- The Washington Times - Friday, February 19, 2010

Avoiding Baldwin

“[Alec Baldwin’s] career hasn’t been this hot since he came off The Hunt for Red October and was chasing Kim Basinger in the tabloids. He costarred in ‘It’s Complicated’ which made a bunch of money, he keeps winning awards for Emmy bait ‘30 Rock’ which has a solid audience and is a hit with the smart set, and he is about to co-host the Oscars next month. Busy guy!

“But in the midst of this he was taken to the hospital after threatening his teenage daughter, Ireland, that he was going to kill himself after they got into a fight. Then, on the way home from the hospital he attacked a photographer. All this pales in comparison, however to the infamous voicemail tirade he left his daughter three years ago calling her a ‘piggie’ and other horrible names. …

“Why doesn’t Hollywood and the scolding celebrity industrial complex care that much that he yells at his daughter and manipulates her with death threats? Maybe it’s because they like his work and he’s a liberal. After all, the film-making establishment and Oscar voters forgave Roman Polanski for raping a girl in the ‘70s because he’s such a ‘genius,’ why not overlook the fact that Alec Baldwin likes to cuss out his kid?”

- Brian Moylan, writing on “The Trouble with Alec Baldwin,” on Feb. 17 at the Gawker blog the Defamer

Avoiding Rand

“[Ayn] Rand frames even human relations in terms of trade (our concern for loved ones is based on the positive things they bring to our lives) and offered at best lukewarm support for charitable aid. When charity is mentioned in Rand’s fiction, it is nearly always in a negative context. In Atlas Shrugged, a club providing shelter to needy young women is ridiculed for offering help to alcoholics, drug users, and unwed mothers-to-be.

“Family fares even worse in Rand’s universe. In her 1964 Playboy interview Rand flatly declared that it was ‘immoral’ to place family ties and friendship above productive work; in her fiction, family life is depicted as a stifling swamp.

“In pure form, Rand’s philosophy would work very well if human beings were never helpless and dependent on others through no fault of their own. Unsurprisingly, many people become infatuated with her philosophy as teenagers only to leave it behind when concerns of family, children, and aging make that fantasy seem more and more implausible. For some, Rand becomes a conduit to more sensible small-government philosophies.”

- Cathy Young, writing on “A Rand Revival,” on Feb. 11 at Reason

Avoiding Muhammad

“Now there’s the case of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Last month, The New York Post reported that museum officials seem to have a bad case of ‘jihad jitters.’ The museum, the Post revealed, has ‘quietly pulled images of Mohammed from its Islamic collection and may not include them in a renovated exhibition area slated to open in 2011.’ Why? Museum spokesmen said that the ‘controversial images’ were ‘objected to by conservative Muslims who say their religion forbids images of their holy founder.’

” ‘Controversial images’? What, in the context of a Western museum of art, is ‘controversial’ about artworks that happen to include representations of a medieval religious figure? Granted, there may be prudish types who object to the quantity of female flesh on display in ‘Dejeuner sur l’herbe’ or the ‘Venus of Urbino,’ not to mention a thousand other works. What do you suppose the Met is going to do about the offense they might give? Maybe atheists object to all those depictions of Jesus Christ and his mother that festoon the walls of certain galleries in the Met. How is the Met going to respond to those ‘controversial images’? …

“The really scary thing is that the blackmail was performed without threats or malicious innuendo. There were no offers that the Met couldn’t refuse. They themselves supplied the entire cycle: the intimidation as well as the capitulation. If this is blackmail, then the Met is the culprit as well as the victim.”

- from “Dhimmitude at the Met,” in the February issue of the New Criterion

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