- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Uneducated?

“I’m not sure what substantive argument [Sarah] Palin’s hand-notes are supposed to underline, and I suspect it’s not an argument so much as an attitude. The attitude would be that writing on your hand is dumb and low-class. On the left, where this opinion of Palin already prevails, anything which reinforces it will be picked up and cheerfully passed around. And, to the extent that anyone not on the left notices this giddy snobbery, it will play to Palin’s strengths.

“For example, one might say: ‘Unlike the guy who needs a three thousand dollar teleprompter to get out of bed in the morning, Palin speaks from concise notes like everybody else. And, like other busy moms, she sometimes writes notes on her hand.’ The comeback is so obvious that, again, I really can’t figure out why Palin’s detractors are bringing this up at all.”

Stephen Spruiell, writing on “Hand-Gate,” on Feb. 7 at the National Review blog The Corner

Educated?

“[Alice] Waters, described by her biographer, Thomas McNamee, as ‘arguably the most famous restaurateur in the United States,’ is, of course, the founder of Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, an eatery where the right-on, ‘yes we can,’ ACORN-loving, public-option-supporting man or woman of the people can tuck into a nice table dhote menu of scallops, guinea hen, and tarte tatin for a modest 95 clams — wine, tax, and oppressively sanctimonious and relentlessly conversation-busting service not included. …

“It was at Chez Panisse that Waters worked out her new American gastronomic credo, which is built on the concept of using ingredients that are ‘fresh, local, seasonal, and where possible organic.’ Fair enough, and perfectly delicious, but the scope of her operation — has widened so far beyond the simple cooking and serving of food that it can hardly be quantified.

“As McNamee rightly observes, Chez Panisse ‘is a much larger enterprise than a restaurant. It is a standard-bearer for a system of moral values. It is the leader of a style of cooking, of a social movement, and of a comprehensive philosophy of doing good and living well.’

“This notion — that it is agreeably possible to do good (school gardens!) and live well (guinea hens!) — bears the hallmark of contemporary progressivism, a kind of win-win, ‘let them eat tarte tatin’ approach to the world and one’s place in it that is prompting an improbable alliance of school reformers, volunteers, movie stars, politicians’ wives, and agricultural concerns (the California Fertilizer Foundation is a big friend of school gardens) to insert its values into the schools.”

Caitlin Flanagan, writing on “Cultivating Failure,” in the January-February issue of The Atlantic

White education?

“Over the decades, Hollywood has made dozens of facile dramas, many of them set at inner-city schools, in which African-Americans are lifted up through the efforts of saintly white characters. But Precious isnt one of those films. There are virtually no white characters in the movie; the stray ones who appear dont carry any noble, righteous weight.

“Yet having established the patronizing genre/category he thinks that Precious belongs in, [Ishmael] Reed writes that white critics ‘maintain that the movie is worthwhile because, through the efforts of a teacher, this girl begins her first awkward efforts at writing.’ He then adds, ‘Redemption through learning the ways of white culture is an old Hollywood theme.’

“It seriously made my jaw drop to see a scholar of Ishmael Reeds stature claim, in the middle of the New York Times, that an abused, illiterate black teenager struggling to learn how to read and write is an instance of someone ‘learning the ways of white culture.’ Since when did literacy become a conspiracy of ‘white’ indoctrinization? Its enough to make you wonder if the victimization stereotypes that Reed sees in this movie are really in the eye of the beholder.”

Owen Glieberman, writing on “The Attacks on ‘Precious’ Are Starting to Say More about the Attackers,” on Feb. 8 at Entertainment Weekly

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