The Real News of the Month

April 2004
Volume 11, Number 4 -- "The Passion" Furor

Editor: Joe Sobran
Publisher: Fran Griffin (Griffin Communications)
Managing Editor: Ronald N. Neff
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{{ Emphasis is indicated by the presence of asterisks 
around the emphasized words.}}

  -> Gibson and the New Taboos
  -> The Moving Picture (plus Exclusives to this edition)
  -> The Real World War II
  -> Crying "Wolf!" at the Lamb
Nuggets (plus Exclusives to this edition)
List of Columns Reprinted in This Issue


Gibson and the New Taboos
(page 1)

     When Mel Gibson's PASSION OF THE CHRIST was finally 
released on Ash Wednesday, the reviewers went to work. 
Most of them avoided the too-predictable charge of 
"anti-Semitism" and chose to find other excuses for 
disapproving it. The most common rap was "excessive 

     Well, yes. It's a film about what might even be 
*called* excessive violence. Gibson himself announced 
that long ago.

     The word "crucifixion" has long been immediately 
associated, in the West (formerly known as Christendom), 
with *the* Crucifixion. It stands for a single remote 
event that has been softened and stylized by iconography, 
while the countless other crucifixions of antiquity have 
been forgotten.

     The first hearers and readers of the Gospels didn't 
need a movie to tell them what a crucifixion was. They 
knew it as a familiar and horrible form of punishment. 
They understood concretely what it meant to say that 
Jesus had been crucified; no elaboration was necessary. 
For us, distance has removed both familiarity and the 
sense of horror.

     It's been Gibson's inspiration to realize that film 
is the first art form to make it possible to restore that 
horror. No previous artistic representation of Christ's 
suffering has more than suggested it. Painting, 
sculpture, drama, and music have symbolized it and 
explored its significance, sometimes movingly, but even 
previous movies based on the Gospels have never conveyed 
its actuality very vividly.

     This is exactly what Gibson decided to attempt. He 
chose to abandon the conventional decorum of Christian 
art and imagine the Crucifixion anew as a real 
crucifixion, with all its blood, agony, and humiliation. 
He seems to have succeeded. The film presents the 
Stations of the Cross with stunning realism.

     Is it excessive? Here's an irony. Not so long ago, a 
film this violent would have been banned. But standards 
have changed, and the same film reviewers who condemn THE 
PASSION OF THE CHRIST for its gore have long welcomed and 
applauded the "candor" of other directors who savor 
unflinching mayhem, from Peckinpaugh to Scorsese to 
Tarantino, holding squeamishness up to scorn.

     The old taboos have fallen. Gibson has merely taken 
advantage of this fact for religious -- evangelical -- 
purposes. But in doing so, he has broken the new taboos, 
shocking critics who fancied themselves shockproof. They 
never dreamed that the "new candor" would be put to such 
reactionary uses.

     Christ, we are taught, told his apostles to announce 
the Good News. He apparently didn't direct them to engage 
in apologetics or debate philosophy. The Good News would 
speak for itself, and no great education was necessary 
for its proclamation or recognition. If their audience 
was receptive, good. If not, they were to shake the dust 
from their feet and move on.

     Gibson has used the modern medium of film to tell 
the central part of the simple Gospel story, filling in 
such details as may help a modern audience to see it in 
its immediacy. If some viewers choose to raise 
sophisticated objections to it, well, that's their loss. 
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST is indeed an ordeal to watch, 
but the thing that makes it bearable is that it is still, 
in the end, good news.

The Moving Picture
(page 2)

     I never thought the phrase "worse than Bush" would 
pass my lips, except perhaps as wild hyperbole (like 
"hotter than hell"). But something tells me John Kerry 
merits it. A nominal Catholic, he's an unreserved 
pro-abortion, pro-sodomy liberal Democrat, cold as a fish 
in his secularism, as comfortable with the Total State as 
a snake on a warm rock. Not that I'm any more reconciled 
to Bush. If I were forced into a voting booth at gunpoint 
and ordered to cast my ballot for Kerry or Bush, I'd pull 
a Jack Benny.

*          *          *

     By the way, who is Willie Horton supporting this 
year? I'll never forget his wonderful 1988 endorsement: 
"Naturally, I'm for Dukakis." That must rank high among 
history's unsolicited testimonials. It was the adverb 
that made it exquisite.

*          *          *

     I yield to nobody in my derision of homosexual 
mock-marriages, but I hope that in this year's 
presidential campaign the Republicans will find other 
things to talk about. *Must* the Democrats hand them this 

*          *          *

     We are now hearing, from David Brooks and others, 
that "neoconservative" is a hostile code-word for "Jew." 
Vicious nonsense. Irving Kristol, "the godfather of 
neoconservatism," and many others have embraced the label 
proudly. But the Iraq war they craved has given them such 
unwelcome exposure that, as Michael Lind has observed in 
THE NATION, they are now reduced to "denying their own 
existence." Milovan Djilas once remarked: "The Party Line 
is that there is no Party Line." For the neocons now, the 
Party Line is that there is no Party.

*          *          *

     While we're enjoying the postwar recriminations, 
let's not forget that the neocons' pseudo-patriotic war 
propaganda was subsidized in large part by three 
foreign-born press tycoons: Conrad Black, Rupert Murdoch, 
and Mortimer Zuckerman. These guys deserve a lot more 
credit than they're getting.

*          *          *

     If it hadn't been for the Jewish protests, the 
"offensive" line in Mel Gibson's PASSION OF THE CHRIST -- 
"His blood be on us and on our children" -- would have 
passed pretty much unnoticed. Now *everyone* has heard 
it. Abe Foxman has given it more attention than it 
received in the Middle Ages.

*          *          *

     "Wherever they go [in Afghanistan]," laments Tom 
Brokaw, "the [U.S.] soldiers are at risk of being 
attacked." Ain't it the truth, though. Next time, let's 
make war on a friendlier country.

*          *          *

     Credit where credit is due, I say again. Whenever I 
hear a Shostakovich symphony, I reflect that perhaps 
Stalin hasn't been given his due as a music critic. The 
sometimes excessive severity of his judgments, in my 
view, doesn't detract from their essential soundness.

*          *          *

     Why do we put presidents' portraits on our money? In 
fairness, George Washington should be removed from the 
single and replaced by a picture of the current chairman 
of the Federal Reserve, who, after all, determines its 
value. Surely Washington wouldn't want credit for that.

Exclusive to the electronic version:

     The New York Yankees have signed Alex Rodriguez, the 
acknowledged greatest all-around player in baseball, much 
to the chagrin of the Boston Red Sox, who'd failed to get 
him a few weeks earlier. Let's knock off all this talk of 
the great Yankee-Red Sox "rivalry," when nobody can 
recall the last time the Red Sox won. You might as well 
talk about the great rivalry between Sonny Liston and 
Floyd Patterson.

*          *          *

     After more than two decades, the aging upstart 
WASHINGTON TIMES remains an amateurish alternative to the 
WASHINGTON POST. Worse yet, its daily three-page 
commentary section, rigidly right-wing (well, Republican 
and neocon, really), achieves consistent monotony; the 
POST, for all its liberalism, offers more real variety, 
and far better writing, on its single op-ed page. And the 
TIMES is still losing millions of dollars annually.

The Real World War II
(pages 3-5)

     The Iraq war has given rise to a new wave of 
nostalgia for World War II, with its "moral clarity" and 
the "Greatest Generation," as Tom Brokaw's best-selling 
book calls it. All sense of the tragedy and sheer 
ugliness of that war seems to have been replaced by a 
sentimental haze. Our boys were heroes, warmly if 
anxiously supported by the folks at home; Franklin 
Roosevelt and Winston Churchill provided inspired and 
visionary leadership for what Churchill called "the Great 

     Paul Fussell, a fine literary critic who is also a 
combat veteran, remembers it all differently. His 1989 
book WARTIME demolishes the happy image of "the Good War" 
(the title of yet another book by the ancient 
proletarian, Studs Turkel). To call Fussell's book a 
classic would give the wrong impression. There is nothing 
stately or musty about it. It's vigorously colloquial, 
and the best description of it may be to say it's 
refreshing. Every page rings true. The reader feels he is 
meeting the real daily experience of the war for the 
first time. The Iraq war has made Fussell's account all 
the more recognizable.

     Like most wars, World War II began in optimism. It 
would be won quickly, thanks to American know-how and 
long-distance "precision bombing," which, the experts 
assured, would reduce the need for ground combat. As the 
enemy proved -- surprise! -- stubborn, strategy and 
tactics intensified (that is, became cruder and more 
brutal), culminating in massive bombing of cities and, 
finally, the atomic bomb. But not before some of the most 
terrific infantry battles of all time.

     At home, American civilians had little conception of 
the real war. Journalism and Hollywood gave only heavily 
censored accounts and images, showing almost none of the 
grotesque mutilations that were routine on the 
battlefield. In the movies, nearly all wounds were mere 
flesh wounds; young boys didn't get their faces shot off. 
Nothing to put the home folks off their popcorn. Then as 
now, enthusiasm for the war was generally roughly 
proportionate to one's distance from the front.

     The troops were bitterly aware that civilians knew 
little, and therefore cared little, about what they were 
actually going through. Their bitterness, Fussell argues, 
helps explain the extreme obscenity of their daily 
conversation; polite language was inadequate to express 
their feelings about the war. Soldiers and sailors have 
never been noted for refinement, but in this case 
vulgarity not only intensified dramatically but spilled 
over into postwar civilian culture as well. American 
mores, it's now commonplace to note, were permanently 
changed by World War II. (Violent drunkenness was also 
unusually common among the troops.)

     The Greatest Generation was, after all, composed of 
boys -- gullible, uncomprehending boys, who entered the 
war trusting their government, but who soon wised up 
considerably, as Fussell shows. Yet for all the cynicism 
they acquired, few of them to this day have grasped the 
true enormity of the war or its total impact on American 
life. They saw the worst horrors of the modern state at 
first hand without quite drawing the appropriate lesson; 
civilians, sheltered from those horrors, learned even 
less. Fussell himself never tries to sum up the Meaning 
of It All; he is content to notice telling details, in 
both military and civilian life.

     Supporting the "war effort" was imperative. Ordinary 
people at home were expected to endure, without 
complaint, government-imposed hardships like rationing 
and its attendant ubiquitous bureaucracy. Patriotism 
required no less. In reality, it was tyranny, using war 
as its excuse. The traditional everyday freedoms of 
American life vanished. People were even cautioned 
against speaking too freely ("Loose lips sink ships") 
lest an unguarded word betray vital secrets to some 
lurking agent of the foe. Yet the war was officially 
portrayed as a fight for the freedoms the *enemy* was 
intent on destroying! Most Americans submitted willingly.

     Leading intellectuals suppressed their doubts and 
pressured their peers to do likewise. Even the caustic 
H.L. Mencken felt obliged to write pap; the cornball 
optimism of Carl Sandburg was upheld as the model for 
literary men. Edmund Wilson was one of the few who 
protested the pseudo-patriotic atmosphere of conformity 
that suffocated American cultural and intellectual life 
during the entire war. (In England, Evelyn Waugh clearly 
saw the fraudulence of the war from the start, but spoke 
his mind only in oblique satire.) Respectable literature 
became unbearably high-minded with patriotic pieties. 
Skepticism went underground.

     It came back in postwar literature, though. Fussell 
notes that many of the novels that appeared after the war 
were surprisingly focused not on the official enemy or 
the proclaimed purposes of the war, but on the 
humiliating "chickenshit" that ordinary soldiers and 
sailors had endured at the hands of their own officers. 
Even during the war many felt more hostility from (and 
toward) their officers than the Japanese or Germans. 
"There are two wars here," one soldier remarked. "I 
joined the army to fight fascism, only to find the army 
full of fascists." John Keegan wrote of the "culture 
shock" 12 million young Americans suffered when exposed 
"to a system of subordination and autocracy entirely 
alien to American values." This is all vividly portrayed 
in the hit 1953 movie FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, where two 
main characters are virtually destroyed by their own 
petty and cynical officers even before the war begins. 
The film's huge popularity, dwarfing that of most movies 
centered on combat, suggests that it reflected the shared 
memories of the "Greatest Generation."

     In both civilian and military life, wild rumors were 
rife, showing how little ordinary people trusted official 
sources of information. Yet that same distrust of 
government begot credulity, almost superstition, toward 
anonymous reports, however implausible. When it came to 
getting facts, it was every man for himself. Such was the 
condition of public discourse, in contrast to the 
reassuring mythology of World War II. The general 
assumption was that the government was either lying or 
withholding vital truths.

     Fussell reserves for his final, climactic chapter 
his description of what combat was really like. He takes 
his title from Walt Whitman: "The real war will never get 
in the books." Whitman was talking about the Civil War, 
but it applies to all wars: you had to be there. Fussell 
was there. The sheer awful noise of artillery caused many 
soldiers to lose control of their bowels and bladders. 
They quickly saw the infinite possibilities of being 
dismembered or mutilated. Their feet slipped in others' 
intestines; they saw direct hits reduce their comrades to 
pink mists; miscellaneous body parts littered the field; 
the smell was nauseating. Many went raving mad. Some lost 
their sanity in the first few minutes, but the strongest 
would lose it after a few months of steady combat; 
officially, this was euphemized as "battle fatigue." (The 
official euphemism is one of Fussell's specialties.)

     Another discreet wartime skeptic was George Orwell, 
and Fussell is not the first to suggest that the 
nightmare dystopia of NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR was inspired 
not only by Stalin's Soviet Union (which Orwell never 
visited) but also by Churchill's England, where the "war 
effort" also exerted its strong tendency to crush and 
erase individuality. "Morale" for the nation meant 
anonymity for the person. "Democracy" meant, in practice, 
tyrannous bureaucracy. War ceased to be a series of 
events on remote battlefields; it was much more than 
that. It was an entire way of life, including a state of 
mind -- a willingness to submit without question to 
arbitrary authority, to offer even one's inner life, mind 
and soul, to the State.

     Fussell never says so, but his book richly 
illustrates how socialism operates -- and fails, and 
promotes tyranny. Until his early death, Orwell insisted 
that he remained a socialist, but his imagination outran 
his intellect and compelled him to show socialism's 
actual operation. In his day there was little intelligent 
criticism of socialism -- Hayek's ROAD TO SERFDOM was 
about the only popular critique available -- and it was 
still pardonable to believe that central planning might 
realize its proclaimed goals. But Orwell was 
instinctively skeptical of utopianism and well aware of 
its abuse. He could conceive (because he had seen them) 
men who professed to share his own beliefs while using 
them for purely cynical reasons of power.

     Orwell had reviewed Hayek's book in 1944, 
disagreeing with it while frankly admitting the dangers 
of collectivism. Possibly he later came to appreciate 
Hayek's argument more fully, just as he came to 
appreciate the thought of James Burnham years after he'd 
attacked Burnham in print. Many have speculated on 
whether Orwell would have abandoned socialism if he'd 
lived longer; and though the question can't be answered, 
it's pretty clear that he was becoming seriously 
disillusioned with the Left as he aged. But he seemed 
unable to imagine a humane alternative.

     Orwell's stubborn verbal adherence to socialism 
might have changed, but it hardly matters. NINETEEN 
EIGHTY-FOUR, like any good myth, speaks for itself, and 
even the author can't claim the last word on its meaning. 
"Trust the tale, not the teller" will always be good 

     Other regimes are judged by their records; but 
socialism eternally demands to be judged by its promises. 
By now, unfortunately, socialism has its own grim record, 
and can only be peddled under other labels. Every time 
the "dream" turns out to be a nightmare, we are asked to 
believe it has been "betrayed"; but this excuse has been 
worn out. Where has socialism ever kept its promises? 
Even if such a thing were barely possible, its dangers 
would still be all too probable to warrant the risk of 
adopting it.

     Even during the Cold War, the historian John Lukacs 
noted that the most accurate term for the prevalent form 
of government, in both the "free" and "communist" worlds, 
was "national socialism." That is still true enough. 
Political power remains centralized and bureaucratized in 
nearly every country on earth. (Nearly? Where are the 
exceptions?) It has been said that if fascism ever comes 
to America, it will come in the guise of fighting 
fascism; and so it did, as John Flynn observed during 
Franklin Roosevelt's presidency.

     "Fascism" has long since become an all-purpose 
epithet of opprobrium, a vague synonym for tyranny, no 
longer standing for a specific kind of state; as witness 
the recent coinage "Islamofascism," widely adopted by 
neoconservatives and nearly as indiscriminate as 
"terrorism." Nearly all supporters of the Iraq war 
idealize World War II and want to see the "war on terror" 
as a new version of the war against fascism, with Bush 
cast as Roosevelt and the patriotism of dissenters held 

     It's a pretty poor fit. Though the 9/11 attacks were 
probably as great a shock as Pearl Harbor, Bush, thank 
heaven, is no Roosevelt. He was caught unawares 
(conspiracy theories to the contrary gravely misjudge his 
intelligence) and hadn't laid the groundwork for total 
war. He didn't dare demand great sacrifices of the 
country, let alone try to reintroduce conscription and 
rationing. He did impose obnoxious security measures, but 
even these fell far short of Roosevelt's curtailments of 
everyday freedoms.

     Conservative enthusiasts for the Iraq war actually 
seemed to hark back less to World War II (which few of 
them actually remembered) than to the Sixties, with their 
campus Kulturkampf over everything from war to drugs. 
They recalled World War II chiefly in remote icons, but 
their love-it-or-leave-it patriotism echoed the 
Vietnam-era annoyance with anti-war protest. And even 
this sort of "patriotism" was more assertive in the 
Israel-first neocons than in conventional conservatives. 
At first the neocons smeared opponents of the Iraq war as 
"anti-American," but they inevitably reverted to the more 
emotionally frank charge of "anti-Semitism."

     But the country, happily, had changed. During World 
War II and the Korean War it was possible to suppress 
"isolationist" objections with slurs of disloyalty, but 
during Vietnam this no longer worked. Protest and 
military failure kept Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon on 
the defensive in a way Roosevelt never had been. False 
optimism about the Vietnam war, much derided, was 
impossible to sustain. And by then Americans took 
prosperity so much for granted that austerity measures 
were unthinkable.

     The carnage of Vietnam, as well as the end of the 
draft, also made it unthinkable for the United States to 
fight another prolonged ground war. At first Americans 
feared that the 1991 Gulf War would become another 
Vietnam, and the quick victory, thanks to overwhelming 
air power, came as a huge relief. Seeing that the 
American public would tolerate quick, easy wars like his 
father's, George W. Bush replicated his father's war, 
adding only "regime change" and occupation. But even the 
occupation now threatens his incumbency, despite its 
relatively low American casualty rate. The war seems 
increasingly pointless, especially since it has turned 
out that Bush was bluffing about the Iraqi "threat."

     The basic truth is that war no longer impinges on 
daily life in America. But the government does so in 
myriad other ways, and total Federal spending is higher 
than during World War II itself. Federal bureaucracy is 
also as intrusive now as it was then, judging by the 
number of forms Americans are required to fill out, the 
petty regulations they are compelled to obey, and the 
taxes they are forced to pay.

     With all due respect to the Greatest Generation, was 
World War II a fight for freedom at all? Or was it 
really, under that guise, part of a vast campaign, along 
with the New Deal, to bring bureaucracy -- "chickenshit" 
-- into every corner of American life? As between power 
and freedom, there is no doubt which Roosevelt preferred. 
His legacy, faithfully preserved by his successors, is 
national socialism.

Crying "Wolf!" at the Lamb
(page 6)

{{ Material dropped from features or changed solely for 
reasons of space appears in double curly brackets. 
Emphasis is indicated by the presence of asterisks around 
the emphasized words.}}

     In its first week of release, THE PASSION OF THE 
CHRIST was far and away the top box-office success in the 
country, pulling in nine times as much money as its 
nearest competitor. But so far, it has utterly failed to 
fulfill one prophecy: that it would "incite violence 
against Jews."

     Jewish groups and critics have confidently forecast 
anti-Jewish mayhem for more than a year. So why hasn't it 
come to pass? The sheer number of unmaimed Jews in 
America today threatens to leave Abe Foxman with a lot of 
egg on his face.

     Come to think of it, why have Jews made no 
preparation for this long, hot Lenten season? They 
haven't been arming themselves, taking shelter, fleeing 
Christendom, or even asking for any police protection. 
After decades of warning the world against Christian 
fanatics, from the Catholic Church to fundamentalist 
Protestants, they have been remarkably complacent about 
the new danger. Why, you'd almost think they didn't 
believe their own warnings!

     In fact, they didn't. We have been witnessing a new 
kind of smear: defamation by prediction. From coast to 
coast, millions of Christians have peacefully bought 
tickets and watched the film in reverence without so much 
as bloodying a single Jewish nose. Exactly as everyone, 
including Jews, knew they would.

     Yes, it's possible to lie about the future -- just 
as it's possible to lie about the past. We've also heard, 
ad nauseam, that "countless" Jews have been persecuted, 
even murdered, because of the film's predecessors, the 
Passion plays of the Middle Ages. Few details have been 
forthcoming, but we must suppose that flyers were handed 
out to medieval playgoers: "There will be a brief pogrom 
after the performance. Please bring your own clubs and 

     Come to think of it, why aren't these persistent 
lies about Christians ever called "hoary canards"? It's 
only because they pass uncontradicted that they are 
repeated. If Christians were the violent bigots they are 
accused of being, Jews wouldn't dare to say such things. 
The truth is the opposite: Christians have been culpably 
passive against Jewish versions of "blood libel," which 
routinely calumniate them, their ancestors, and by 
implication Christ himself.

     One of the most stubborn Jewish canards in this 
discussion is that the Second Vatican Council, which 
Gibson rejects, "reversed" the teaching that all Jews, 
including today's, bear the guilt of Christ's death. But 
the Church never reverses Catholic doctrine, and 
Catholics who learned their stuff before Vatican II know 
that this particular item was never part of it -- as 
Gibson himself has said. (Oddly enough, the Talmud 
proudly claims that the Jews killed Christ as a sorcerer; 
so far only David Klinghoffer, writing in the LOS ANGELES 
TIMES, has been frank enough to acknowledge this.)

     Another canard that has resurfaced in this debate is 
that the Spanish Inquisition monstrously persecuted Jews. 
In fact, that inquisition targeted heretics, not Jews; in 
its three centuries, it executed a fraction of the number 
killed by the indiscriminate Israeli bombing of Beirut in 
a week in 1982 ... but why go on? Useful lies live on, 
while hard facts perish.

     Once again, the Tribe has cried "Wolf!" at the Lamb. 
The threat is always Christianity -- or, more precisely, 
Jesus Christ. He started it all, didn't he?

     {{ The Jewish slander artists may thank themselves 
for making the words "His blood be on us and on our 
children" nearly as familiar as John 3:16. If we soon see 
bumper stickers reading simply "Matthew 27:25," the 
credit will belong to Foxman. }}

     Not that the pacific behavior of Christians will 
change anything. Like astrologers, their detractors won't 
be deterred by any number of false, and falsified, 
predictions. Charges of anti-Semitism are eternally 
unfalsifiable -- even, it now seems, those that are 
flatly refuted by events. Nor may we look forward to 
apologies for this smear-in-advance.

     Jewish reviewers, trying to be more clever than 
Foxman, have generally avoided the blatant charge of 
anti-Semitism; but they've accused Mel Gibson of "sadism" 
and/or "pornography" so regularly that he should be 
eligible for a fat grant from the National Endowment for 
the Arts. The insinuation that the film is of 
psychosexual interest (one reviewer calls Gibson 
"perverted") seems to be irresistible to this crowd; 
under severe emotional stress, Jewish intellectuals 
regress to the primal Freudian cliche, always sure that 
they're being profoundly original.

     Of course such thoughts don't even occur to innocent 
Christian viewers, who see the movie for the reverent 
work it is. Maybe an avowed sadist will come forth to 
assure us, "Hey, I really dug that flick!"

     One way or another, it's clear, Gibson must be 
discredited. The NEW YORK TIMES, among other sources, 
reports that many of Hollywood's Jewish moguls mean to do 
his career a bit of no good. Surprise! As if he hadn't 
expected that, after having had to finance the project of 
his life out of his own pocket. To his eternal credit, he 
was willing to pay the price of provoking the 
2000-year-old hatred that is still going strong.


Seymour Hersh, the most resourceful reporter I know of, 
says the Bush administration is so intent on capturing 
Osama bin Laden (who would be a prize trophy at election 
time) that, in gratitude for access to Pakistan's remote 
regions where he's believed to be hiding, it's 
overlooking the Pakistani government's sales of nuclear 
weapons materials on the global black market. So Bush's 
war on terrorism may result in portable nukes falling 
into the hands of terrorists -- making the 9/11 attacks 
look like a bit of teenage vandalism by comparison. 
(page 5)

SUGGESTION: Shouldn't same-sex marriage be called 
"sodomatrimony"? (page 5)

NOTA BENE: Kerry is actually well to the left of Howard 
Dean. So why is he deemed more "electable"? I can only 
suppose it's because the media are willing to play down 
his record. Never mind that his most right-wing supporter 
is Ted Kennedy. (page 8)

OUCH! Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League has 
accused Bill Buckley of anti-Semitism. This is Bill's 
reward for all that crawling? Well, as they say, the old 
lesson of Munich: Appeasement doesn't work. (page 11)

REFLECTIONS ON RECENT HISTORY: Let's face it. This was a 
better world when the Italians ran the Catholic Church 
and the Mafia. (page 12)

Exclusive to the electronic version:

MAUREEN ON MEL: Maureen Dowd is the ever-so-hip columnist 
of the NEW YORK TIMES -- so hip, in fact, that you have 
to read the POST and DAILY NEWS to keep up with her 
up-to-the-minute allusions. She's also the successor to 
Anna Quindlen's Catholic Girl seat on the paper's op-ed 
page, whose duties include sneering at Catholics who take 
their faith seriously. Trying to do her job, she recently 
wrote that Mel Gibson has "found the ultimate 12-step 
program: the Stations of the Cross." Of course her 
numbers were a little off, but who's counting?

ROOTS: Like Madeleine Albright and Wesley Clark before 
him, John Kerry has learned he had Jewish ancestors. He 
handled it well, with an adroit remark about losing 
relatives in the Holocaust. Not everyone shows such 
poise, which suggests a need for a new self-help book: A 
YOU'RE JEWISH. My own plan for such a contingency is to 
announce that I'm not an anti-Semite after all, but a 
self-hating Jew.

QUERY: Unprincipled liberals are furious with Ralph Nader 
because they fear he may ensure the reelection of 
George W. Bush. Come to think of it, shouldn't principled 
conservatives be just as angry? 

(pages 7-12)

* Faulty Intelligence (February 10, 2004)

* The Grim Secularist (February 17, 2004)

* Gibson and His Enemies (February 19, 2004)

* Gibson and His Psyche (February 24, 2004)

* Gibson's "Excessive Violence" (February 26, 2004)

* Gibson's Goal (March 2, 2004)


All articles are written by Joe Sobran

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