Here in the Filter we happily spend most of our hours wading through the
endless tide of pay-per-view extravaganzas, expert panels, Hard Copy
exposes, viewer polls, E-Channel puff pieces, and Barbara Walters exclusives
— in short, all the choreographed spectacles that pass for world-history
these days. Most of the time we’re so anesthetized to the synthetic drone
of the mediasphere that we bristle when our friends in the cultural elite
start talking about pseudo-events and simulation theory. After all, Daniel
Boorstin may have had a point in 1961 when he portrayed an American society
threatened by the “menace of unreality,” but of course he hadn’t had the
pleasure and privilege of watching an episode of Cops back then. As any
media junkie will tell you, today’s menace is the new regime of “reality
programming” — which once meant a jostling hand-held camera in the back of
a squad car, but now means a helicopter shot of a white van, driving either
to the Mexico border or to Brentwood, it doesn’t really matter which.

In the OJ Age, Boorstin’s pseudo-events are beginning to look like the Real
Thing, relics of an earlier, more reality-bound era, back when media
spectacles had at least some tenuous connection to — scarequotes please —
“actual life.” It’s now clear that the OJ trial has raised (or is it
lowered?) the stakes tremendously with the saga’s apt denouement: last
week’s canceled interview with Dateline NBC.

News of the non-interview spread like wildfire through the infosphere,
consuming the already hypnotic story of Bryant Gumbel’s sulk-at-home temper
tantrum. The canceled interview should probably stand as the apex of
end-of-millennium media navel-gazing — only this time around, there wasn’t
a navel in sight. Think about it: on that auspicious night, CBS and CNN
actually led their nightly broadcasts with the gripping news of a
programming change at another channel. Two of the three networks considered
the canceling of a TV interview to be the single most important event in
the world that day. (ABC, remarkably enough, opted for the Medicare battle
in its opening slot.) Sure, we’re accustomed to the hall-of-mirrors vertigo
of post-modern media coverage, but the Dateline fiasco managed to eliminate
the self from self-referential, leaving some of us with the unsettling
suspicion that Jean-Luc Godard had at last commandeered the media
apparatus. In the aftermath of this travesty, Boorstin’s canonical study
may need some retrofitting: who needs pseudo-events when you can now thrall
to the many-splendored pleasures of the non-event?

Of course, when there’s a non-event unfolding in our midst, you can be sure
Larry King will be there to cover it. Thursday’s show was a real treat —
partially due to the presence of Tom Shales, who seemed gleefully aware of
the absurdist drama he’d paneled himself into. As you might expect, a few
not-so-surprise callers fought their way through the phone banks on this
night to remember, most notably Andrew Lack, President of NBC News. Lack
managed to use the word “straightforward” ten times in five minutes —
usually a dead giveaway that the speaker is not being altogether
straightforward in his account of things.

With only minutes to go, New York Times reporter Bill Carter called in to
recount the impromptu phone interview he had conducted with The Juice just
hours before, an interview largely devoted to OJ’s reasons for bailing out
of the Dateline conversation. At this point, every self-respecting citizen
of the mediasphere rose to their feet and screamed “the ever-widening
gyre!” while tossing their television sets out the window. Interviews about
interviews about interviews that never happened — that’s entertainment,
nineties-style. A gaggle of pundits analyzing a no-show on another network.
So much for the society of the spectacle. All we can say is that it’s a
good thing Guy Debord killed himself when he did. If he’d stuck around for
OJ, he might have never stopped throwing up.

The Unabomber saga continues to offer the most tantalizing glimpse of the
publishing world since Martin Amis had his teeth done. The big news of the
week, of course, was the joint New York Times/Washington Post publication
of the latter-day Luddite’s 35,000-word manifesto, which finally rolled off
the presses on Tuesday. The publication of the document has created a
strangely unbalanced state of affairs in the public imagination: we now
know more about the politics of an anonymous terrorist than we know about
those of the nation’s President-in-waiting, Colin Powell, whose high-profile
book tour outshadowed the bomber’s debut this week. (The Unabomber,
wherever he is, might do well to learn from Powell’s hide-in-plain-sight
strategy; as any pollster will tell you, having opinions only hinders you
in today’s personality-driven political arena.)

The truth is we haven’t read through all of the Unabomber’s anti-tech
missive, though from what we can tell it’s mainly about how hard it is to
set those damn VCR clocks. But we have spent some time relishing
smut-meister Bob Guccionne’s hysterical “public letter” in the October
Penthouse. Sleaze aficionados will definitely want to check out this issue
— only for the articles, mind you. And maybe the cover, which boldly
announces, in type draped alongside the contours of this month’s Penthouse
Pet: “The Unabomber Speaks — Bob Guccionne Responds.” Sounds like strong
stuff, right? You might imagine Guccionne denouncing the moral atrocities
of killing innocent people for public exposure, or taking issue with the
Unabomber’s naive appeals to the simpler pleasures of pre-industrial
society. You might imagine that sort of response, but — of course — you’d
be wrong. Hideously wrong.

As it turns out, the Unabomber seems to have wounded Bobby G.’s pride
during the extended publishing negotiations, by referring to Penthouse as a
less than a “respectable” magazine. You’d think even Guccionne would be
indifferent to a killer’s standard of “respectability,” but apparently the
Penthouse editor is a little, well, sensitive on this point. “Over the
years,” Guccionne protests in his response, “Penthouse has won just about
every distinguished journalistic award a magazine could win…. The
demographic mix of our audience is virtually the same as that of the New
York Times and The Washington Post, but our total readership is many more
times that of the Times and Post combined… Penthouse is one of the
biggest and most quoted magazines in the history of our industry.” From the
self-aggrandizing tone of the letter, you’d think Guccionne was pitching a
media buyer at Wieden and Kennedy, were it not for this astonishing final

There you have it: kill, maim, and terrorize, and Bob Guccionne’s the first
in line to offer you a monthly soapbox with ten million readers. If the
Unabomber is really as smart as he’s made out to be, he’ll follow Groucho
Marx on this one, and avoid any magazine that would want him as a
columnist. Frankly, it’s the “respectable” thing to do.

As the affirmative action debate shudders rightward, forcing its defenders
to disavow fixed numerical targets, Wired magazine has devised a quota
system unrivaled in its efficiency. It hardly bears mentioning that the
magazine heavily favors WM as subjects and authors, but consider this one,
telling statistic: of the 27 feature stories in the past three issues, only
two were penned by women — Esther Dyson in both cases — and one of these
was a Newt interview, with most of the words coming from the loquacious
Speaker himself.

That’s why we were particularly surprised to find a whopping 35 double
x-chromosome bearers in the August issue. Why so many women? Turns out
they form a line of bare-legged Rockettes, wearing sequined lyotards and
top hats, and illustrating the wonders of Sun’s new S3 MP chip and network.
Even allowing for a heavy dose of irony, the image hardly fits the concept.
True the Rockettes’ legs are postioned in parallel angles, left knees bent
45 degrees, toes propped suggestively on their right knees. But the purpose
of Sun’s new technology is to coordinate the different activities of the
networked computers, creating a sort of low rent version of parallel
computing, where each machine tackles a separate problem. The Rockettes, on
the other hand, are all doing the same thing; standing on one leg smiling
for the camera, frozen like manic statues for the photo-op. Like the
Ferrari ads which feature a wine bottle, a naked woman’s contours and a
car, the analogy thinly disguises a gratuitous bit of T&A.;

Recruiting women columnists or tracking down less visible women in
technology would no doubt be beyond the pale for this libertarian monthly.
Instead, Wired serves up an adolescent boy (call it techno-phallic)
sensibility. And in this context, the Rockettes read as a poster of
frustrated lust. In all fairness, Wired does exhibit a dash of PoMo
self-consciousness by publishing the occasional disgruntled letter by Video
Grrrrl or some other Cyber Chick; and finding women contributors in an
industry so dominated by the less-than-fair sex presents a challenge to
even the most enthusiastic editor. But given the gender gap that spans
Wired’s two-and-half year existence, the magazine should at the very least
be sensitive to the visual metaphors it draws with women’s bodies.
Rockettes cannot be forced by sleight of digital doctoring or wishful
association to signify parallel computing. In another context, perhaps, we
might have over-looked the weak analogy between high-kicking babes and
microchips. But in the pages of Wired, those prettified Rockettes amidst a
sea of men come across as both startling and irrelevant, like those
scantily clad girls who jump out of cakes at stag parties.

We’ve been feasting heavily on the Monday business section of the New York
Times, with its new experimental layout and relentless coverage of the
“information industries.” Being informed and industrious ourselves, we’ve
taken to telling people casually that the Monday Times is far superior to
the bloated, pulp-fest of the Sunday edition, now that the gray lady has
devoted an entire section to the high-tech world. But in the spirit of
biting the hand that feeds, we’d like to register our dismay at the
typographic catastrophe that graced last Monday’s Business Day.

First a little background. The usually constrained graphic designers at the
Times have been tinkering with different mastheads for the past two months,
ever since the new, cyberized version of the business section hit the
presses. One week featured a modestly pixelated rendition of the “Business
Day” header, while another edition sported one of those ubiquitous @ signs
at the top of the page. This Monday, however, the Windows 95 hoopla clearly
overwhelmed the Times design team. As a nod to the extensive Microsoft
coverage contained within, the masthead replaced the “d” in “Business Day”
with the Win95 logo.

We’re resigned to the inevitability of product placement in Hollywood films
(“The Net,” for instance, looks to be a two-hour Macintosh ad), but seeing
commercial products pitched from a New York Times banner really rubs us the
wrong way. After all, this is a paper notorious for its stodgy formalities:
it once studiously referred to the singer Meat Loaf as “Mr. Loaf”
throughout a concert review. Sure, it makes sense to devote an entire
section to Win95 and its ramifications; it’s a big story, with major
trickle-down effects for the industry as a whole. And we’re happy to see
the Times loosen things up aesthetically. But inserting a corporate logo
into a masthead is another matter altogether. The line between the
high-tech press and the corporations it covers is already thin enough, and
a product with $150 million of marketing muscle behind it doesn’t need any
free advertising. Perhaps this is only the first glimpse of a larger, more
ambitious redesign at The Times, and we’ll soon see the Nike swoop propped
up alongside the gothic letterforms on the front page. What’s that motto
again? All the news that’s fit to plug?

We will never know if Head Mouseketeer Michael Eisner and Cap Cities/ABC
CEO Thomas Murphy were holding hands under Larry King’s table during their
July 31 appearance, but they were gushing like eloped newlyweds (“you tell
the story”, “no, you”) coming back to their forgiving families. Their message
was simple: it doesn’t matter that this merger raises serious questions
about future diversity in mass media, given its unparalleled consolidation
of entertainment production and distribution — the point is we love each
other, damnit.

Who else besides David Hasselhoff is mighty enough to slay this rough beast
slouching towards Burbank? Certainly not Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose
Dreamworks troika with David Geffen and Steven Spielberg signed a deal with
ABC seven months ago. As we write Katzenberg tools around Malibu, weeping
into his cell phone, blasting the Who: “Meet the new boss/ Same as the old

Eisner was at ABC when the then-dubbed Almost Broadcasting Network broke
out of the pack in the Seventies, led by Roone Arledge, the P.T. Barnum of
modern sports television, and Horshack of Welcome Back, Kotter. His
Saturday morning programming genius unleashed the Osmond Brother’s
cartoon on an unsuspecting world, and Eisner, in the wake of the merger, has
promised more “family programming” in the Distopic future. What that will
mean to a man who likens a $19 billion corporate merger to marrying a blood
relative perhaps only James Dickey, author of Deliverance, can answer.

What the merger means the world will soon discover (pending congressional
approval), for if Eisner has a motto, it’s “think globally, act globally,”
and it’s clear that the campaign map on his wall shows a planet comprised
of three-fourth’s water and one-fourth potential theme park. Responding
to a congressman’s fears on ABC’s Nightline (where Cokie Roberts resolved
the dilemma of throwing your boss softball questions by setting some of
them on a tee, eliminating the conflict from conflict of interest) Eisner
claimed he has no interest in phone companies, despite the fact that Disney
has current deals with three.

Mostly it’s been a swoonfest in the aftermath of the second-largest merger
in U.S. history, reported more like a royal wedding than a business deal,
the kind of coverage the other Michael and Lisa Marie probably expected.
America pays a lot of lip service to importance of small business but
there’s as much Willy Loman pathos as Horatio Alger mythos at this late
date. Eisner was born to rule and rule he does. The idea of a king may be
anathema to the American ideal, but what’s wrong with a prince or a baron?
Are these new information juggernauts really leading us to the oft-promised
techno-utopia? Or will we be serfing the net in a new cyber-feudalism? Is
Walt grinning or spinning in his cryogenic chamber?

You’d think Newsweek would have had enough of flattering accused terrorists
after its stagy photo-op and intimate one-on-one with Timothy McVeigh a few
weeks ago. But this week’s issue makes it clear that the road to a Newsweek
cover is lined with fertilizer and plastique. While we weren’t exactly
surprised to find the composite drawing of the Unabomber glowering at us
from the supermarket racks, we were a bit taken aback by the psychological
profile of the cover-bomber contained within. Consider the following
excerpts: “he is very intelligent… clearly in touch with everyday
reality.” The Unabomber’s notorious letters are “preachy, chatty, ironic,
and even subtly self-mocking. They are surely the most remarkable letters
any serial killer ever wrote.” (If only that dog that “spoke” to Son of Sam
had been able to type!) And then this: “The Unabomber, in his letter to the
New York Times, makes violence seem almost reasonable: how else, he says,
could he get his Luddite views considered by major news organizations?” How
else could a lonely, tree-loving psychopath get his portrait splashed
across the cover of a national periodical, and his missives reviewed with
language usually reserved for the latest Philip Roth novel? How else

Newsweek’s genuflections aside, the Unabomber’s publish-or-perish mandate
has raised some important questions about the role of the Fourth Estate in
today’s media society. Most commentators have hemmed and hawed over the
question of whether the Times should publish the 35,000-word anti-tech
manifesto. But on This Week with David Brinkley (our favorite Sunday
morning pundit-fest), George Will flatly declared that the document should
be printed, no questions asked. When Sam Donaldson politely reminded Will
of his lifelong opposition to negotiating with terrorists, the bow-tied
conservative countered with a sharp, declarative sentence: “Newspapers are
not governments.”

Well, yes, fair enough — newspapers aren’t governments. But asserting that
fact doesn’t do away with the more important issue here, an issue that the
Unabomer’s reign of terror only underscores: in contemporary American
society, the mass media are frequently more powerful than governments —
particularly when it comes to the “marketplace of ideas.” That’s why the
Unabomer is angling for an extended op-ed in the Times, and not an audience
with high-tech politicos like Al Gore or Newt Gingrich. You don’t see any
would-be revolutionaries bartering for a closed door session with the
Commerce department. Any self-respecting terrorist understands that the
direct line to the body politic runs through the arteries of mass media.
Which is precisely why the New York Times, the Washington Post, and even —
God help us — Penthouse should be subject to the same moral accountability
we ask of our government. Coverage is the gold standard in this new
information economy. The Unabomber knows it. Even Bob Guccione knows it.
So why is a media darling like George Will still clinging to these outmoded

From the way Republicans in Congress are offering up Constitutional
amendments these days, you’d think they were tax breaks. Now they’ve voted
out of committee an amendment that makes it possible to ban “the physical
desecration” of the American flag. As of June 28, the amendment passed the
full House. Not just passed, either: it sailed through, 312 to 120.
Forty-nine state legislatures have pledged allegiance to it. That means if
only 12 Democrats in the Senate join all 55 Republicans, we’ll have a
red-white-and-blue 28th Amendment before long.

The arguments against this patent free-speech infringement are painfully
familiar. The ACLU and People for the American Way have tirelessly (some
would say tediously) defended our right to torch the flag. Even the Supreme
Court has been consistently defending flag-burning. Remember the 1989 case
of Texas v. Johnson? William Brennan, last of the red-hot liberals,
forcefully wrote: “We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its
desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished
emblem represents.”

Today the question is: how did liberals get put in this political box —
forced to defend both the First Amendment and their patriotism, reduced to
uttering splendidly strained locutions like President Clinton’s assertion
that he wants “to stop flag-burning before it starts.” It all stems from
the Democrats’ surrender of the language of patriotism. This began
somewhere around Nixon’s Silent Majority speech and crystallized by
Reagan’s Morning in America campaign. Democrats became unable to convince
most voters that they loved America as much as the Republicans. When
right-wing camouflage-wearing, government-hating,
federal-building-exploding organizations are routinely called “patriotic
groups,” you know the left has lost this issue.

For years, liberal reformers — Bill Clinton among them — have championed
a reclamation of the language. The call has gone out to pepper speeches
with the vocabulary of devotion to country. Stop qualifying your
statements of pride, the reformers say; enough with the equivocations. So
why hasn’t this happened?

There is an answer. At this late date in the history of the American
experiment, gestures of patriotism have accumulated a lot of unseemly
baggage. It’s hard to invoke them without acknowledging the mischievous
purposes to which they’ve been put. (Think George Bush’s 1988 campaign.)
After all, the impulse behind the desecration amendment isn’t really to
protect a symbol; it’s to promote conformity, to make a pariah–and a
criminal–of the dissenter. That’s an impulse inimical to liberal values
(and appropriately so). When the Senate and state legislatures vote on the
flag-desecration amendment, liberals should remember what Dr. Johnson said
and refuse to number themselves among the scoundrels.

Adam Gopnik certainly gets one thing right in his combatively pro-McCartney
reading of the Beatles, which showed up in The New Yorker a few weeks ago:

Rock criticism has stumbled over the question of how to describe some
of the most simple glories of the genre. And critics like Greil Marcus
have indeed used rock’s anti-commercial, post-punk wing to prop up a
theoretical, intellectual mode of rock criticism. But there’s a larger
problem here, not unique to rock criticism: tunes are nearly impossible to
describe in objective terms, while avant-garde hurly-burly has generated
reams of prose. Melody is outside the reach of words, and melody does not
need words to validate itself. Also, once you try to isolate melody in a
musical texture, you’re left with incandescent dust. Who can explain why
“Danny Boy” resonates in the ears? That tune was an ordinary Irish folk
melody that Percy Grainger harmonized, without words–and its magic hovers
somewhere between the melody and the harmonization. I think Gopnik hits on
the same phenomenon when he writes that McCartney’s recent songs “float
like hard candies in a suet pudding.” I’m not sure precisely what he
means, but the pudding metaphor points to the elusive something that
supports melody and brings it to life. The something could be an elegant
harmonization, and it could also be a low-fi blur of noise. McCartney, in
his best days, managed both ends of the spectrum; as Gopnik’s piece duly
points out, he himself dreamed up the tuneless orchestral roar at the end
of “A Day in the Life.” A tune by itself is nothing, and so is
tunelessness. What rock criticism needs to explain (if it really wants to)
is how great songs coalesce in the space between.

All the evidence suggests that open season has been declared for
Wired-bashing. After a two year honeymoon of glowing accolades and
journalism awards, the arbiters of the zeitgeist have come under heavy
fire in the past few months. The savvy folks at the Baffler lambasted
Wired’s abject gadget fetishism in their March issue, and FEED contributor
Gary Chapman has launched a one-man campaign against the magazine’s
cooler-than-thou corporatism in the pages of The New Republic and in a
blistering exchange in the Club Wired chatroom on the Hotwired site.
(Check out Louis Rossetto’s inscrutable attempt to cast Gary as a
dyed-in-the-wool Hubert Humphrey supporter.) We’re somewhat ambivalent
about the backlash against Wired, since most of us read it devoutly. But a
recent installment in their Idees Fortes section frankly makes our hair
stand on end.

In a short polemic innocuously titled “Net Access for Next to Nothing,”
Sandy Sandfort and Duncan Frissell argue against proposals for government
subsidies for Net access with a home-brewed recipe for cheap access to the
Net. Their prescription: a used XT with no hard drive, a 2400 baud modem,
and a bares-bones e-mail and Usenet account. If that’s too pricey, they
offer a bargain basement deal of a Commodore 64, a black-and-white TV, and
a 300 baud modem. Total cost: under 50 bucks. As a cost-cutting,
do-it-yourself Popular Mechanics riff, Sandfort and Frissell’s advice has a
certain flair to it. But as a policy statement it’s a laugher. Consider
their closing argument:

This is the kind of rhetoric that makes Gingrich’s “let them eat laptops”
gaff look downright sensible. The basic argument is this: poor people
simply don’t want to be on the Net, because if they did, they’d be out
there snapping up those Commodore 64s in droves. If you’re less than
enamored at the prospect of surfing the Net (well, not the Net exactly,
but e-mail and Usenet) at 300 baud, you obviously aren’t really interested
in cyberspace at all. And the solution: better marketing, of course. Run
enough of those AT&T; “You Will” ads and you’ll convince people to jerry-rig
those second-hand XTs into shape–while they dream luxurious dreams of
sending faxes from the beach. Who needs government subsidies with this
lavish fare?

So says Courtney Love about her late husband Kurt Cobain in Kevin Sessums’s
penetrating profile (“Her white breasts, like great cakes of soap, bob
about in front of me”) in the June Vanity Fair. Love confesses to a “weird
Michael Douglas fetish…He’s older. Jewish…” and discusses Kurt’s Christ
fixation and her future home gardening plans (“I’ve got some wonderful
poppies and poppy bulbs”). Later Love’s mother, Linda Carrol, an Oregon
therapist, recalls Love’s tragic Brownie-washout youth, a ceaseless
onslaught of trauma and humiliation which Love defied by setting off on her
epic international quest for danger and adoration, “supported by a small
trust fund from her maternal grandmother.” Love calls Sessums by his first
name and mentions a part of his genitalia, and a charmed Sessums responds
with some grandiose prose poetry based loosely on a Hole show that would
make Lester Bangs roll over and pop a ‘lude in his grave.

There are, however, some important lessons to be gleaned from the article.
Number one, if you’re confused about the scope of your sexuality, don’t
expect one night with Michael Stipe to clear it all up for you. Number
two, don’t have sex with Trent Reznor, but if you do, don’t read Simone de
Beauvoir beforehand. Number three, don’t be surprised to learn that rock
stars treat their children to the same asinine head games and Disney
Kulture that regular people do. Hole may or may not kick ass but Love will
never kick her worst habit, herself, nor will we ever stop kicking
ourselves for letting Jesus die twice. Well, maybe Michael Douglas will.

Political cross-pollination is on the rise in the post-Cold-War era.
Despite the heavy partisanship of the new Congress’ first 100 days, a
number of unlikely experiments in platform swapping have sprouted up in
the last few years (think of NAFTA’s unholy alliance between Pat Buchanan
and Jesse Jackson.) The Oklahoma bombing unleashed a whole new round of
“what’s wrong with this picture?” political analysis. We had right-wing
fringe groups playing the traditional role of the Weather
Underground–albeit with the deadly efficiency the 60s radicals invariably
lacked. (Adam Gopnik, writing in the New Yorker, described this as the
“difference between the kids who paid attention in social studies, and the
ones who paid attention in shop.”) In Washington, our draft-dodging,
Vietnam-protesting Commander in Chief outlined his plans to unshackle
Federal agents, plans designed to undo legislation originally passed to
protect the civil liberties of draft dodgers and Vietnam protesters. Days
later lifelong gun-toting Republican George Bush publicly denounced the

For those of you keeping score at home, the most bewildering display of
ideological mix-and-match appeared a few weeks ago during Nightline’s
“town meeting” in Dearborn, Michigan. After an unsettling round of Q&A;
with the local citizens (many of whom subscribed to the
paging-Oliver-Stone theory that the government blew up the government
building), Ted Koppel turned his focus to the members of the Michigan
Militia in the audience–in particular Norman Olson, the Donald
Sutherlandesque head of the MM, who sat in earnest, contemplative silence
for the first half hour of the broadcast. Olson was ably shielded by the
frantic interjections of MM spokesman Ray Southwell, whose hand shot up at
every one of Koppel’s queries, like some kind of nightmare Arnold Horshack
in full camouflage regalia. Eventually Koppel broke through with an
outright taunt (“Does Mr. Olson have a capacity to speak for himself, or
do you have to speak for him?”). Olson rose gravely from his seat, and
delivered one of the most puzzling, dissonant speeches in recent media
memory. It closed with these lines, echoing, of all things, MLK’s “I have
a dream” speech:

NORMAN OLSON: Listen Ted, the Michigan Militia Corps, and
I as the commander, we have--we have come out visibly and
publicly, we've taken a tremendous risk, we have shown
Americans that they can stand up and they can speak out
against their federal government, this government that
continues to consolidate power. What we need to do is
tell the government to stop and give the power back to
the people, down to the townships, down to the counties,
down to the states. Instead of absorbing freedom from the
people, release the people, let the people go. Listen,
there was a--there was--there was a pathway, a pathway of
tears when the great Cherokee nation moved to Oklahoma.
They were destroyed. There was another pathway called
the Underground Railroad, and Sojourner Truth and that
pathway led to Michigan. And the black people that came
to Michigan escaped a tyranny. You see, there's pathways
in America, and I believe here in Michigan, I believe
there is a pathway of hope, and I believe that we, the
people of Michigan, need to stand up. We are brave,
courageous people.

We can only hope that William Bennett and Lynn Cheney will be quick to
denounce the blatant multiculturalist slant at work in Olson’s dreamy
appeal. Sojourner Truth and the Cherokee Nation? Whatever happened to
the old patriotic chestnuts, to Plymouth Rock and “give me liberty or give
me death?” Who needs the radical revisionism of the National Endowment
for the Humanities when the reactionaries are now so eager to champion
America’s dispossessed? For Mr. Olson we have only one piece of advice:
lose that Southwell character. We think Maya Angelou would be perfect for
the job.

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