- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2008

Instant hate

Sarah Palin works fast. She instantly became the object of the kind of partisan hatred that most politicians can raise only after prosecuting an unpopular war and lying about their misconduct in office (Nixon), after making sanctimonious dishonesty an art form and getting caught in flagrante with an intern (Clinton), and after winning a disputed election and botching a foreign occupation (Bush).

“Palin-hatred is an artifact of who she is rather than anything she´s done. Joe Biden famously rose from the working class to the U.S. Senate. Palin became governor of Alaska, but never left the working class— with her old-fashioned beehive hairdo and librarian eyeglasses, with a husband who is a commercial fisherman and works on a North Shore oil field, and with her hobbies of fishing and hunting.

“As such, she´s the object of the cultural disdain of a Left that loves the working class in theory, but is mystified or offended by its lifestyle and conservative values in reality. If there´s ever been an exemplar of the rural America that, in Barack Obama´s telling, ‘bitterly’ clings to its guns and religion, it´s Sarah Palin.

“It´s her misfortune to be a pioneer with the wrong ideology. So much bile was directed at Clarence Thomas because he was the “wrong” kind of black man. Pro-life, pro-gun and a down-the-line, if populist, conservative, Palin is a traitor to her gender and thus encounters the sort of fury always directed at apostates.

— Rich Lowry, writing on “Hating Sarah” on Sept. 2 at National Review

Ridiculous

“If you want to critique, say, the history of science fiction, and choose to interview only a bunch of middle-aged ‘Star Wars’ geeks who spend all their money on action figures, well … the problem should be fairly obvious. You´re not actually criticizing science fiction, … you´re criticizing immaturity and arrested development.

“If [Bill] Maher really wanted to construct a sincere critique of religious belief, you´d think he would seek out the thoughts of serious theologians, devoted Christian missionaries, seminary students, pastors, or some of the Christian writers who inspire the respect of even those readers who don´t share their faith.

“If he wants to highlight his own insecurities, he´ll set himself up against straw men and idiots and people ill-equipped to talk about their faith. His assault on religion will be, in fact, an assault on typical failings in human nature, not an evisceration of faith itself. It sounds like this may be Maher´s tactic. If it isn´t, let me know.

“Personally, I got sick of Maher´s sneering sanctimony years ago, and I´m certainly not going to give up 10 of my dollars for the privilege of being ridiculed. Unless, of course, he´s taken a startling turn and become a humble, thoughtful host who treats his interviewees with respect and grace.”

— Jeffrey Overstreet, writing on “Bill Maher wants you … to pay good money so he can mock your faith” on Aug. 24 at his blog Looking Closer

Conversion tale

“But after his spiritual transformation, [‘Showgirls’ screenwriter Joe Eszterhas] said, he had had enough of death, murder, blood, and chaos.

“‘Frankly my life changed from the moment God entered my heart. I’m not interested in the darkness anymore,’ he said. ‘I’ve got four gorgeous boys, a wife I adore; I love being alive, and I love and enjoy every moment of my life. My view has brightened and I don’t want to go back into that dark place.’ …

“His new book [‘Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith’] is evidence of Mr. Eszterhas’ victory over writer’s block, something that struck him after going sober. It was a difficult adjustment to write for the first time in his life without sipping wine or cognac. But he was compelled to write ‘Crossbearer’ as ‘a thank you to God’ and ‘to tell the world what he has done for me.’ ”

— David Yonke, writing on ” ‘Basic Instinct’ author writes book about faith” on Aug. 23 in the Toledo Blade

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