Thursday, August 22, 2002
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Monday, August 19, 2002
As a confirmation that old age does not always come with wisdom, Leni Riefenstahl still claims that her artistic priorities excuse the promotion of the Nazi ideology, achieved through her documentary-like propaganda works about Hitler and his movement. In her own words: "I cannot apologize, for example, for having made the film, 'Triumph of the Will.' It won the top prize. All my films won the top prize." Well, good to know she is still alive to tell us that.
Sunday, August 18, 2002
This is why Victor Davis Hanson should be tenured at Yale:
"Iraq? Stay put — we don't necessarily need or desire your help. The Middle East? Shame on you, not us, for financing the terrorists on the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority and Israel? You helped to fund a terrorist clique; we, a democracy — go figure. Racism? Arabs are safer in America than Jews are in Europe. That 200,000 were butchered in Bosnia and Kosovo a few hours from Rome and Berlin is a stain on you, the inactive, not us, the interventionist. Capital punishment? Our government has executed terrorists; yours have freed them. Do the moral calculus."
--Victor Davis Hanson in a recent National Review article.
Friday, August 16, 2002
Several times, I have heard the following analogy used by Europeans to discredit "The War on Terrorism": Using money raised in Irish communities in Boston and New York, the IRA has for years terrorized England, killing thousands. However, England did not bomb Boston or New York. Why does the US get to bomb Afghanistan or Iraq?
The analogy looks appealing indeed. However, it is bankrupt. To my knowledge, neither the mayors of New York nor Boston officially sanctioned or encouraged or harbored those who funded IRA terrorism. Neither did the Federal Government. However, it is true that Saddam, the Mullahs in Ryadh and Tehran, and the Taliban have officially sponsored terrorism. When terrorism is state sponsored, it is ok to bomb that nation.
Tuesday, August 06, 2002
I really do not like the anti-smoking commercials that flood the airwaves nowadays. The most recent one, however, just goes to far. At the start of the ad, a young girl is shown sneaking out of her suburban home in the middle of night, then driving to a wild late night party. As she sips from a large plastic cup, she is offered a cigarette and, almost sarcasticly, says something to the effect that her parents would "freak" were they to find out.
Interesting how tobacco is the great evil the ad is trying to fight. First of all, the girl is drinking from a large plastic cup during a wild late night party (no one I know sneaks out late at night to sip fruit juice; of course, that she is drinking alcohol is never made explicitly clear, but anyone who has ever been a teenager can connect the dots). Second, she will be driving back home no doubt after finishing off the contents of said plastic cup. Third, she is evidently showing disrespect to her parents, feigning concern for what they would think while flouting their rules. So, the moral of the story is that the illegality of underage drinking, the risk of drunk driving and the breakdown of familial trust are things to sneeze out, while increasing the risk of lung cancer is suddenly the most horrible thing imaginable.
Anti-tobacco ads have their priorities mixed up. Society is really in trouble when man's physical condition suddenly has priority in the column marked "evil." When illegal behavior, reckless disregard for human life, and immorality become acceptable, the good becomes health. If that is the goal of government, all sorts of sinister doors are opened.
So when do these nuts start attacking the food we eat? Oh, wait, suits against fast food producers are already in the works, in the style of that ridiculous series of tobacco trials.
I recently finished an internship for my local District Attorney's office. I sat in on a few trials, each of which, of course, had a few court officers on duty. There were quite a few large fellows on duty, six foot something monsters with barrel chests and sledgehammer fists that would make any rowdy defendant think twice about causing any trouble. Then, of course, there were the blonde five foot nothing female court officers. It's good to know that, when a crazed defendant is beating an inoccent jury, the jurors will be carted off to the hospital confident in the fact that they did their part in the fight for gender equality.
The astute will, of course, note that most of those female officers were armed. Interesting. Since otherwise defenseless women are competent to defend themselves against the most dangerous criminals when they are packing heat in the courtroom, maybe this principle of the "great equalizer" should be applied to society at large.