“But we’ve been so pervasively flambéed in the morally limp liquor of postmodernism that we’ve become unable to muster the indignation to rid our public life of lupine slough-offs like Gary Condit.” – Scott “lightly sauteed but never limp” Galupo in National Review Online.

INTRODUCING THE STREISAND AWARD: “Death, liberation, eternity, the sea, heaven–what are the D train or the Q train to me, who am lost in the “Breakfast Table” poems? (Except that I have to take those damn trains to get anywhere.) That is how things stand with me, Sarah. It has been this way ever since Al Gore won the election and didn’t end up president. I hold sea shells to my ear. I moon over old poems. I am distraught. Isn’t that what you are saying, too, in your own fashion, going on about van Gogh and all? I gaze at the headlines. I reel. “President who?” I say. “He did what?” And I return to the whispering sea shells and think about eternity. …” – Paul Berman, Slate. Readers are invited to send in occasional quotes which in their sentimentality, narcissism, pretentiousness and Hollywood-Manhattan parochialism are worthy of the great left-wing diva. (My apologies to Paul Berman, who is usually a terrific and cogent lefty. I guess we all have our off-days.)


“Dear peoples, though I rarely do stuff like this, pestering the masses, this is a topic that is too vital, too central, and too important to our entire planet to ignore or to simply not do something about. Every once in a long while, one nation on our small planet attempts to take a selfish step that goes against the tide of history. That time is now, and that nation is us. I’m asking for your help to stop George W. Bush’s energy plan. His plan will take us back in time to an era when we moved Native Americans from their lands in order to mine the minerals where they lived, a time when people thought that nuclear power was safe, a time when coal powerplants turned America’s skies black as the night.” – Mike D. of the Beastie Boys, taking a stand.

IF YOU’RE A LIBERAL, WE DON’T CARE ABOUT A PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: The Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web Today on Friday rightly highlights the latest twists in a recent non-child-abuse scandal in Wenatchee, Washington. It was in the proud tradition of Dorothy Rabinowitz, who exposed several fallacious pedophile witch-hunts (see the item headlined “The Peter Principle”). So it’s a little jarring to read further down the page in the offensively titled item, “Dispatches from the Porn Belt,” a reprinting of pedophile charges against the liberal comic Paula Poundstone. We have no idea who has made the accusations, we don’t know what Poundstone’s defense might be, we have no idea how legitimate these claims are. Still, the Journal blithely passes them along, and justifies it by tying pedophilia to any state that voted for Gore in the last election. In a word: sickening. And against everything Ms. Rabinowitz won the Pulitzer for.

DOONESBURY CROSSES THE LINE: I remember at the very beginning of the Clinton presidency, we discussed at The New Republic a comic feature along the lines of Doug McGrath’s wonderful “Shrub File.” We were looking for a way to write about the new administration from an insider’s view. One idea was Chelsea’s Diary, a spoof of what the First Daughter saw and believed. We quickly nixed the idea because it was unfair – even in fiction – to drag a young girl into the political cross-hairs. By and large, the media followed suit, admirably leaving Chelsea alone for eight years. (In the end, it was her father who exposed her to intolerable public stress.) Now comes liberal do-gooder Garry Trudeau with a cartoon strip that violates any tattered remnants of the First Family’s privacy. Trudeau is a great cartoonist and often very funny. Which is why it’s sad he sometimes lets his hatred of Republicans get the better of him. Especially to the extent of using a private 18 year-old’s life as fodder for attacking the president.


“But make no mistake about it: PopOdyssey is not retrogression to pre-irony pop spectacle. It is the dialectical answer to U2’s (and alternative rock’s) attack on spectacle. It is pop in defense of itself … Anyone who saw the MTV “Making of the Video” episode about ‘N Sync’s “Pop” now knows that this is definitely no clean-cut band. If anything, ‘N Sync is losing touch with its audience’s needs, and “Pop” (certainly an inferior single compared with “Bye Bye Bye”), with its lyrics of “What we’re doing is not a trend/ We got the gift of melody,” may ultimately prove to be a case of pride before the fall, of Nero choreographing a lavish, beautiful and thoroughly entertaining dance as Rome burns around him.” – Neil Strauss on the dialectical materialism of ‘N Sync, New York Times, today.

DERBYSHIRE AWARD: “When you look at the state of modern morality, it’s hard to avoid the impression that it’s a sort of photographic negative of the morality of the 1950s. Back then, well nigh everyone smoked and drank. The great majority of citizens thought that sexual promiscuity was shameful, that abortion was a form of murder, that homosexuals were pathetic freaks, that bastardy was a disgrace and that black people were morally inferior to whites.” – John Derbyshire, the one and only, National Review Online.