- - Thursday, January 6, 2011

Downhill career

“First things first: We love Dan Aykroyd. ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ‘The Blues Brothers,’ ‘Trading Places,’ ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Spies Like Us,’ ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’ … the man’s been involved with many undisputed classics … he was even Oscar-nominated for ‘Driving Miss Daisy’! But it seems like over the last 20-plus years, as Aykroyd’s waistline has expanded, so has his penchant for being unbearably annoying. …

“Sometime around ‘Caddyshack II,’ Aykroyd began a long, slow decline into phoning in most of his performances while simultaneously phoning for extra-large pizzas. The result? He won’t show his face on screen these days, choosing instead to voice the world’s lamest talking bear.”

Jesse Thompson and Alex Kropinak, writing on “The Dan Aykroyd Suckiness Scale,” on Dec. 17 at Maxim

Next move

“In demanding that the military stop discharging openly homosexual personnel, liberals pretended that ‘all they wanted’ was to remove a punitive and arbitrary policy and take private sexuality off the table, relegating it to the secret sphere of intimate relations. That was the pretense entailed in the 2003 Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas, which ruled that states cannot prohibit ‘private, consensual, sexual or intimate conduct that does not involve minors or coercion.’

“The privacy claim was a lie, and the liars knew it. Given how intrusive our government is in enforcing egalitarianism and suppressing free association, once you remove any governmental disapproval of an action, you don’t simply make it neutral; you render it protected. You stoke up the creaky machinery of our anti-discrimination bureaucracy to ensure that private individuals who disapprove of it learn to smile and shut their mouths.

“By removing laws against sodomy, the Supreme Court was saying, in essence, that committing sodomy is exactly like being black — and that any laws making distinctions … will sooner or later be ruled unconstitutional (like Massachusetts’s old marriage laws). Even worse, any private actions based on such arbitrary standards will be treated as harshly as racial discrimination.”

John Zmirak, writing on “Frog-Marching Us Into Sodom,” on Jan. 5 at Inside Catholic

Bookstore destruction

“[N]ow ugly rumors are flying that [Borders’] management is telling people to start looking for other jobs. … Personally I hope they’re wrong, too; like most writers, I like bookshops. I suspect most of us had our destiny shaped while we were sandwiched behind the bookshelves at our local dealer.

“On the other hand, like most of the writers I know, I rarely go into bookshops anymore. Instead, the UPS truck stops at our house at least once a week, thanks to Prime, and more and more, I order Kindle books straight from my iPad. I know that I am missing something — the serendipity of browsing through the bookshelves — which I have never replaced at Amazon; much as I love the convenience of online shopping, I never find anything that I am not looking for. …

“But I’ll go by a combination of revealed preference and introspection: the world may be better off without Borders, even though I (and everyone else who has stopped shopping there) likes the idea of its existence. …

“Joseph Schumpeter coined the phrase “creative destruction” to describe the process of churn whereby old companies, technologies, and industries die, to be replaced by new ones. This process has brought us today’s prosperity, and is a massive force for good in human history. But it is not without its sadness. You don’t have to want to stop the process, to mourn for the real losses it entails.”

Megan McArdle, writing on “Bye, Bye, Borders?” on Jan. 5 at the Atlantic

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