- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Perfect horror

“The horror, the horror. If you believe many of this year’s movies, tabloids and blogs, one of the most terrifying sights is an adult female body that is (gasp) slightly imperfect. If you really want to scare the 15-year-olds to whom pop culture caters, forget chainsaws and torture devices — just zoom in on wrinkles, sags or cellulite. …

“Recent tabloids, TV shows and Internet sites raked Tyra Banks and Britney Spears over the coals for gaining weight. Endless unflattering photos of their non-washboard midriffs were displayed and discussed. The fact that Banks was at most a size 12, and that Spears has had two children, didn’t matter: These women didn’t maintain their veneer of perfection. They had failed.

“A few weeks ago, the nitpickers hit a new low: They targeted Jennifer Love Hewitt, zeroing in on bumps on her bikini-clad bottom and blaring, ‘We know what you ate last summer.’ ”

Johanna Schneller, writing on “A Culture Saturated in Sexism,” Dec. 15 in the Toronto Globe and Mail

Jailing innocents

“In an attempt to protect high-profile Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents who have had fatwas issued against them — Taslima Nasreen or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, for example — the ‘good’ people have been forced to jail them, not their attackers. Today, Nasreen says she is a ‘virtual prisoner’ in Delhi where, for her own safety, the Indian government has stashed her after a mob of fanatic Islamists tried to kill her. When Hirsi Ali was similarly threatened, the Dutch government was forced to essentially ‘jail’ Hirsi Ali for her own good.

“Where will this end? With all the ‘moderate’ and dissident Muslims and ex-Muslims in jail? How big will this jail be? How much will it cost? Can the world’s governments afford this? How many people will have to be jailed before the West really understands that a new kind of war has been declared against us — one that we may have to fight in ways other than by jailing innocent civilians.”

Phyllis Chesler, writing on “Jailing the Intended Victims of Honor Killings For Their Own Good,” Wednesday at PajamasMedia.com

Literate warrior

“In ‘Patton,’ the 1970 film, one of the intriguing traits of the general as played by George C. Scott unfolds … on a quiet grassy lane in the hills of Tunisia. On a somber afternoon during the North Africa campaign, Patton directs his jeep onto a knoll dotted with ruins, then steps down to resurrect an ancient scene to Omar Bradley (played by Karl Malden) as trumpets echo in the distance.

“ ’It was here,’ Patton says. ‘The battlefield was here.’ He means the Battle of Zama, where in 202 B.C. Roman legions under Scipio routed Hannibal’s Carthaginians and ended the Second Punic War. …

“The scene borders on kitsch, but Patton’s historical sense and literary voice save it. They signify, too, a larger point. In the midst of a major military action, Patton still feels the presence of the past and resorts to poetry to express it. For him, the finer arts complement the martial arts, the general and the humanist are one.”

Mark Bauerlein, writing on “The Write Stuff,” in the Dec. 24 issue of the Weekly Standard

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