Thursday, December 25, 2003

2003 Movie Picks

Theater Best:
The Pianist
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
About Schmidt
The Station Agent

Theater Worst:
Lost In Translation
Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Love Actually
Matrix: Revolutions
Bruce Almighty

DVD Best:
The Rookie
Son of the Bride
The Passion of Joan of Arc
Blue (Kieslowski)
Last Orders
Go Tigers!
Session 9
Led Zeppelin

Honorable Mention for Artistic Achievement: Russian Ark

DVD Worst:
The Life of David Gale
Far From Heaven
The Big Hit
Ghost Ship
Exit Wounds

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Our annual gleaning of the Media Research Center's Notable Quotes:

60 Minutes

Andy Rooney, evidencing his growing senility:

“We should change our attitude toward the United Nations. There has to be some power in the world superior to our own....We should not have attacked Iraq without the okay of the United Nations....Now we have to live with that mistake. We’re living with it, and too many of our guys are dying with it.”

[October 12, 2003]
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Billionaire Malthusian Ted Turner surveys the future and conjures a nuclear winter and worldwide halitosis:

“I’d say the chances are about 50-50 that humanity will be extinct or nearly extinct within 50 years. Weapons of mass destruction, disease, I mean this global warming is scaring the living daylights out of me.”

[September 29, 2003]
This Week

When George Stephanopoulos wants to know how the freest country on earth should proceed against terrorist aggression he looks no further than malcontent bench-warmer Moammar Qaddafi:

“What would you advise the United States to do today to fight al-Qaeda?...What would be the wise course for the United States to follow now in Iraq?”

[August 3, 2003]
National Press Foundation

Some three months before the Jayson Blair controversy starts the fraudulent journalism dominos toppling at the New York Times, Howell Raines parades equal amounts of self-esteem and crippling myopia before an adoring audience:

“Our greatest accomplishment as a profession is the development since World War II of a news reporting craft that is truly non-partisan, and non-ideological, and that strives to be independent of undue commercial or governmental influence....“It is that legacy we must protect with our diligent stewardship. To do so means we must be aware of the energetic effort that is now underway to convince our readers that we are ideologues. It is an exercise of, in disinformation, of alarming proportions, this attempt to convince the audience of the world’s most ideology-free newspapers that they’re being subjected to agenda-driven news reflecting a liberal bias. I don’t believe our viewers and readers will be, in the long-run, misled by those who advocate biased journalism.”

[February 20, 2003]

Monday, December 08, 2003

In the mid '90s agnostic scholar Charles Murray (LOSING GROUND, THE BELL CURVE, WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A LIBERTARIAN) sought to lay bare the first cause of human achievement in history and found something surprising: the role of Christianity in great accomplishment. His study is now complete and the book is called HUMAN ACCOMPLISHMENT: THE PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE IN THE ARTS AND SCIENCES 800 B.C. TO 1950 and was excerpted in the October/November issues of The American Enterprise magazine. He writes, "The conclusions I came to are far from original with me, but they have not been fashionable for some decades, so I should state them explicitly: The Greeks laid the foundation for Western achievement in the arts and sciences. But it was the transmutation of that intellectual foundation by Christianity that gave modern Europe its impetus and that pushed European accomplishment so far ahead of all other cultures around the world. I will add that I reach this conclusion not out of personal religious conviction but as an agnostic who became persuaded by Christianity's transforming role by my reading of the historical record...Christianity empowers and energizes individuals as no other philosophy or religion ever did before."

Thomas Sowell agrees with his thesis and praises his work, while this UPI interview soberly probes Mr. Murray's intent and conclusions. What follows are links to two full-length essays no longer available online, preserved here for posterity:

Charles Murray’s All-Stars by Terry Teachout from Commentary magazine
A Cultural Scorecard Says West Is Ahead By Emily Eakin from The New York Times