Thank goodness for the Washington Post. If not for the paper’s Dec. 22 Health & Science section, readers might not know about the myriad “Christmas Perils” they face this time of year. But with its big, color-illustrated article, they’ll be sure to only kiss under the mistletoe, not eat it.
The Post’s Rachel Saslow set up the piece, writing, “Most people picture an idyllic Christmas morning scene: sipping eggnog around the decorated tree while opening gifts from Ma and Pa.” But potential tragedies – severed digits, unpleasant gastro-intestinal episodes, even love handles – lurk on the periphery of this domestic portrait. In Saslow’s words, “Not to be too bah humbug about it, but what if you get sick from that eggnog?”
Indeed. The Post listed several holiday hazards, gave stats about the risks, and ways to prevent them. In the case of that suspect eggnog, the Post admitted, “There are no specific eggnog-related data, but the CDC estimates that one in 50 consumers could be exposed to a contaminated egg each year.” But if you cook the egg, no harm no fowl. So gently heat your eggnog to 160F. And “If you're baking cookies, don't lick the spoon if there are eggs in your batter.”
Got an idealized notion of Christmas? A cherished memory, or a favorite carol or story? The simple smell of pine needles in your living room? Do you insist on celebrating the birth of the savior?
If so, you’re at war, like it or not.
The main war on Christmas – we’ll call it the conventional war – has been well-documented, and it goes on, with victories and defeats for both sides. In Loudoun County, Va. on Dec. 1, the Board of Supervisors reversed a ban on religious holiday displays on the courthouse lawn. (The one supervisor who voted “no” said, “I am concerned that this motion would turn the courthouse grounds into a public circus.”) Meanwhile, in Arizona, public school children remain unable to use Christmas themes when decorating ornaments for the Capitol Christmas tree.
There is plenty to report from the conventional front. But there are other fronts. There is the sexualization of the holiday, either in service to commercialism or out of the lefty arts community’s desire to be “transgressive” (read, vile and offensive). And there are the attempts squash the mysteries and magic that accompany even a traditional secular Christmas.
So from “living” lingerie mannequins to Frosty’s “porn collection,” and from the lies you tell about Santa to our president’s “non-religious” observance, here are some dispatches from the war on Christmas, 2009.
What’s that hissing sound? Al Gore’s fuse? Steam coming from Barbara Boxer’s ears?
Probably, but mostly, it’s the sound of gas escaping the climate change balloondoggle. Assuredly, there’s no shortage of UN envirocrats ready and willing to plug the holes. And our president will soon lend his special hot air to keep it hovering over Copenhagen.
But it’s starting to look like a matter of time before, like the recent “Balloon Boy” hoax, the airship flutters to the ground and panicky rescuers find there’s nobody in it. (Ha ha! It was all a stunt to get on the new reality show, “Groupthink,” in which a bunch of climate scientists spend the winter in a freezing apartment trying to convince the audience the ice in the bathtub is .2 mm thinner than it was last episode.)
The latest hole to appear is the leaked draft agreement from the Copenhagen climate summit. Britain’s exquisitely green Guardian newspaper reported on Dec. 8 that “developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations.”
When your rights and responsibilities as a parent come in conflict with the liberal education establishment, who wins? Parents in Ames, Iowa just found out, and it’s not them.
Over the weekend, the Ames Library Board voted 6 -1 to allow the continued display and distribution of the magazine Sex, Etc. in the teen section of the public library. Sex Etc. is a free periodical written “by teens, for teens,” and published by Answer, a sex education advocacy group based at Rutgers University.
Local parent Joyce Bannantine noticed the magazine display, which encourages teens to take a free copy, in the teen section of the library. After flipping through it, Bannantine started a petition to have the library remove the display and to treat Sex, Etc. like any other periodical. Library Director Art Weeks, and ultimately the Library Board, disagreed.
So what had Bannantine and more than 100 petition signers so upset? After all, Sex, Etc. is a journal published under the auspices of a respected university, with sex education as its subject. "I thought it was too graphic for the age," Bannantine told local TV news KCCI. "Most of the kids that use the teen section are 12, 13 and maybe 14."
As if we needed more proof that Christians are the only group left in America that it’s safe to make fun of. A popular YouTube video purports to be an ad for a Wii-like game system called “Mass: We Pray,” which will be available at Easter 2010. In reality, the anti-religious video is a commercial for a new video game.
In it, viewers see a family at home as a saccharine-voiced narrator reminiscent of the one from the old “Mr. Bill” skit on “Saturday Night Live,” says, “A family shouldn't have to wait until Sunday to worship the Lord. Now you can go to church every day without leaving your home.”
The family’s two children are then shown pantomiming the movements of priests and congregants during mass, using “the wireless cross controller,” a large white plastic cross with a rosary bead strap. “Every twist of the hand and nuance of a blessing is recreated onscreen,” says the narrator. The point, he explains, is to collect “grace points,” and move a number of pews toward the altar. “Then trade in your Grace points to unlock the Holy Mysteries. Add the kneeler accessory, and get off the couch and into the action.” Players can download the “seven sacraments and holy rituals expansion pack.”
The Culture & Media Institute’s report on network coverage of Major Nidal Hasan and the Ft. Hood murders continues to gain media attention. On Nov. 14, Fox’s “News Watch” program led off with CMI’s findings.
“The Culture & Media Institute noticed something about the news coverage,” said host John Scott said of the Ft. Hood shooting. “Until President Obama spoke on Tuesday at a memorial service for the victims of the Ft. Hood attacks, 29 percent of evening news reports mentioned that Major Nical Malik Hasan was a Muslim. 93 percent of the stories ignored any terror connection. But after the president hinted at what ABC called ‘Islamic extremist views,” all three networks mentioned terrorism.”
In a piece on Nov. 11 called “False Dichotomies,” Newsweek religion writer Lisa Miller advanced a very sensible argument regarding the Ft. Hood gunman. “The question about Nidal Hasan isn't whether he's a mental-health victim or a terrorist. He has shades of both, so let's not reduce him to a caricature.” Putting it another way, Millar quoted Georgetown professor Bruce Hoffman: “Just because somebody may be mentally unstable doesn't mean this isn't an act of terrorism.”
Given the incomplete and contradictory reports about Hasan’s activities and statements before the shooting, that seems wise. But rather than leave it at that, Miller ended up reinforcing aspects of the politically correct approach to issues of Islam and terror, and blaming Americans to boot.
Miller cited New York Times’ David Brooks in particular, and partially agreeing with those on the right that complain of the media’s politically correct desire to explain away Hasan as just a lone psycho (or even better: a psychological victim of Bush’s wars).
“Major Hasan may suffer from loneliness, isolation, PTSD, and a terror of being deployed overseas. He may, indeed, be mentally ill,” Miller wrote. “But he was also allegedly exchanging e-mail with Anwar al Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric whose rhetoric urges Muslims to see terrorism as a selfless and righteous act for the greater good of the global Muslim community.”
On Nov. 12, Bill O’Reilly led off “The O’Reilly Factor” by framing his “Talking Points” segment around a report from the Culture & Media Institute on the biased network coverage of the Ft. Hood Massacre.
“A new study, by the Culture and Media Institute, a conservative group, says the following: 85 percent of network evening news stories on Ft. Hood did not mention the word ‘terror,’ O’Reilly said. “In fact, in 48 reports, ABC, CBS and NBC referenced terrorism just seven times. Only 29 percent of the evening news reports even mentioned Major Hasan was a Muslim. Unbelievable. Of those mentions, 50 percent defended Islam. And before the president’s speech at Ft. Hood, 93 percent of the network evening news stories ignored any discussion about a terror connection. But after the president said that extremist views were involved, all three networks began to report a possible connection.”
The Style section of the Washington Post isn’t exactly a repository of old-fashioned small town values, which made staff writer Monica Hesse’s Nov. 12 article that much more surprising.
Her piece: “Publicly, a whole new lewdness,” related the stories of commuters, airline passengers and others exposed to “secondhand smut” – that is, people in the uncomfortable position of having neighbors watching porn in public on laptops and BlackBerrys.
“But the increasing popularity of laptops and handheld devices, and the prevalence of wireless Internet access, means there’s a greater chance of becoming a bystander to a complete stranger's viewing proclivities,” Hesse wrote.
One anecdote involved a woman who was on a long flight with her young children, when “her friendly seatmate cued up a cartoon on his laptop. Her four children were enthralled; she hoped listening in might keep them occupied. Then the cartoon characters started doing things that cartoon characters should not be doing. Naked things …”
As we survey the horror of the Ft. Hood massacre, it might be useful to remember that we’ve been here before, with another shooting 16 years ago. The circumstances were very different, but the reaction of the media and other elite – the excusing, the spinning, the slight regard for the victims – has been eerily similar.
On Dec. 7, 1993, aboard a crowded rush hour Long Island Railroad train from Manhattan to Hicksville, N.Y., a Jamaican immigrant named Colin Ferguson pulled a gun and began firing at fellow passengers. He killed six and wounded 19 before being subdued by three passengers.
The story of Ferguson’s trial is bizarre and tragic, played out against the backdrop of a “Bonfire of the Vanities” New York in the pre-Giuliani era. When the Nassau County commissioner quite sensibly called Ferguson “an animal,” Jesse Jackson parachuted in to condemn the comment as racist. Al Sharpton took time out from inciting arson and murder long enough to warn of a backlash against blacks.
On Dec. 13, the New York Times quoted one Doris Perkins, who, when she first heard about the crime, had hoped the shooter wouldn’t turn out to be black. “‘I figured if he was black, there was going to be hell to pay,’ said Mrs. Perkins, a black nurse from Jamaica, Queens. ‘I told my two teen-age sons to stay in the house and off the streets until this thing blows over.’”
Pity the staff at the Washington Post. Their compatriots at the New York or Los Angeles Times luxuriate in a sea of enlightenment, with blue state voters as far as the eye can see. But the Posties must live and work in uncomfortable proximity to Red State Virginia, with only the thin buffer of the Northern Virginia suburbs between them and the gun-toting snake handlers.
Every now and then the Post publishes the journalistic equivalent of an involuntary shudder at its plight. The latest was an Oct. 30 editorial excoriating Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP candidate for Virginia attorney general. What gave the Post the vapors are statements Cuccinelli made about homosexuality in an interview with the Norfolk-based Virginian-Pilot.
A new Pew Research poll has much of the left and the mainstream media in a bit of a panic. And at least several media outlets are about to try something new to address it.
With cap-and-trade legislation stalled in Congress and an important climate change summit coming up in Copenhagen in December, Americans just aren’t as convinced as they should be that a) there’s evidence the planet is warming (57 percent), b) that warming is a serious problem (35 percent) and c) that humans cause it (36 percent). All those numbers have fallen significantly from their peak a couple of years ago.
Luckily, a there’s no shortage of “journalists” standing up to fight this deplorable trend. Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, co-editors of the left-wing magazine Mother Jones, announced on the publication’s Web site that “we’re forging a collaboration with a range of news organizations – magazines, online news sites, nonprofit reporting shops, multimedia operations.’ The purpose? To “synthesize disparate data points” and coordinate coverage of “the most important story of our time.”
Further down, the editors wrote:
We're also part of a team reporting effort focused on the critical Copenhagen talks; visit MotherJones.com for details. And while you're there, create your own climate message: You can make a Mother Jones cover featuring a picture of your child (or grandkid/nephew/cat), add a note [imploring action on global warming], and send it to your friends, your members of Congress, and your president. We'll feature them on our site.
If we’ve learned anything in recent months, it’s that if you’re a racist, a Marxist, a Maoist, a domestic terrorist or any other variety of anti-American nut, the safest place to be is in the company of Barack Obama. If you can stay off the radar of Fox News and don’t get caught on tape giving advice on running a brothel for fun and profit, you get to influence the most powerful executive in the world.
Case in point: Obama’s “Safe Schools Czar,” Kevin Jennings. While nobody’s yet found out exactly what he knows about safe schools, we do know he’s an expert at pushing a gay agenda in public grammar schools. We know he’s praised the founder of the North American Man-Boy Love Association. And thanks to “the pro-family action center for Massachusetts,” Mass Resistance, now we know he’s an art maven. (Warning: site contains many offensive images from the installation. The site’s blog has also been flagged by Google as objectionable – which, given Google’s political leanings, may be a badge of honor.)
And you thought President Obama just didn’t like Glenn Beck. According to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, the administration’s repeated attacks on Fox News are an attempt to send a message to the rest of the news media: “Fox isn’t a real news organization, so the stories it generates aren’t real news.”
The Oct. 21 “Morning Joe” reported on an exchange yesterday (noted on Newsbusters by Noel Sheppard) between ABC Chief White House Correspondent Jake Tapper and White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs, in which Tapper asked whether it was “appropriate” for the administration to be deciding what news organizations are legitimate.
“I think Jake Tapper was onto what we got onto yesterday morning, because we’ve been having this debate: ‘Does this make sense for them to shoot down at Fox News?’” said host Joe Scarborough. “No it doesn’t if your target’s Fox News.”
Einstein said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” That may be so, but it certainly is the definition of stupidity. Which is why the behavior of Obama administration and congressional liberals is so puzzling.
Wasn’t the Obama administration supposed to be populated by the elite of Ivy League intelligentsia, each cabinet secretary brighter than the last? Just weeks after the election, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos swooned "We have not seen this kind of combination of star power and brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes." Newsweek called Obama economic adviser Larry Summers “brash and brilliant” and part of “a team of Harvard and Yale types whose SAT scores have not been equaled since the Kennedy administration.”
The infusion of blue gray matter into Washington was going to calm the economic waters, create entire new “green” industries and maybe usher in a golden age for D.C.’s art-house movie theaters. Heck, Obama even tapped Hillary (“World’s Smartest Woman”) Clinton to be Secretary of State.
With President Obama seeking to nationalize more and more private industry, Michael Moore promoting his latest socialist agit-prop and the left gleefully proclaiming the death of capitalism, a documentary special airing tonight offers a welcome antidote.
“The Power of the Poor with Hernando de Soto” airs Oct. 8 at 10:00 pm ET on PBS. Produced by Free to Choose Media and funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the documentary posits – and proves – a simple, powerful hypothesis: fair, unfettered access to the market economy will lift millions of the world’s people out of poverty and inoculate them against extremism.
The hour-long special is hosted by renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, the founder of Peru’s Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD) and an advocate for property rights. In the film, he takes viewers on a tour of shanty towns around Lima, Peru the likes of which can be found across the developing world.
In Peru during the 1970s and 80s, millions left subsistence agriculture behind and migrated to Peru’s cities. Across the developing world, the migration continues and major cities grow by hundreds of thousands of people each year. “The poor are no longer isolated,” de Soto said. “They are here, knocking at the door, demanding to be let in.”
These vast squatter communities that ring the cities in poor countries are teeming with what de Soto called “candidates for capitalism.” Indeed, they are already engaged in their own “extralegal” market activity. The economist estimated that 98 percent of all business done in Peru is extralegal, initiated by entrepreneurs who operate outside the official legal and commercial system.
Fans of Douglas Adams’ “Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” books will remember that the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” was “42.” For American liberals, the answer to “health, insurance, and everything” appears to be 47. Liberal pundits and politicians, right up to President Obama, have famously – and wrongly – claimed that there are 47 million uninsured Americans.
Now, an ObamaCare partisan has claimed that 47,000 Americans die annually because they lack health insurance. On Oct. 5, former Clinton White House staffer David Goodfriend appeared on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” to argue for taxing healthcare businesses to pay for health care reform. Goodfriend stated that, even though medical device manufacturers and others would pay up front, they’d see returns in the form of more customers when those now uninsured enter the system.
“Just think; ask yourself this question,” Goodfriend said. “Why would 47,000 people a year be dying from lack of health insurance? How many more procedures would they get – how many more devices would they buy, if they had the insurance?”
Goodfriend didn’t cite the source of that figure, but The American Spectator shed some light on the possible source. In the Sept. 2008 American Spectator, David Hogberg explained the origin of claims that 18,000 people die each year because they are uninsured and why some could improperly extrapolate even larger figures (up to 47,000 people).
It takes a breathtaking lack of self-awareness, or selective amnesia, or just bald hypocrisy for the left-wing blogosphere to speculate on the cause of “right-wing hatemongering.” But there it was on Sept. 21 – an article asserting that the “anti-Obama hyperventilating” was the result of … Christianity.
Appearing on Alternet.org, Frank Schaeffer’s “Right-Wing Hatemongering Fueled by Christianity?” suggested that resistance to the Obama program comes from “the ugliest side of religion.”
“The fact is,” wrote Schaeffer, “that if you're going to blame one group above all others for the willful ignorance and continuing ugliness of the response to President Obama the best candidate would be the evangelical/fundamentalist community.”
Schaeffer wrote that former president Jimmy Carter was correct when he recently asserted that racism was behind the passionate anti-Obama reaction. But Carter fell short in not explicitly linking that racism to his own religion – Evangelical Christianity. “The angry part of the South Carter spoke of is racist because it's dominated by a certain type of ‘Christian’ culture,” Schaeffer wrote.
What a novelty: a political reporter who reports on the remarkable success of a political book.
Michael Calderone of Politico has been just about alone in reporting on the popularity of conservative radio host and author Mark Levin’s book, “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.”
In his blog on September 15, Calderone wrote that “Levin has now sold a million copies of his latest book, Liberty & Tyranny, according to a release.” And Calderone noted that “‘Liberty & Tyranny’ spent 12 weeks at the top of the New York Times' best-seller list and remains in the Top Ten.”
Threshold Editions, part of Simon & Schuster, announced today that conservative radio host and author Mark R. Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto” has officially sold one million copies since its release in March. No thanks to the mainstream media.
As the Culture and Media Institute detailed in a new Special Report “Unmentionable: Best Selling Conservative Books and the Networks that Ignore Them,” Levin’s book, which spent 12 weeks at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List, has been ignored by the mainstream media. Levin told CMI that “we have not heard from any of the major networks, and the only major newspaper that has interviewed me is Philadelphia Inquirer, and that’s because I’m from Philadelphia.”
Obviously, that hasn’t harmed sales. “The book is selling by word of mouth,” Levin said. “I’ve done very little media, and its chugging along.”
Since the 1940s, an appearance on The New York Times Best Sellers List has been the mark of commercial success for any book. Authors with titles on the list can count on media attention to help sell even more copies. Unless they are conservatives.
Conservative books and authors have been very successful recently, as evidenced by their showing on the best sellers list. Since January 2009, conservatives enjoyed 95 total weeks on the list, compared to just 80 weeks for liberal books and authors. At this writing Michelle Malkin’s “Culture of Corruption” is at No.1, and several other conservative titles have prominent berths on the list.
But as the Culture & Media Institute discovered, viewers of ABC, CBS and NBC might never know of the popularity and commercial success of conservative books.
The Walt Disney Company is synonymous with two things: family entertainment and an iron grip on its intellectual property. Unless gays are involved. They can do what they want.
Currently, a parody of a Miley Cyrus video is an Internet phenomenon. “Party in the FIP” is a take-off on Cyrus’ hit “Party in the USA,” which is on Hollywood Records, a Walt Disney Company. “FIP” refers to Fire Island Pines, a famously gay New York beach. The video features, in the words of MSNBC host Carlos Watson, “guys dancing on the beach in Speedos.”
In a segment on August 31, Watson said, “It appears that Disney is in on the joke, or at least they’re laughing at it too.” He turned to cohost Kerry Eleveld, of gay publication The Advocate. “What do you think about Disney, who doesn’t always seem to be the most progressive company in the world, seeming not only to be to be okay with it but making phone calls to the creator of it?”
“They might not be incredibly progressive,” Eleveld said, “but they’re smart business people. It never hurts to have gay men on your side.”
So Michael Vick is an Eagle now. That’s ok with me. I’m a Giants fan. Or I was a Giants fan, when I could stand to follow pro football. For a long time now, I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch more than a few games a season. These days, I feel nearly as out-of-place at a Super Bowl party as I would at an Oscar party.
Here in the DC area, the Redskins religion has begun its sacramental advent count-down to opening Sunday. I wish I could share the excitement. Part of the problem is that I’m a natural contrarian. Everybody loves football, so I don’t. Also, I’m a baseball fan (in a town largely devoid of them). The end of summer means my season’s running down, while theirs is pumping up.
But the problem is more involved. See, I love the game of football. But I loathe how and by whom it is played at the professional level. I don’t like the hype and the spectacle and the production – the computer generated “Transformers”-type robots Fox uses in commercial bumpers. And I can’t believe I’m the only one who thinks Hank Jr.’s “Monday Night” theme song gets a little more embarrassing every year.
In a surprising move, the network that brought you “objectum sexuals,” “the pregnant man,” sugar daddies, transvestites and a whole array of sexual deviants has hired an unambiguously pro-abstinence voice for its morning show.
Reuters reported on August 17 that “Comedian Steve Harvey has joined ABC's ‘Good Morning America’ as a contributor for the next several months.” Harvey, an actor, comic and syndicated radio host, is the author of “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” an advice book for women.
What are your kids looking for when they surf the Web? The computer security firm Symantec Corp recently found that kids were interested in “Michael Jackson, eBay, Wikipedia, Miley Cyrus who plays Hannah Montana in the hit Disney series, Taylor Swift, Webkinz, Club Penguin, and the Black Eyed Peas' song ‘Boom Boom Pow.’” Oh, and “sex” and “porn.”
According to an August 12 Reuters report, Symantec “studied 3.5million searches and “identified the top 100 searches conducted between February and July through its family safety service OnlineFamily.Norton, which monitors children's and teenager's Internet use,” Reuters explained.
So Democrats don’t like all those ads for prescription drugs on T.V. – the ones for high cholesterol, enlarged prostates, dry eyes and, yes, ED. On C-Span recently, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D., Calif., said “a lot of people start thinking they have medical problems because they’ve seen too many of these commercials. I don’t think that’s doing the public a lot of good. It’s certainly making the drug companies richer, but it’s not doing a lot of good for the public.”
That statement tells us an awful lot about Waxman, President Obama and the other liberals currently trying to cram socialized health care down the throats of a reluctant citizenry.
Waxman assumes that there is something inherently wrong with citizens knowing that these drugs exist. Waxman is a statist ideologue, so perhaps he really believes information should be rationed (he certainly believes health care should be rationed). Maybe what bothers him in this case is that the state has not yet managed to insert itself into this transaction. A drug company speaking directly to a consumer smacks too much of liberty.
The congressman must have a low opinion of the medical profession, to imply that consumers need only ask their doctors for prescriptions and they’ll get them. Physicians pay massive malpractice insurance premiums and the Democrats refuse to cap malpractice tort awards. So in violation of the universal law of CYA, doctors can’t be trusted to give cursory exams to verify the presence of the maladies in question.
Here’s a dilemma: You come to find out that Cilla, the sister who’s been generously contributing thousands of dollars to your three kids’ college funds, is actually a porn star. The college cash turns out to be the ill-gotten gains of immoral exploitation. You’re horrified and consider returning the money. Your husband disagrees. What do you do?
“G-Rated Sister in San Diego” wrote to the syndicated advice column “Dear Abby” for advice. Understandably, she wrote, “Abby, I don't want my sister's sexual exploits paying for our kids' education … Should we return the money? And if we do, is it possible to do it without causing a rift between my sister and me?”
Here we are, just past the half-way mark in 2009, so I wanted to give you all a general business update, and let everybody know how things look from my chair.
So far, ’09 is on track to be one of our best years since they dismantled the Gulag, and it’s largely thanks to your hard work. The Che Guevera T-shirt sales continue to bring in revenue. While we took a hit when Madoff went out of business, Senator Dodd assures me that our other ventures are secure.
This year, several of our important client relationships have really blossomed. Hugo Chavez has come into his own as a world-class talent. (Hat-tip to Baal in Recruitment & Development: having Fidel mentor him was pure genius.) And several long-time clients have really stepped up to the plate: Kim, Putin and the mullahs are all on hot streaks.
We continue see residual up-side from the sliming of Sarah Palin last fall. (BTW – Astarte, send Katie Couric some more flowers. And that Purdum guy at Vanity Fair – find out if he likes cigars.)
Imagine you live in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and you’re wondering what to do with weekend guests after church on Sunday. Quite sensibly, you turn to the “Local Events” section of the “Going Out Guide” on the Washington Post’s Web site.
So much to choose from … best to rely on the Editors’ Picks – there are only five of them. Two of the five look promising. First, you can enjoy a “Drag Queen Brunch” in Dupont Circle, then it’s off to the African American Civil War Memorial for … “Bare Breasted Women Sword Fighting.”
This topless dueling took place yesterday, as part of the “Capital Fringe Festival,” a performing arts festival that bills itself as “Rebellious and adventurous.”
“Bare Breasted Women Sword Fighting” was, according to the Post’s “Quick Take,” “A martial whirl of femininity and breasts.”
But an editorial review by Nelson Pressley assured readers that there was more to the event. “They'll show some skin, but this ain't yer daddy's strip club. They're going to play with conventions and make you think about it.” Bare breasted women sword fighting, Pressley said, was “some of the most sophisticated comedy I've seen so far on the Fringe.”
The other day I was driving behind a car with a “Friend of Tibet” Virginia license plate. That’s great and I’d like to be a “Friend” myself, but with the job and the family and cutting the lawn … Can I just become a “Facebook Friend of Tibet?” If so, am I entitled to the same preening as Tibet’s actual Friends?
It got me wondering whether we’d see “Free Iran” paraphernalia anytime soon, and whether we’d see it on the same Volvos and Priuses as those “Free Tibet” bumper stickers. Somehow I doubt it, since Obama could barely fit any “concern” for Iran among the puffs of “hope” and billows of “change.” If he doesn’t care, the media doesn’t care, and the bumper sticker-industrial complex can concentrate on that cuddly Dalai Lama.
Not that freeing Tibet isn’t desirable. It should be free. In fact, we should also help free China (and Cuba and North Korea, while we’re at it), and make sure that Taiwan remains free. You don’t see many bumper stickers about those countries, though. And small wonder – if they really expected anyone to care about their plight, they would have had the foresight to stock up on skinny bald guys in saffron robes.