Friday, May 03, 2002
Week 3 of the Sun
’s film reviews---and the return of Bowman. But more than that—it’s the Beginning of the Age of Honor. In his review of “Deuces Wild,” Bowman writes, “At times it almost looks as if there is in all this a serious point about masculine honor and the gang culture.” In only his second review, Bowman has broached his favorite topic
. I was kind of hoping the “When’s Bowman Gonna Mention Honor?
” contest would last longer than three weeks, though.
Jason Riley is back this week, and breaks the Sun
’s elitism barrier with his reviews of “Spider-Man” and “Hollywood Ending.” After a couple of weeks of reviews of foreign and arthouse movies, it’s nice that the Sun
has descended from its snooty enclave of oenophiles (great reprint on Wednesday, Mrs. Lipsky! Oh sorry, I meant “Miss Shlaes
.”) and thrown a little mass culture bone to “ordinary semi-intelligent guys
” like me and Ira Stoll. Jason
likes Spider-Man, noting the film has none of the “dark, sadomasochistic overtones” of the Batman movies, “perhaps to the chagrin of the black turtleneck crowd
below 14th street.” I think he meant to say “dirty stinking Sodomites” here, but I’m not sure. But hey, how about that reference to 14th Street! I KNEW this paper was all about New York!
In the review of Woody Allen’s “Hollywood Ending” Riley points out that “For added laughs, Mr. Allen trots out racial minorities, who seldom survive his movies with any dignity when he bothers to include them at all….this time we get crazed Chinamen who talk funny.” “Dignity.” “Chinamen.” Anyways, this is a good point—I too have noticed Allen’s tendency to denigrate blacks as microwave- and dishwasher-owning welfare queens
. Did I say Allen? Sorry. (Note to Jason Riley: In the future, please denote whether the Chinamen to which you are referring are, in fact, Red Chinamen or not, in keeping with Sun
policy as dictated by the cover of the April 30 edition. By the way, that same issue made reference to Red Korea on page 2, so be on your guard, Jason.)
also brings us a rave review of television’s “Powerpuff Girls,” courtesy of David Blum. Perhaps next week Blum will inform us about that hot new show “Cheers.”
First, the Manhattan Institute’s nutty ideas
confined themselves to the editorial page. Next, masquerading as legitimate news items, they were admitted access to the front page. That was presumably not enough for Ira Stoll and Seth Lipsky’s sugar daddies
, many of whom number among Institute trustees. Today the lunatics take Gary Shapiro hostage and occupy his society column. That page-four space is devoted in the main to a write-up of Wednesday’s Manhattan Institute distribution of the Hamilton Awards, given, judging by one of the recipients
, to those exhibiting greatest contempt for ordinary people. The piece surrounds a photo of the ridiculous Myron Magnet
, last seen on C-SPAN introducing Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book, which promotes the wholly novel thesis that the poor are to blame for their poverty. The text is even better than the photos, describing the disgraced John Fund only as a “ground-breaking reporter,” a presumed reference to his work on behalf of the charter schools so loved by Richard Gilder and the remainder of the Sun
backers. “Ground-breaking reporter” is not a term that attaches to Mr. Fund so easily these days. Enjoying currency, instead, are “accused woman beater
” and “disgusting hypocrite
.” Mr. Shapiro does not specify whether Mr. Fund brought the mother or daughter
to the event.
Thursday, May 02, 2002
As always, we found today’s true daily candy on page six: a supremely offensive Barbara Amiel nugget and an unsigned editorial confection. The editorial begins by holding the now-abandoned UN fact-finding mission into last month’s events at the Jenin refugee camp
to obloquy. Ariel Sharon, performing at David Duncan and Andrew Fastow level, was determined to “stand on principle” and prevent any investigation into the matter whatever, the Sun
says. What “principle” it was that Sharon advanced by thwarting the inquiry is not stated, though the Sun
posits its own defense of Sharon’s frustration of the probe. Terje Roed-Larsen, the editorial continues, is unfit to conduct the investigation given his “animus to the Jewish state.” The succeeding paragraphs dedicate themselves to casting disrepute upon Larsen, though none demonstrate his “animus.” The best the Sun
can do is cite his friendship with Yasser Arafat and alert readers to his questionable receipt of prize money won as a peace broker – money not reported by himself or his wife, the Norwegian ambassador to Israel who also shared the prize, to the Norwegian government. “Mr. Larsen is likely to escape reprimand for his misconduct,” the Sun
concluded, though Ha’aretz had reported some days earlier
that Larsen had in fact already been reprimanded. A dubious thesis is supported by assertions unrelated to the thesis, all in a piece apparently neither fact-checked nor copyedited (“Bear in mind that Mr. Larsen is the man who, who in the wake of the Jenin raid, pronounced that ‘Israel has lost all moral ground in the conflict.'”).
Barbara Amiel, who happens to be Conrad Black’s wife, lends a piece that starts out sensibly enough, examining Jean-Marie LePen’s appeal to the French. Midway through the piece, just when we expected Amiel to point out that certain U.S. Congressmen
make LePen look downright progressive, she switches gears and invokes Enoch Powell
, “who didn’t have a fascist bone in his body.” Apparently Amiel subscribes to one of the more restrictive academic definitions of fascism, with Powell’s Thatcherite conservatism disqualifying him as a fascist. Powell, famous for his disgusting “ Rivers of Blood
” speech, was a known blood-and-soil style racialist, and refused to condemn those among his supporters who he succeeded in frenzying to attacks on foreigners, blacks, and leftist students. Well done Lady Black! The Sun
is now more of a vanity press than ever.
Wednesday, May 01, 2002
Present in the inaugural issue but absent in subsequent publications of the Sun
was a boxed feature titled "SMARTERTIMES.COM," after Ira Stoll’s website of the same name. In operating that site Mr. Stoll would read The New York Times
daily (a fairly easy task), find fault with the contents (even easier), and then issue a few paragraphs of criticism even worse than the object of critique (difficult as all hell if you’re trying, though Stoll never seemed to be). The plan, as of the Sun
’s launch, had been to capitalize on the paper’s late run and include some of Stoll’s deep meditations on the day’s Times
. Sadly, he has abandoned this duty. Given Like Father, Like Sun
's constitutional inability to allow recognized want and privation to abide unremedied, we will be running occasional highlights from Stoll’s career in criticism. The following delightful bit originally ran on smartertimes.com
on November 20, 2000:
Times columnist William Safire, who is usually sensible on Middle East issues, gives Israel's prime minister, Ehud Barak, some bad advice today. Mr. Safire says Mr. Barak "must not use too much firepower, lest he fall into Arafat's wider-war trap." Mr. Safire suggests that "a new Middle East war" is in Mr. Arafat's interest. In fact, a wider war would serve Israel's interests and America's better than would a continuation of the current low-level clashes between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Israel has a qualitative military edge and strategic superiority; a wider war would allow it to degrade the military capabilities of Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Syria and thereby pave the way for the emergence of free and democratic regimes in those countries. It would also put the spotlight on the fact that it is those undemocratic regimes that are coordinating and supporting the terrorist war against Israel and against American interests in the Middle East.
Stoll has been urging a “wider war,” justified only by bare advantage, in the Middle East for well on a year and a half now; for him to label current events as anything other than the smash-and-grab he has been urging since at least 2000 is disingenuous in the extreme.
Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Jumping up Jesus! Has the Sun
’s AP feed gone haywire, functioning as a time portal rather than a news conduit? After due head-scratching over today’s banner headline (“BLOOMBERG MEETS WITH LEADER OF RED CHINA”), I’m forced to conclude it has. In addition to personally subscribing to a medieval worldview, Seth Lipsky seems to be insisting his newsroom operate on Eastern Daylight Savings Time – 1951. The language is of course deliberate. At least one previous Sun
editorial has made hay of China’s poor labor practices, though the paper who makes “coverage of New York City its top priority” has been silent on the deplorable work regime forced on, say, the Chinese sweatshop laborers of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The garment workers as yet have not provided aid of any sort to Iran and Pakistan, so they do not constitute a point on Bush’s lunatic “Axis of Evil” and are, for now, safely out of Seth Lipsky’s wide-angle crosshairs.
Daddy’s Girl Rachel Kovner ably mans the Columbia University Desk, filing a beauty on the school’s graduate students and their effort to secure better lives through unionization. Ms. Kovner’s piece, remarkably absent of insight, is twinned with an op-ed piece on the same subject remarkable for its unashamed hostility to the idea of securing betterment through collective action. Perhaps Lipsky can establish a new Julliard
Desk and transfer Kovner to the same. Her daddy’s generous subsidies to the school would buy her unmatched access, hopefully increasing the depth of her reportage. When and if a labor dispute arises, Kovner and Lipsky would have a far superior perch from which to denounce the peons.
Monday, April 29, 2002
Anne Bayefsky tells us today that the U.N. is doing Yasser Arafat’s dirty work and “divert[ing] attention from the fundamental human rights issue: terrorism.” The means to these ends is the U.N.’s proposed inquiry into the IDF’s assault on Jenin
. The Jenin campaign, per Ms. Bayefsky, was nothing more than a response to Palestinian terror, and, as such, just another battle in The War Against Terror (TWAT). An investigation into the particulars of that battle and its human rights implications, she continues, would amount to nothing more than another attempt on the U.N.’s part to “de-legitimize” Israel. As, I suppose, would reminding Sun
readers that the “war zone in a war against terrorism” in which the inquiry would be administered was in fact a refugee camp, laying waste to which making its former inhabitants doubly displaced – and Sharon’s IDF’s actions doubly objectionable.
Space restrictions presumably prevented Ms. Bayefsky from relating both sides of the still-developing story, though it is not quite clear why she omits other matters of historical fact. For instance, she mentions the U.N. General Assembly’s 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism. She does not mention that resolution’s 1991 repeal. She also tells of regnant anti-Semitism at the U.N.’s September 2001 World Conference against Racism, though most other outlets reported the ugliness as limited to a parallel confab of Non-governmental organizations convened separate from the Conference proper.