- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Running the island

“In the previous column we discussed the tragic suicide of Phoebe Prince in South Hadley, Massachusetts. For months, Phoebe was bullied, threatened, and humiliated by a group of high schoolers. To escape her tormenters, she hanged herself.

“The story is eerily reminiscent of William Goldings classic novel ‘Lord of the Flies.’ In it, a group of well-educated British boys marooned on an island descend into unspeakable savagery. Its a near-perfect, fictional tale of the reality of what we Christians call original sin — the fallenness of human nature.

“But there is one major difference between the South Hadley tragedy and Lord of the Flies. In the novel the young boys descend into savagery in the absence of adults on the island. But in South Hadley, there were adults who knew what was going on. They just didnt act. While the prosecutor didnt charge school authorities with a crime, she did call their inaction ‘troublesome.’ …

“The Christian worldview teaches us exactly what to expect when the kids are allowed to ‘run the island,’ so to speak. We can expect not some youthful, happy utopia. No, we can expect a literal hell on earth.”

Charles Colson, writing on “Where are the Adults,” on April 12 at Catholic Exchange

Play shuts down

“Game does not disappear because of over-hunting, but because of destruction of habitat. It takes 100 square miles to support a grizzly bear and hundreds of acres to support a herd of deer. In the theatre, the habitat in which the artist must flourish is the audience.

“In 1967, when I was at acting school in New York, there were 72 new Broadway plays produced. In 2009, there were 43, of which half were revivals. Why the diminution? The habitat has disappeared — the audience, which is to say, the middle class, is gone. They were the arbiters of American theatre, for American theatre would reach the hinterlands only via Broadway, and the Broadway play would fail or succeed upon its ability to appeal to the middle class. …

“This Broadway audience — which supported the plays of Eugene O’Neill, Clifford Odets, William Saroyan, Thornton Wilder, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams — was educated (or, in any case, literate), middle-class and largely Jewish. They enjoyed discussion and those plays that fostered discussion, for most in their community saw the plays.

“No more. Today’s Broadway audience is predominantly tourists and wealthy vacationers who, in the main, are the only ones who can afford life in New York. These may be tourists full stop, or that genus the rural Vermonters of my youth referred to as “the year-round summer people” — that is to say, those who cannot fully participate in the community, as they need not rely upon one another.”

David Mamet, writing on “David Mamet and the battle for Broadway,” on April 11 at the Guardian

Sarah gap

“Sarah Palin may have no official title, the left calling her a ‘quitter,’ but she continues to rise in power, with even John McCain calling out to his former running mate to save him in Arizona. It must irk the Republican elite to no end. …

“Lefties get infuriated when I parse the traditional and new media spin against Sarah Palin. I can hear the caterwauling already, but don’t care much about it. … The fact remains that there is a ‘Hillary hole,’ with women wanting their turn, while people hunger for something radically different, which is currently being filled by the Tea Party, a star named Sarah and her fans.

“Not surprisingly, as poll after poll on her rolls out, the narrative on Sarah Palin continues to be filled out unfairly. I know, you’re shocked. But love her or hate her, whether she runs in 2012 or not, when you look at the left, the reality is there’s no anti-Palin progressive who matches what Palin’s got. …

“Meanwhile, whether Sarah Palin runs in 2012 or not, she’s making money while running from state to state campaigning for Republicans and Tea Party people. … Mrs. Palin’s politics aren’t for me, and though I pine to see hot headliners from the left, instead we get the likes of Claire McCaskill, Kathleen Sebelius and other Obama blue dog duds, with no women of any wattage in sight.”

Taylor Marsh, writing on “Where’s the Left’s Sarah Palin?” on April 9 at the Huffington Post

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