- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2007

Electric classic

“I have always been a Strat man. …

“My parents bought me my first Stratocaster when I was in junior high school, in about 1961.

“The credit for inventing the solid body electric guitar gets claimed by both Les Paul and Leo Fender. Whoever did it, it happened in the late 1940s or early 1950s. …

“Remarkably, the four main electric guitars in use by about 1956 have stayed, in outer appearance and fundamental design, exactly the same. These are the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster, and the Gibson Les Paul and ES-335. The Stratocaster achieved its pre-eminence in part because of a design feature — three pickups instead of two — and in part because of an accident: players discovered that you could get the selector switch to stick between the click settings for the forward and middle, and the middle and bridge, pickups, creating a different sound, with the two engaged pickups being out-of-phase. A five-position pickup switch is now standard.”

— Lawrence Henry, writing on “Stratocaster,” Friday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Destructive dogma

“It is … important to recognize that many of our current problems arise out of distortions and misuses of otherwise good ideas and things. Multiculturalism takes a generous inclusiveness and makes it into a hard-and-fast principle of social separateness. Postmodernism takes a healthy skepticism and makes it into a dogma of weightless agnosticism. Dogmatic secularism reintroduces the very ideological coerciveness it once claimed to rescue us from, and thereby undermines the genial tolerance that is the chief virtue of a secular state. Openness to immigration and to the peoples of all nations has long been one of the defining features of American life — but not when that openness comes at the expense of the very idea of American citizenship and of a coherent and historically grounded national culture. Even our astonishingly toxic and corrupt popular culture tends to be defended by reference to gold-plated principles: free markets and free expression.”

— Wilfred McClay, writing in a Bradley Symposium essay in the May 15 issue of National Review

‘Warrior myth’

“Last week, Jessica Lynch, America’s media sweetheart in 2003, testified before Henry Waxman’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. … This is the first time the former POW has made a major public appearance in three and a half years, and the media yawned.

“Why did the press give the West Virginia beauty the cold shoulder this time around? She didn’t follow the script that had been carefully crafted of her capture on March 23, 2003, after her Army maintenance company lost its way [in Iraq] and was ambushed by the enemy. … She didn’t toe the radical feminist line. …

“[T]he slight 105-pound maintenance clerk could have played along. … She could have said that she hit one of the enemy combatants with her rifle butt, threw a grenade, some rocks or anything to perpetuate the female warrior myth — but no, to her credit, she was honest. When the fighting started, she ducked down on her knees and prayed. That is the last thing she remembers before waking up in an Iraqi hospital. …

“Currently, the Army is illegally placing female soldiers in units required to be all male, and the excuses being used are disingenuous and insulting.”

— Jane Chastain, writing on “Why the media shunned Jessica Lynch,” Thursday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

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