- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Never live it down

“Having an affair with a married politician, having a baby with him, accepting money from the politician’s supporters — those are just the kind of things that could happen to anybody, really. We all make mistakes.

“But Rielle Hunter, sexily posed on her toddler’s bed, reveals more than just her underwear. It’s hard to argue that the photoshoot is anything but poor judgment on every possible level. It’s a poor parental call: Your daughter will have to burn those toys and the bedspread, but the memories — not to mention the picture — will digitally stalk her forever.

“It’s a poor PR call: The few die-hard romantics who believed in the ‘magnetic force field’ that Ms. Hunter says drew her to John Edwards may be tempted to reconsider, given this fresh evidence of general foolhardiness.

“And it’s just a poor call overall: Kermit, maybe. Barney — well, it’s a huge stretch. But no one will ever make Dora the Explorer sexy.”

KJ Dell’Antonia, writing on “Rielle Hunter poses for GQ” at the Slate blog DoubleX on March 15

Never see again

“The fact that [‘Song of the South’ actor] James Baskett would have been barred from attending the Atlanta premiere had he (or any of the black cast) chosen to attend cancels out any sympathies one might have for the filmmakers’ hurt feelings, but the artifact they created is fascinating. Everybody in the movie tiptoes around the Dumbo in the room, but — unlike in ‘Princess and the Frog’ — the uneasy truce they negotiated gives the film its power, and gives [Disney head] Bob Iger his reasons to keep you from seeing it. …

“No studio product made in the 1940s with any black character could shake the culture that contained it. ‘Song of the South’ was caught between one tide going out and another one coming in, and was sucked into oblivion as a result. …

“We can’t debate the post-racial nuances of Baskett’s performance down in the comments section because we aren’t allowed to see it. ‘Princess and the Frog’ tries to transcend this issue by turning the heroine Green, the hero mocha and the voiceover Oprah. ‘Song of the South,’ mired in its own briar patch of history, racism and conveniently adopted ‘ethics and integrity’ has no such easy way out. Dreams don’t always come true, even in a Disney cartoon.”

Erik Nelson, writing on “The perfect double bill: ‘Princess and the Frog’ and ‘Song of the South,’ ” on March 16 at Salon’s blog, the Film Salon

Never side with ‘them’

“Not surprisingly, the right-wing, anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund is perhaps the primary defender of First Amendment rights in cases involving the anti-gay speech and belief of conservative Christians.

“ADF receives (and perhaps desires) little assistance from the ACLU, an increasingly unreliable defender of speech and belief that conflict with its gay rights agenda: while the ACLU aggressively defended the rights of students to wear T-shirts to school celebrating gay rights, for example, it stayed out of an important federal case, Harper v Poway, involving a Christian student punished for wearing an anti-gay t-shirt, even when the case reached the Supreme Court.

“National and state spokespeople for the ACLU, once a staunch defender of freedom of conscience, have pointedly ignored an invitation to comment on Julea Ward’s federal case, although they might simply have pointed out that liberty cannot be secured for some without securing it for all.”

Wendy Kaminer, writing on “Gay Rights and Anti-Gay Liberties,” on March 11 at the Atlantic

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