UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Manny Klausner, the California lawyer who helped Matt Drudge defeat the politically protected lawsuit filed by the fellow we remember as Sidney Blumenthal, enjoys life immensely. The other day he passed around the following press release. (And, no, Sidney, it’s not about you.):
February 19, 2002
ATHLETE WITHOUT COMPELLING PERSONAL DRAMA EXPELLED FROM OLYMPICS
Skier Concealed Adversity-Free Past From Officials
(NBC) A member of the U.S. Olympic ski team was disqualified from competition today when it was learned that he did not have a sufficiently compelling human storyline to exploit on the NBC telecast of the worldwide sporting event.
Tom Bergen, the expelled skier, was not raised by a single mother, never had a career-threatening injury, and did not overcome a personal tragedy of any kind before making the Olympic ski team, U.S. Olympic officials revealed today.
“Had Tom been involved in an organ donation, as either a donor or a recipient, that would have been acceptable to us,” ski team spokesman Sandy Harrell told reporters. “However, he was not.” According to sources close to the ski team, Bergen had concealed the fact that he comes from an intact middle class family who never lost their home to a flood, tornado, or typhoon.
But what may have sealed Bergen’s doom, sources said, was his utter lack of a gravely ill family member to win a medal for. “Tom did his best to hide his background from team officials,” one source said. “But when the truth came out, he was finished.”
Speaking to reporters in Salt Lake City, NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol was even less charitable, terming Bergen’s actions “a reprehensible betrayal.” “We do our best to check out all of the athletes to make sure that their backgrounds are full of compelling human drama, but we can’t catch everything,” Ebersol said. “This is a case of one really bad guy exploiting the system.”
And that’s the way it is.
WORLD WAR WHAT? Last week legendary “Commentary” editor Norman Podhoretz delivered a stirring lecture at the American Enterprise Institute’s annual dinner, where he was honored for a lifetime of literary, editorial, and political engagement. For his troubles, Podhoretz was described by the Washington Post’s gossip writer Lloyd Grove — in his longer version — as a “neoconservative gadfly” who in a “saber-rattling” address issued a “call to arms against liberal critics of President Bush and the war on terrorism.” The paper offered no other analysis.
Which is too bad, because Podhoretz remains unfailingly compelling and provocative. Those less nihilistically inclined that Lloyd Grove will find countless points to agree with or even more likely to disagree with in his remarks. To take but one example: Is Podhoretz right to suggest that the Cold War should be known as World War III, and that the War on Terrorism is World War IV?
Does calling the Cold War WWIII do justice to how the West ultimately prevailed without seeing the world go up in a nuclear cloud? Does the notion of WWIV capture the stakes, risks and dangers we currently face? Or does it merely sound melodramatic?
More important, does loose application of the term world war do an injustice to what we do know about the unmatched bloodiness and brutality of the first and second World Wars? It could just as easily be argued that one mark of the Cold War is that it was just the opposite of a world war. Similarly, the War on Terrorism is designed to root out forces that only wish they had the stature to unleash a world war. As a great peace-loving nation we’re not about to allow matters to move to that stage. Our hand having been forced, we’re now enforcing a Pax Americana. China or Russia would have to join forces with Al Qaeda & Co. for this to become a world war, and that’s the last thing we can expect to happen.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?