaxers like Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass turn journalism into farce … What became of heroes? Instead of heroes, today’s table talk is about journalistic frauds and a Washington press too dim to stay out of a three-card-monte game.”

Russell Baker, writing on “Goodbye to Newspapers?” in the Aug. 16 issue of the New York Review of Books

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