Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Declaration-Sized Take on this Presidency

By Bobby Chang

Liberal activists have once again used the Defence Authorisation Bill to stuff policies that are detrimental to the country. Two years ago, a defence funding bill was loaded with an unrelated 40% minimum wage hike to appease liberal activists such as ACORN and union bosses that has led to the current economic malaise, as corporations find this country to be uncompetitive against Asia because of the severe minimum wage hike, and have decided jobs will not be placed in the United States, but in lower-wage countries such as India, the PRC, Mexico, and other rising giants, while real unemployment is over 15% nationally, with much of this area into the 20% range. Our legislators were never informed, and the policy was quietly stuffed by liberal activists such as the dictatorial Nancy Pelosi, who has ensured the elected legislator Mr. Wilson was never heard (which led to his comments on the floor in front of the President).

That reminded me of what happened recently with Mexican pop star Ariadna Thalía Sodi Mottola Miranda , who danced with the President at Fiesta Latina at The White House in September. Mrs. Mottola's 1997 song “Echa Pa'lante,” used by an adult dance class that I participated as part of cross-training, was actually a political protest against the ruling PRI for the ensuing parliamentary elections in Mexico. The real version (not the illegally-altered version used in the movie “Dance with Me”) stated (translated), "Politician, now you're asking for mercy now / After you've plundered the nation's riches / The currency is devalued and corruption prevails / Unemployment is worse and (liberal) pollution grows".

Now, another defence authorisation bill was used by liberal activists to stuff another absurd law into the country that would have never passed except for other states running over us again. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Act, which would never have passed, was loaded into the current bill as a “memorial” to the late Sen. Kennedy to force special protection under law.

The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence starts, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Unfortunately, the new law, signed by President Obama in a special event with homosexual special-rights activists, destroys that sentence. Homosexuals now receive special protections and are not created equal, but are given special rights, while others are punished to reward these special deviants.

This has been proven in Sweden, where pastor Ake Green was indicted for a sermon that called homosexuality a sin and in Canada, where two notable Stateside radio shows – Focus on the Family and Dr. Laura Schlessinger – must be edited (and cleared by censors) to purge all references to sinful behaviour as dictated by a federal commission, and also where sharing truth about the dangerous and deviant lifestyle that was listed on the American Psychiatric Association as a psychiatric disorder until activists ran roughshod in 1973 is declared a hate crime. Also in Canada, a Catholic bishop was charged for a hate crime for defending teaching stating marriage is between one male and one female.

The Attorney General has blatantly admitted that the new law can be used to punish speech – a violation of the First Amendment – that is not compliant with homosexual activists' requests.

Our Declaration of Independence is now under attack, since now, the President and Congress have declared that certain groups are created special with special rights not available to other people. When God's Word is declared illegal and the “gospel” of homosexual activists is now federal law, the doors have opened to more hazards

That is another facet of the homosexual agenda being pushed by liberal activists with one foot already in the door – they want to eliminate the Defence of Marriage Act and eventually want both same-sex “marriage” legalised federally in the other 44 states where it is not (an episode of Sony Pictures Television's The Newlywed Game 2009 (GSN) featured a celebrity show where one “couple” was a homosexual “married” couple married in 2008 when California courts dictated marriage before Proposition 8 properly reversed the judge's call) and a new “Employment Non-Discrimination Act” that rewards “sexual orientation” as a protected employment class that would reward pedophiles. In fact, the new law was called the “Pedophile Protection Act,” and ENDA, another Kennedy “legacy” bill, would further reward pedophiles since it would be a “sexual orientation” and schools who refuse to hire pedophiles would be in violation of federal law if ENDA was passed.

How dangerous would it be for parents if schools, child-care centres, or other venues where children are involved had sexual predators and pedophiles working in the facilities, and the law rewards them and prohibits punishing them, as ENDA would do in cooperation with the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act of 2009?

Two years ago, we saw the price we had to pay with an absurd “pork” rider that killed our economy with a severe minimum wage hike as jobs moved overseas. Now we are seeing that our First Amendment rights and the Declaration of Independence are violated in the new Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act of 2009. Both were stuffed into defence authorisation bills.

In learning about this attack on Christians by passing the hate crime bill that rewards one class of sexual deviants while punishing other groups of people, let us look at these lines of the Declaration again.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

This paragraph was proven by fast-tracking bills and people cannot read them before voting on them.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

While he hasn't dissolved them officially, opponents are chided and shut out and mocked, as Bachmann and Wilson can prove.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

This is proven by the protection of ACORN and other leftist groups.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

After blocking the Bush judges, now we see new tyrants. The new judges use foreign laws to overturn local, state, and federal laws. The President blocked many of those judges in the four years in power.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

All of the "czars" we have seen is evidence.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

His groups, not the military, have superior power.

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

See the proposed Socialised Medicine and what has passed in Porkulus.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

Those lines hold true when courts use foreign laws to overturn local, state, and federal laws.

"In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

Those paragraphs I have just posted are from the Declaration. This is the dangers of the Hate Crimes Act, and the entire Presidency by just citing the Declaration of Independence.

* NOTE: The term “illegally altered version” reflects how some songs have been altered without permission, and in other cases ruins the song. In 2003, I called a publisher's office in Nashville and then in Manila after popular Filipino star Mary Jane Mendoza (aka “Jamie Rivera”) recorded a Kathy Troccoli song with gross alterations in the lyrics.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Opera Wednesday

By Mitchell Hadley

The latest issue of Opera News honors this year's winners of the Opera News Awards, and in his tribute to the great Shirley Verrett, F. Paul Driscoll writes that his own favorite Verrett performance was as Eboli in Don Carlo.

Fair enough. Here in this 1971 BBC telecast, is Shirley Verrett singing "O don fatale" from Don Carlo. Exquisite.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wish I'd Written That

By Bobby Chang

HARVEST FESTIVAL TRUNK OR TREAT OCTOBER 31. “Trunk or treat” I can understand. Some Mormon congregations do this too. It’s a way to suck all the fun out of trick-or-treating by handing out candy in a church parking lot from a row of car trunks. But “Harvest festival”? Uh, for the last time, people: Halloween is the eve of All Saints’ Day, part of the Christian liturgical calendar! “Harvest Festival” would be the pagan holiday! Not the other way around! This would be like a church replacing “Christmas Eve” with “Yule Festival” because some overzealous Sunday regular is anti-Santa. Okay, pastor, I get that you have some nuts in your congregation telling you that Halloween is all about the worship of Satan and his bastard stepchild Harry Potter. I don’t care. It’s time to man up to the weirdos."

-- Ken Jennings, author and three million dollar game show legend.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The List, Part 2

By the way, the next time you run across one of the people mentioned here, be sure and tell them you saw them on the Our Word Enemies List. I'm sure they'll be grateful for the recognition.

And now back to the list. Mitchell launches into these people and organizations for whom he has a deep and abiding, if impersonal, contempt:

Rod Dreher – what’s that old saying about “with friends like this”? Having this crunchy con blogger on your side is like going into a gunfight armed with a butter knife. I’m sure Rod’s a nice guy, a good family man, someone you’d like to have as your next-door neighbor; but on his blog he shows a most unbecoming side. He snarks at conservative talk radio for being snarky, and honestly believes conservative bloggers have done more damage to civility than liberal ones. He wonders about Gingrich’s conversion to Catholicism, while he himself has bounced from Protestantism to Catholicism and now to Orthodoxy. He seems to want so badly to be taken seriously by those with whom he disagrees that he bends over backward to give liberals the benefit of the doubt, assuming their good intentions while questioning those of his “fellow” conservatives. (He reminds me of a boss I once had who was perfectly willing to believe every complaint he ever received about his staff, while dismissing any concerns his staff might have had in turn.) I don’t question Dreher’s sincerity; why does he seem so suspicious about that of others?

For his extremely irritating manner, Dreher lands the number one spot on my list by pure merit.

Mark Shea – his brilliant work as a Catholic apologist is frequently obscured by his frequent rants about the "unjust" war in Iraq, his unbecoming snarkiness about the Bush administration, and his unwillingness to grant that those with whom he disagrees might be acting with good faith and sincere beliefs of his own. Sarcasm and irony, when employed effectively, can be an art form - but Shea doesn't have that particular gift.

Shea is a passionate opponent of the war in Iraq. He can make a compelling, if not persuasive, case against it. Shea's overheated rhetoric may be an accurate reflection of his personality, but it does him no favors when it comes to convincing others of his argument. He can be so nasty about the whole thing, and so dismissive of others, that his arguments have the effect of making one passionately disagree with him regardless of what he's talking about. If he were to insist that the sky was blue, I'd say it was red just to oppose him. Having that effect on people is not the trademark of a particularly useful advocate.

For a long time, Shea held first place on my list, but he’s become better about apologizing for some of the things he’s said, and these mea culpas have softened his image in my eyes somewhat. I truly think he regrets much of what he says in the heat of the moment, but by the same token he continues to put himself there, in what we might consider the proximate cause of sin. Perhaps he’s just someone who should stick to writing articles and forget blogging. Or eliminate his combox, at least.

David Letterman – after what I wrote here, need I say more?

ESPN – it was a good idea to cover the story, but now they’ve become the story. And sport itself becomes secondary to its purpose of filling a spot in the network’s schedule: games with ridiculous start times, college football every night of the week, meaningless bowls created by ESPN simply as a source of cheap programming. Not to mention announcers who think it’s amateur night at the Improv, and their incessant self-promotion. Their “This Is SportsCenter” commercials are great, but not enough to make up for the rest.

Jimmy Carter – one of our worst presidents ever, now one of our worst former presidents ever. I know all the talk about what a great humanitarian he’s supposed to be, but he also constantly denigrates this country while giving aid and comfort to our enemies. He’s shown himself to be a bitter, vindictive, little man. Ronald Reagan deserves to be on Mt. Rushmore for no reason other than having ridded us of this meddlesome president. He's a useful idiot for America's enemies - emphasis on idiot.

Organizations with the word "Christian" in their name but not their mission - you know who you are. Shame on you.

Cathy of Alex castigates not a person, but the mindset that governs such people: mediocrity. In doing so, she ridicules those who believe in the following:

We're all the same. Congratulations! You have not won a thing. There are no winners. There is no such thing because then there would have to be losers and our fragile Western psyches can’t handle that.

Thank God I'm not like those sinners. Heaven may or may not exist but if it does you can be sure the almost perfect are in it. They’ve nominated themselves for the honor.

This is all there is. Nirvana is probably just a band.

Obamamania. Our nation’s leader, who may or may not be an American, is good for the job (not perfect) because he tells us that as a nation we are not perfect. We should be ashamed of ourselves. We have an entire weight of history that we didn’t even live to atone for. Get on that. Don’t work on improving yourself; work on apologizing.

Education. In school, over 90% is no longer the top grade and an A; now, we are graded on a scale so we can be graded with our peers who may or may not actually know anything.

For these people, there is nothing to strive for, she says in conclusion. Good enough is good enough.

And Paul Drew condemns:

The public school system – really, little more than legalized child abuse. (And this is not to besmirch those teachers in that system that do care – prisoners, I dare say, every bit as much as their students.)

Keith Olbermann – is there, honestly, anyone more wretched, angry, and nasty on television today? I’ve seen programs on Animal Planet where the wild beasts weren’t as vicious as Olbermann. (Perhaps he’ll name me Worst Person of the Day for saying that. I’d take it as a badge of honor.)

Mike Antonovich - the Los Angeles County Supervisor who wanted the L.A. Opera to drop Wagner's Ring Cycle because the composer was anti-Semitic. Earth to Antonovich: where have you been the last few years? Did you just hear about this Wagner guy and find out what he believed in? Love or hate him, the man wrote some of the most sublime music ever, and to suggest that politics pull rank over art is, in this case, rank. What a knucklehead.

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, et al – why are we even listening to these fools? It only encourages them.

Sportswriters who can’t keep their politics out of their columns - don’t try this at home, boys. Leave the heavy intellectual work to the professional political pundits, boys. (P.S. I probably know more about sports than most of you, too.)

And there you have it - the 2009 Our Word Enemies List. Feel free to email us with your additions to the list, or suggestions for next year's. And if you don't see your name here, don't give up hopee - we all need something to which we can aspire. There's still plenty of room for more names!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Opera Wednesday

By Paul Drew

Apropos of our list-making, here is the world-famous D'oyly Carte Opera Company with "I've Got a Little List" from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado. As is the custom, the lyrics have been updated to include references to contemporary events.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The List, Part 1

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list — I've got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!
There's the pestilential nuisances who write for autographs —
All people who have flabby hands and irritating laughs —
All children who are up in dates, and floor you with 'em flat —
All persons who in shaking hands, shake hands with you like that —
And all third persons who on spoiling
tête-á-têtes insist —
They'd none of 'em be missed — they'd none of 'em be missed!

W.S. Gilbert,
The Mikado

As P.J. O'Rourke once pointed out: Santa has a list, Saint Peter has a list, Joe McCarthy said he had a list. Ko-Ko sang about his list (above), while Richard Nixon recorded his.

And now we've got a list, too.

The purpose of the 2009 Our Word Enemies List is, of course, to be entertaining. But after all the fun, keep in mind there's a serious side to it as well. Many of the names on this list - people, institutions, organizations, and other various flora and fauna - are, as O'Rourke said of those on his list, "useless, politically disgraceful, and downright foolish." For all the good points they may have, they've done at least one thing that merits being denounced, at least by someone. That doesn't mean they're necessarily bad people, although some of them come pretty close. We're not trying to attack them personally, even though many of them have no reservations about doing so. Some of us may even venture a few constructive suggestions as to how our honorees can avoid a repeat appearance on next year's list.

Happy reading - and if you're so inspired, feel free to email us with your list of enemies. As long as none of us show up on it, we'll be glad to share.


If you're a regular reader of Bobby's columns, you'll recognize many of the names he offered. Whether they're from the world of politics, sports, entertainment, or "culture," they all have one thing in common - they've made the list based on merit.

Barack Obama - Chicago-style politics and now the idea of seizing political opponents who contributed to his opponents (see the automakers; Wagoner and Nardelli gave to Romney). The late Peter Tomarken would probably have said to America, (Foghorn sounds) "Stop at an Obammy!"

Leo Hindrey Jnr - Even though he owns the Nelson Bible publishing house, he is responsible for corruption (Daschle's tax situation) and printing bad theology.

Rick Warren - The kingpin of the life enhancement instead of God's Word "churches" that are too prevalent anywhere.

Luc Bondy - What he did to Tosca.

GIA Music, Oregon Catholic Press, EMI, Universal, Warner Music, Kona (Integrity) - For bad church music that has no doctrine or theology.

Nancy Pelosi - For imposing her totalitarian regime that led to Joe Wilson's complaints.

MTV - For causing the demise in morals, standards, and music. Witness the rapid demise in church music.

Title IX - For becoming a Quota Queen, making boys second-class citizens in our schools, and telling boys there is no place for them to play sports because the percentage of boys to girls in the school is not enough.

Al Franken - For helping South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama become irrelevant in the Senate.
Susan G. Komen Foundation - For promoting Pink Sunday in churches to fund them. To declare Pink Sunday relevant and supporting abortion is not a church.

ESPN - For the idea of bad sports coverage, and to make college football for the worse by the premium television package that I believe will lead to pay-per-view BCS Championship Football. And what was with the crazy Monday Night Football gimmick of Bocephus en español during the opening?


Judie's list also includes names from the world of opera and sports. It's short, but to the point. She upbraids:

Peter Gelb, who simultaneously brought thousands of viewers to the Metropolitan Opera thorugh HD transmissions and gave them nothing to see.

Mike Hill, the ESPN announcer who helps each night to ruin the English language with his mispronunciations of words beginning with "ST" by inserting an "H" in between. Got that shtraight?

And, of course, a woman who truly desrves to be denounced - Oprah Winfrey [only Elvis goes by one name around here], for making men believe that she knows what women think.

[Well, Judie, now she knows what at least one woman thinks.]


Are we having fun yet? Yes, we know, too much of anything - even an enemies list - isn't necessarily a good thing. That's why you'll have to wait for part 2. Hope you can stand the suspense. And for those of you who haven't seen your names pop up yet - well, you've still got at least twenty-four hours to mend your ways.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The "Triumph" of Leni Riefenstahl

By Paul Drew

Since I didn't have anything for you on Opera Wednesday this week, I thought I'd dip into the past for this column from 2006. Hopefully I'll be back with some new material this week.
Finally, Riefenstahl.

It's been so long since I started this thread that's it's difficult to recall what the point of it all was supposed to be. (And I'm glad I haven't been kicked off the blog for being so late in getting this up!)

But this whole discussion started with the death of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf last month. As was mentioned back then, virtually every obit of the great opera star mentioned her past association with the Nazi party in WW2 Germany. And I supposed it's a natural segueway, once you've talked about Schwarzkopf, to look at the lives of two other prominent German artists: Leni Riefenstahl and Richard Wagner. (Günter Grass doesn't really count, since he wasn't part of my original plan and, anyway, I've already talked about him enough.)

And in looking at their lives, we continue to be drawn to the central question of the discussion: what is the relationship between the artist and the art? As Roger Ebert has noted, it raises the “classic question of the contest between art and morality: Is there such a thing as pure art, or does all art make a political statement?"

Leni Riefenstahl was one of the great film documentarians of the 20th century. From Wikipedia: (I'll quote liberally here, since I have no desire to get this blog tied up in a plagerism accusation:

Riefenstahl's techniques, such as moving cameras, the use of telephoto lenses to create a distorted perspective, aerial photography, and revolutionary approach to the use of music and cinematography, have earned Triumph recognition as one of the greatest propaganda films in history. [...] The film was popular in the Third Reich and elsewhere, and has continued to influence movies, documentaries, and commercials to this day, even as it raises the question over the dividing line between "art and morality."

But, as you might have gathered from the above paragraph, there’s that Nazi thing again. Of all Riefenstahl's documentaries, none is perhaps as famous - and infamous - as Triumph of the Will. It is a magnificent, terrible film of a horrible story - the Nazis and their Nuremberg rallies during the '30s. And in telling that horrible story, it also ensured that filmmaking would never be the same again.

Film historians have seen Riefenstahl's influence in movies ever since. Star Wars, Citizen Kane, Gladiator, Lord of the Rings - all bear the marks of Riefenstahl's style. The famous opening scene of Triumph, in which the camera moves through the clouds to capture an aerial shot of the city of Nuremberg (to the music of Wagner, naturally) must have influenced Wim Wenders' opening of Wings of Desire. The sports documentarian Bud Greenspan, one of the finest filmmakers of the 20th century (Ken Burns could take a chapter from him), considers her one of the greats.

It's an assertion few would dispute, in the academic sense. But can’t you detect just the smallest bit of embarrassment whenever one praises the work of Riefenstahl? True, Triumph of the Will is a staple of many “best all-time” lists, but there’s this sense that even when we praise Riefenstahl, we must immediately apologize or explain away the praise, lest we fall under guilt-by-association. The closer we get to her work, the more we edge away from it. It’s not likely you’d hear Seinfeld emerge from the theatre saying, “It’s about Nazis! Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” (Warning: Do not insert any Soup Nazi jokes here.)

No, you’ll never hear anyone say there’s nothing wrong with being a Nazi. In our time the Nazi brand is, as I've said before, the Scarlet Swastika, an accusation so accursed that its use has become widespread, indiscriminate, a self-parody. And yet it is a charge that carries power, a negative sort of prestige, a stigma that taints whatever it touches. And we ask ourselves if we should be ashamed by our admiration and praise of the artist’s work, if we can morally separate the ideology of the artist from the art itself.

Riefenstahl’s work does not allow us that luxury. The subject matter of Triumph of the Will is in your face, and you can't ignore it. As the Wikipedia bio puts it, "it is nearly impossible to separate the subject from the artist behind it." She “claimed that she was naïve about the Nazis when she made it and had no knowledge of Hitler's genocidal policies. She also pointed out that Triumph contains ‘not one single anti-Semitic word’“; but it is difficult (although not impossible) to conceive of her as both ingénue and naïve girl, the brilliant and innovative filmmaker who was still a babe in the woods when it came to world politics. This is what she would have liked you to believe, but her actions often belie that contention. Roger Ebert points out, "the very absence of anti-Semitism in Triumph of the Will looks like a calculation; excluding the central motif of almost all of Hitler's public speeches must have been a deliberate decision to make the film more efficient as propaganda." And so, given all this, we’re tempted to see in her films things that aren’t really there, images that dance before us like the ghosts from black & white TV. Only these are real, the ghosts of Hitler’s victims that only become clearer as the picture is drawn into sharper focus.

Therefore, as viewers do we punish the filmmaker because of the subject of her films? Do we hold Riefenstahl accountable for her Nazi associations? And if so, do we also apply the same standards to Sergei Eisenstein, who exploited Russian nationalistic pride in Potemkin and Alexander Nevsky? (Yes, I know Eisenstein had his quarrels with the authorities, but large families often do that.) Eisenstein is often ranked in the pantheon of filmmaking, Potemkin appearing on most ten-best lists, but I rarely see him carrying around the baggage that accompanies Riefenstahl. And we won't even get into the almost-paranoid, conspiracy-laden propaganda of liberal filmmakers like Oliver Stone?

Now, it's true that Eisenstein wasn't a documentarian as was Riefenstahl. Nonetheless, his movies were fraught with nationalistic fervor, clearly designed to influence and inspire the viewer. (The Communists, in fact, thought Eisenstein worried too much about things like art and budgeting, and wanted even more propaganda in the content.) As for Stone - well, we know most of his films have an agenda.

Some like to pair up Triumph of the Will with Frank Capra’s direct answer to them, the Why We Fight series of films. (And, by the way, given how anti-American Hollywood has become, it would have been interesting to see how Capra's reputation might have suffered had he been young enough when he made this series. Surely in the Hollywood of the late 60s through today, he would have been seen as a toady for the government.)

In fact, however, the true companion to Riefenstahl’s masterwork might be D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation. This truly was a landmark of filmmaking, but most today remember it only as a racist piece of propaganda, glorifying the Ku Klux Klan. True, perhaps, but Griffith's influence, like Riefenstahl's, cannot be denied. True also that Griffith, like Riefenstahl, is held at arms' length by most.

So what's the point here? It's not an apology for Leni Riefenstahl (or D.W. Griffith, for that matter). It's merely an observation on how we allow our politics to color the way we see things. As I've asserted in the past, it is hard to believe that Riefensthal would be held in such contempt had the Triumph in question been Lenin's October Revolution.

As we watch the ridiculous accusations of Nazism that are so commonplace nowadays across the political blogosphere, and perhaps most absurdly from the Muslims who brand the Jews with the contemptuous tag, we are reminded that Nazism is the singular golden sin, the mark from which its bearers cannot recover. It is reminiscent of the "unforgivable sin" that Christ warns us of, though most of those wielding it would fail to recognize that analogy since they don't recognize the source.

National Socialism keeps us in a trance, as perhaps it should. It holds the figures of history hostage, as perhaps it might. But we do not diminish the horror of the truth it represents to assert also that the word "Nazi" is the crown jewel of political correctness, the golden spike to be driven through the heart, the one word that guarantees the discrediting of its intended. Some would wear the title as a badge of honor, an ideology to be embraced, others are shamed with a scarlet letter and their lips burn with Judas' kiss of betrayal, and still others feel the sting of its indiscriminant application.

But while Schwarzkopf shrugged off the label, and Riefenstahl tried to run from it, Richard Wagner might have welcomed it with open arms. But that's for another time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wish I'd Written That

By Bobby Chang

I think Sarah Palin should just challenge (Barack) Obama to a showdown in one of those extreme fighting cages in 2012. It would be a lot easier and less painful (to the rest of us) than a dirty campaign. Plus, I have no doubt she'd kick our pantywaist President's (bravo) to Alaska and back."

-- Jennifer Crawford, on her blog.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Coming Soon!

The Demise of Columbus Day

By Bobby Chang

A few years ago, while reading about the fringe activity of the multiculturalist agenda, I learned that the celebration of one Cristóbal Colón and his group arriving in the New World five hundred seventeen years ago this day has been hijacked and ordered removed from calendars, similar to what is happening with Christmas, Easter, Abraham Lincoln's Birthday, and George Washington's Birthday (the last two removed by Congress in 1968), and other days of faith, and even days of American heroes.

When schools now degrade Columbus, Washington, Franklin, and heroes of both faith and the country, and instead promote Communist dictators, activist union leaders who fit a certain ethnicity group, activists promoting forms of deviancy who have died (and are remembered in a bill in Congress that would make them a protected class), what are we teaching our children? This is a continuation of the “multicultural” claptrap in schools that is designed to weaken this country and have a new generation believe in the heroes of liberal activists and ignore our Founding Fathers and other true heroes, such as Ronald Reagan, Douglas MacArthur, Norman Schwarzkoph, and David Petraeus, in favour of people that fit the liberal agenda such as Barbara Lee, Cindy Sheehan, Jeanette Rankin, Harvey Milk, and Matthew Shepard.

The demise of Columbus Day parades, Columbus Day holidays, and the lack of reverence in the Niña, Piñta, and Santa Maria are examples of what has gone wrong. Worse yet, we now have protests of racism and cruelty when talking about him, yet we celebrate Harvey Milk, and we never hear people discuss the type of activism he promoted that has given us absurdities such as Goodridge (the case in Massachusetts that led to courts using foreign laws to rewrite marriage to their own standards). I wonder if liberals will have us celebrate Harvey Milk and César Chávez Birthdays instead of Columbus Day and Christmas each year.

What type of country are we teaching to this generation, and has this allowed us to create a generation of extreme left-wing activists that helped elect the current President, where we glorify appeasers and those who want us dumbed down, while wiping off our map the Greatest Americans?

See Also: The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009


By Bobby Chang

Search Engines and Political Bias. While searching for the blog of Minnesota Congressman Michele Bachmann, I typed her name in a Google search. The first site that it pointed was a left-wing site that is committed to defeating Mrs. Bachmann in 13 months at the 2010 Congressional Elections. Seems editors want people to toss her out for being on the nose in political issues when the editors want more of the fringe Left in control – they'd want a two-thirds supermajority to pass treaties that surrender sovreignity to other nations. It reminded me of a Democrat political trick in 2000 in South Carolina when liberal leaders decided to cybersquat political opponents by buying domain names of potential opponents so that if you typed their name, you would instead receive a pro-DNC site designed to promote the agenda of the incumbent liberal, James Hodges, who won his election by promoting the expansion of state government with a state-run gambling operation “for the children,” for which the Palmetto State is still hurting today, as the falsehoods of promoting education has resulted in bad schools that many industries will not come to the state, as gambling as a virtue has replaced study, as money has been used to purchase new leftist books and push other teachers' union causes that keep dumbing down schools.

State-Run Gambling, Casinos, and Pete Rose. The idea that a state-run “casino” “for the children” is a virtue has created a sad state of affairs where promoting gambling has become the state's most important ideal, as states envision the state “casino” the biggest revenue maker in the state, more than any industry. What is even worse is we see state-run “casinos” advertise at sports stadia and both radio and television broadcasts across the country alongside Indian and regular casinos. Wasn't it twenty years ago Pete Rose was banned from baseball for his involvement in betting on his own team, and ninety years ago eight members of the Chicago White Sox were involved in a betting scandal at the World Series that would take 86 more years before they won another championship? What would it say today if Pete Rose is banned from the Hall of Fame for betting on his own team, but today's baseball teams are advertising state-run and private casino gambling in the ballparks? A visit to Turner Field on Peachtree Weekend this year proved my worst fear, as I observed the first-base side of the stadium had advertising for an Indian (or as G. Gordon Liddy says, aborigine) casino. Why are stadiums advertising for state-run or other forms of casino gambling when players are told they cannot participate in gambling events?

Media Bias. The Miss America Organisation announced Rush Limbaugh to be a judge at the 2010 pageant, set for January 30 (8 PM EST, TLC). Something just doesn't cut it with it being in Las Vegas, just like the NHL Awards (moved from Toronto) or the NASCAR Sprint Cup banquet (moved from New York). I'm sick of seeing Las Vegas get everything and it seems we are now seeing how gambling is a virtue since Las Vegas is the capital of major events. The Las Vegas Sun even wrote some politically charged leftist slants in the article discussing the rumours. Of course, Mr. Limbaugh as a judge at the pageant should be different than what happened when the Trump Organisation, General Electric, and Vivendi's Miss Universe organisation had when Mario Lavandeira posted a loaded question at the pageant in order to give people who opposed his deviancy agenda a zero. It just doesn't look right to see Miss America held in “hype week” (the week before the Super Bowl) on a basic cable channel in Las Vegas. I miss the days of it being held in September in Atlantic City just two weeks after the Sprint Cup race in September in Florence*.

Speaking of Loaded Questions. A report on The O'Reilly Factor noted Harry Connick Jnr had criticised a “minstrel” show on Nine's Hey, Hey, It's Saturday (Australia) by putting a zero score on the performer. The “minstrel” show in Australia had a group perform in blackface to a Jackson Five routine and one “whiteout” artist performing similarly to the late Michael Jackson in a tribute to the performance on the show many years earlier. What they did not know was they had a Louisiana native as a judge who has learned the minstrel shows are not norms in the States, and they learned cultural differences mattered. And as for Michael Jackson, I cannot believe the local downtown group has a “Michael Jackson tribute” concert set Tuesday, and a dance troupe will have a “Thriller” dance for their Halloween show. Give me a break, I'm tired of the Michael Jackson worship!

Stupid Advertising. An ad that appeared on certain ESPN Web sites posted by the Homestead-Miami Speedway for NextEra Energy Resources SpeedJam (a Grand-Am and IRL race weekend) this weekend has a static image with the IRL logo and the phrase “Sexier Drivers” for people to buy tickets to the event. Here we go again, another group advertising “sex sells” by making a clear reference to all three women of the Indy Racing League, two of which have made risqué pictures, and the third (in her full Nomex uniform) presenting an Indianapolis 500 Showcase (including doing her own speaking parts) on her home-state The Price Is Right (The host and announcer are both from the Cleveland area).

Thought Crimes. The Congressional supermajorities have decided that thought police deserves to be in the Defense Authorisation Bill for Fiscal Year 2010. I've seen this trick before, used on the minimum wage increase of 40% that has caused this economic crisis, and now they are trying to make “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” protected classes, this in essence making child molesters a protected class, and to make the preaching of God's Word a crime if the pastor makes an attempt at saying the truth of sexual deviancy. We've engrained a generation of youth into the idea that alternative lifestyles are legal, and now we are doing everything to push their lifestyles. There will be a similar tactic in another authorisation bill to force us into state-run Communist-style inefficient “health care” that will create rationing and inferior care. And don't forget about the support of ACORN, who stole Norm Coleman's legitimately won seat in the Senate and handed it over to Al Franken to help create the No Debate No Discussion Obama Is The Gospel Congress that makes too many Southern states irrelevant.

Pink Sunday. To a man, pink symbolises either intimidation or their cars. The former was used by Hayden Fry at Iowa by painting Kinnock Stadium's visiting locker room pink, and today has become part of sports lore. Some coaches thought pink would intimidate an opponent, so they would paint (as some stadia have done) the visitor's hallway or locker room pink. The latter is a reference to the “drag racing for pink slips,” (vehicle titles were printed on a pink slip of paper), and led to the inspiration of the title of the illegal street-style drag racing Pinks franchise, and also Gas Money (where the actual retail price of the car is on a pink slip) on The Price Is Right.

Now churches are promoting October 25 as “Pink Sunday” for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, an organisation that has drawn the ire of this blog in the past. At a prayer meeting Wednesday night, we were informed of the Pink Sunday gimmick, wanting everyone to wear pink. When the younger generation is familiar with just tee-shirts of every sports team is suitable church clothing, they will not have any problem fitting with the “in” crowd with pink tee-shirts, especially in a society that believes suits are out and there should be no dress code..

But to betray Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is something I cannot find myself supporting, and having associated myself with the South Carolina Citizens for Life since college, including two National Right to Life banquets, and having met Kathy Troccoli, Steve Mosher, Olivia Gans, Norma McCorvey, Jill Stanek, Vera Lord, Duncan Hunter (senior and junior), Jennifer O'Neill, Wanda Franz, and other champions of the pro-life movement in my twelve years of association with the SCCL and NRLC, I cannot understand why churches think Pink Sunday should be supported when it goes against the Sanctity of Human Life, but considering the day is no longer observed by the White House of Congress, what gives when we're promoting Planned Parenthood at churches but not the Sanctity of Human Life?

* NOTE: Darlington Raceway is in the eponymous Florence suburb, and part of the Florence-Myrtle Beach television market.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Opera Wednesday

By Mitchell Hadley

Now here's a group I could join! David Pryce-Jones outlines exactly what's wrong with today's opera producers:

The destruction of opera has been the aim of opera-house managers and producers for a good many years now. It isn't too difficult an objective. Ignore the composer's intention in order to insult and offend the audience, which in any case has no right of reply. Recast the setting to make some present-day social point, most usually to do with sexuality. Design brutalist sets, for instance furnishing a Renaissance palace with tank traps or oil drums, and if at all possible getting in some reference to Auschwitz, with barbed wire or striped prisoner garb. The predictability is boring beyond boredom.

The house managers and producers do all this for fear of being taken as elitists, catering to people with a taste for an art form requiring appreciation and knowledge, and therefore not for everyone.

Predictably, Pryce-Jones didn't think much of the Met's new Tosca, about which we opined last week:

The poverty of imagination at work here is truly stupefying. Puccini was famously angry with whoever took liberties with his scores; he made clear how he wanted this supreme opera to be staged, and small-minded men like Gelb and Bondy do not know better than the great composer. Tosca finishes with a firing squad and a summary execution. My Association is taking note.

This isn't to say that opera has to remain static. I must disclose an idea I've had for some time, that of staging Romeo & Juliet in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War. As it is, the actions of these two often seem particularly folish as I've pointed out before, young people have always been impetuous but Shakespeare's young lovers have to be two of the dumbest in literature) - but if you put them in the middle of a dull, lifeless Communist dictatorship that impetuousness starts to make sense. After all, why not take a mad chance at love, they might reason, when there's really nothing else worth living for? And the two warring families, who always seem little more than petty and vindictive, perfectly symbolize the crumbling corruption of the Soviet regime. Throughout the opera the Berlin Wall is seen, from different angles, far away or close up.

In fact, the final scene could take place inside the tunnel through which the two had planned to escape to the West. We chuckle ruefully when Romeo thinks Juliet is dead and takes the poison, knowing that what he really needs is for someone to remind him that there are other fish in the sea. However, if he feels her death leaves him lost in the grey sea of hopelessness that is Communist Germany - well, who couldn't blame him for feeling as if there's nothing left to live for?

The political subtext is there - an indictment of the dehumanization of Communism - but I like to think that this staging really does bring some logic and clarity to what is (in my opinion) one of Shakespeare's lesser efforts. It's still all about the trials and tribulations of young love, but at least we've given them some motivation for their actions. Call it method opera, if you will.

Alas, I have little hope that this production will ever see the light of day; not when Communism is implicitly the heavy. If I'd found a way to make Ronald Reagan the villain, I'm sure it would be snapped up in a moment. Although having Anna Netrebko in the cast would certainly help.


Speaking of Tosca, two things: first, a particularly good piece on what's wrong with the Met's new production. (Money quote: "The failure is basically the result of a supremely talented star soprano, a director, and a designer set to work on a piece for which they are intellectually, aesthetically, and temperamentally unsuited. The result is a dull hodge-podge of unconvincing effects in an unattractive package.")

Second, we were in Chicago over the weekend to review the Lyric Opera's production of Tosca, starring Deborah Voigt and James Morris in the original Zeffirelli staging (including the sets). You'll be reading about that shortly, along with a look at the Minnesota Opera's new staging of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, and the Minnesota Orchestra's Russian Festival.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Crossing Over

By Mitchell Hadley

A bit belated, but it was fifty years ago last Friday that this program made its debut:

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Scarlet Letterman

By Mitchell Hadley

One has to admit a certain satisfaction in seeing David Letterman, whose nasty, smirking brand of “humor” mocked people for the better part of three decades, get caught in one of his own Stupid Human Tricks. Heaven forbid what he might have had to say if one of his favorite targets – Sarah Palin, say, or Bill O’Reilly – had been caught pursuing the same kind of hanky-panky.

After hearing the story come out on Friday, Judie turned to me and asked what the big deal was. With all the water that’s passed under the dam over the years, it’s hard to imagine many people getting worked up over all this. She’s probably right, although there are some intriguing angles still to be pursued, such as the question feminists (and human resources departments) love to pose, namely whether there can ever be truly consensual sex in an employer-employee relationship. Then too, there’s the question as to whether Letterman and his abrasive personality have offended the wrong people at some point in time, weakening the good will coming from his years of service at CBS.

The viewers are sure to have something to say in all this. Letterman was always seen as being far more cutting edge than “Vanilla Jay” Leno, but his is an aging hipsterism now that has become painful to watch (when one can even watch it), and on that front he faces challenges not only from Conan O’Brian but from his own network running mate, Craig Ferguson (who would probably be having a field day with this were he not an employee of Letterman’s production company). Letterman, like Woody Allen before him, may come out of all this looking like a lecherous, dirty old man.

As a matter of personal curiosity, I’m intrigued by the point Letterman’s camp repeatedly stresses, that he was not married at the time these dangerous liaisons took place. This might be a more powerful point in Letterman’s favor were it not for the fact that he was still involved in a long-term, presumably committed relationship with the woman who bore him a child and whom he later married. Does it make a difference whether the woman on whom you’re cheating is your wife or simply your longtime companion and the mother of your son? I wouldn’t think so, but then I’ve been accused in the past of being hopelessly old-fashioned, so I don’t know. I guess when the spark goes out, it doesn’t matter whether you’re married or not.

Look, nobody wants to pile on someone who’s obviously been hurt by what has happened, and who may well be aware of the number of people he himself has hurt through his actions. But eventually everyone has to pay the piper, and for David Letterman, the man who’s made a career out of laughing at the misfortune of others, the piper soon may be playing his tune. Right now my money would be on him hanging on, but not without scars. He’s in his 60s, and there’s been speculation he would step down when his contract expires. That decision may now be out of his hands, as this little contretemps would certainly make it easier for CBS to decide to ease him out, citing budget concerns or something equally innocuous while casting their eye on someone like Jimmy Kimmel.

But all is not lost, Dave. After all, you’ve been doing an excellent job as a paid apologist for the Obama administration, so if things really go south, I’m sure your friend in Washington can find a place for you. Just watch out for those interns in the White House – word has it getting involved with them can get kind of messy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Wish I'd Written That

By Mitchell Hadley

If you sit down by the riverbank and wait long enough, you will see the bodies of your enemies float by."

Patrick Jane in The Mentalist

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Headline News

By Paul Drew

Mark Steyn loved this headline, and I agree with him one hundred percent:

Andy Williams Accuses Barack Obama Of Following Marxist Theory

No, it's not by The Onion, and no, Andy Williams isn't kidding. Read more about it here. And in the meantime, let's celebrate with one of Andy's biggest hits.

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