The Real News of the Month

November 2004
Volume 11, Number 11

Editor: Joe Sobran
Publisher: Fran Griffin (Griffin Communications)
Managing Editor: Ronald N. Neff
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  -> The Ambiguous Catholic
  -> Notes from Limbo (plus electronic Exclusives)
  -> Reality and Divinity
  -> Philip Roth's Happy Ending
Nuggets (plus electronic Exclusives)
List of Columns Reprinted in This Issue


{{ Emphasis is indicated by the presence of "equals" 
signs around the emphasized words.}}

The Ambiguous Catholic
(page 1)

     Someone has to do something about those Catholics. 
I'm sure you know the ones I mean. John Kerry will do for 
illustration here. After the second presidential debate, 
I wished for a new watchdog organization to dog Kerry 
with commercials -- Former Altar Boys for Truth, perhaps.

     Late in that debate a woman asked Kerry how he would 
respond to a voter who, believing abortion to be murder, 
asked for reassurance that his or her tax dollars 
wouldn't be spent for abortions. Kerry's long reply 
began: "I would say to that person exactly what I will 
say to you right now. First of all, I cannot tell you how 
deeply I respect the belief about life and when it 
begins." A strange way to phrase it; but he went on: "I'm 
a Catholic -- raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. 
Religion has been a huge part of my life, helped lead me 
through a war, leads me today." Again, odd words. Was he 
going to answer the simple question?

     "But I can't take what is an article of faith for me 
and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that 
article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, 
Protestant, whatever." Notice that Kerry, nearly 60 years 
old, hasn't learned, or affects not to know, that 
Catholic teaching on abortion is =not= an "article of 
faith," that is, a revealed truth; it's a simple 
application of natural law, shared by many non-Catholics 
-- agnostics, atheists, Jews, Protestants, whatever. Even 
altar boys used to know the difference. And =all= the 
state laws on abortion struck down by the U.S. Supreme 
Court had been passed by =Protestant= legislatures.

     Kerry went on showing, and sowing, confusion for 
several minutes. He never answered the question, but he 
implied, by sheer evasion (he digressed about "my wife, 
Teresa," "options," "constitutional rights," "unwanted 
pregnancies," et cetera), that he had every intention of 
using tax money for abortion. He finally ended: "And I 
truly respect it." By then I wasn't sure what "it" 
referred to. Bush smiled that he was "trying to decipher 

     Kerry spoke for many ambiguous Catholics, 
particularly in politics, who claim affiliation with 
Catholicism only for the purpose of distancing themselves 
from it, acting superior to it, and even misrepresenting 
it -- but =never= for the purpose of actually bearing 
witness to their alleged faith.

     In the postdebate commentary, hardly anyone remarked 
on Kerry's mendacity. Maureen Dowd of the NEW YORK TIMES, 
usually quick to pounce on politicians' tricks, quoted 
Kerry's words about legislating his faith with full 
approval, reserving her scorn for the bishops who were 
"salivating" for a ban on abortion. Falsehoods about 
Catholic doctrine are never identified in the press as 
errors, gaffes, distortions, or outright lies.

     Miss Dowd herself occasionally mentions her Catholic 
girlhood. For example, when sneering at Mel Gibson a few 
months ago, she mocked the Stations of the Cross as a 
"12-step program" (she was only off by two). Kerry has 
referred to "Pope Pius XXIII" (off by XI). It isn't as if 
it would take much research to get these things right. 
Catholic teaching, practice, and history aren't exactly 
secret. So how has the Church in America recently managed 
to produce so many ignorant anti-Catholic bigots?

Notes from Limbo
(page 2)

     This month I write in suspense. By the time you read 
this, you will know what I, as of this writing, don't: 
the election results. So this issue is in the nature of a 
time capsule. It does appear that either George W. Bush 
or John F. Kerry will win the presidency, but they are 
running so close, AOTW, that the tension is terrific, 
though either result is revolting. The only consolation 
in prospect is that the winner's margin is likely to be 
so thin that he won't be able to claim a popular 

*          *          *

     Do I sound pessimistic? AOTW, I'm still in the race, 
but let me anticipate the postmortems by confessing that, 
after being excluded from the presidential debates, I'm 
having trouble mobilizing my base, and my chances of 
victory will depend entirely on turnout. Being a realist, 
I'm drafting a concession speech, just in case.

*          *          *

     "Does the U.S. need the draft?" asks TIME magazine. 
Wrong question. The real question is whether military 
conscription is just, and the answer is no. Both Bush and 
Kerry came out against it during the campaign, and the 
House voted it down, 402 to 2, so the matter appears 
settled -- for the time being. But as long as young men 
are still required to register for the draft, the coffin 
hasn't been nailed shut. And as long as the U.S. 
Government keeps acting as an empire, we can't be sure 
the issue is dead.

*          *          *

     A lawyer named Douglas T. Kendall, writing in the 
WASHINGTON POST, raises an alarm about Justice Clarence 
Thomas: he doesn't seem to believe in stare decisis, the 
principle that judges should be bound by precedents. 
Maybe it's a good principle in general, but it can hardly 
apply to constitutional law, where it would mean that the 
most extravagant past rulings of "living document" 
jurisprudence would remain virtually irreversible. Which 
appears to be just what Kendall wants. After all, 
justices are sworn to uphold not their predecessors, but 
the Constitution itself. There's a difference.

*          *          *

     About half the celebrities in the United States have 
died this month: actor Christopher Reeve, actress Janet 
Leigh, comedian Rodney Dangerfield, photographer Richard 
Avedon ... am I leaving anyone out? Since I don't want to 
write an all-obituary issue, I'll content myself with 
remarking on Reeve's obits. Yes, he struggled bravely 
with his horrible injury, but I doubt he'd be hailed as a 
"hero" if he hadn't become an advocate for stem-cell 
research on human embryos.

*          *          *

     Oh yes, Jacques Derrida, the French father of the 
famous -- or is it infamous? -- school of 
"deconstruction," has also died. Nobody seems to know 
quite what deconstruction is, but it has still, or 
therefore, excited furious controversy. My impression is 
that it's the idea that every text potentially contains 
the opposite of its apparent meaning. Put simply, =all= 
documents are living documents.

Exclusive to electronic media:

     Oh no! Not another Shakespeare biography! Yes, 
Stephen Greenblatt, doyen of the "New Historicism," has 
produced another reshuffling of the sparse facts about 
the wrong guy, WILL IN THE WORLD (Norton). No surprises, 
lots of surmises. And even the surmises are a bit 
shopworn; for example, Greenblatt speculates that the 
Stratford man wrote THE MERCHANT OF VENICE after 
witnessing the grisly execution of a Jew, before a 
jeering crowd in 1596. Trouble is, the play had already 
been written by then, and by somebody else. It's a good 
rule of thumb, when writing a biography, to begin by 
making sure you have the right guy.

Reality and Divinity
(pages 3-4)

     C.S. Lewis begins his classic MERE CHRISTIANITY with 
five short chapters under the heading "Right and Wrong as 
a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe." He points out 
that we all have a moral sense that points to the divine. 
Strictly speaking, it doesn't prove God's existence, but 
it can't be reduced to any mere social or psychological 
cause. Every attempt to explain it away only requires a 
further explanation. Even small children appeal to this 
sense when they quarrel ("I had it first!"). So do rulers 
of nation-states when they feel the need to justify, 
excuse, or deny their crimes. 

     Lewis developed this insight further in THE 
ABOLITION OF MAN, the book that began my own reconversion 
to Christianity when I read it as a college student. It 
was a quiet little argument that all men accept the same 
basic moral principles, citing the teachings of the great 
religions as illustrations. Again, he wasn't trying to 
prove too much; he merely called attention to a dimension 
of ourselves that contradicts the dominant philosophies 
of our time, materialist, reductionist, positivist, 
nihilist. Lewis denied that men are only "trousered apes" 
who can be comprehended in Darwinian, Marxian, or 
Freudian categories. 

     Most educated people aren't systematic philosophers, 
but their minds are apt to be confusedly dominated by 
some smattering of these philosophies, which have been 
considered "advanced" for the past two centuries or so. 
Human behavior is routinely explained in terms of 
supposed evolutionary needs; at times we read that our 
"instincts" are formed by this or that "evolutionary 
purpose," though the theory of evolution was developed in 
order to dispense with the very idea of "purpose" in 
nature. Darwin presupposed nature as a blind force. But 
the notion of something like design -- even Providence! 
-- keeps creeping back in. 

     This broadly materialist view has even had its 
impact in art and esthetics. Modern painting and music 
have tried to dispense with the whole concept of beauty, 
which is dismissed as "subjective" and "conventional" 
rather than as an intimation of order in the universe. At 
the low end of popular entertainment, love is reduced to 
lust, morality to revenge, and religion, when it appears 
at all, to superstition and hypocrisy. 

     Even modern theology has tried to accommodate itself 
to the respectable materialism, eliminating the 
supernatural, revelation, and absolute divine 
commandments. The Protestant theologian Paul Tillich did 
away with the Living God, who intervenes in our lives, 
and substituted a more refined (and less demanding) 
Ground of Being; somehow I wasn't surprised to learn, 
after his death, that Tillich himself had led a life of 
frenetic adultery. Why not? He had nothing to fear from 
the Ground of Being. 

     In the same spirit, the "higher" biblical criticism 
has eliminated miracles not only from the Old Testament 
but from the Gospels. Even the words of Jesus are now 
subject to skepticism. Apparently the early martyrs died 
for myths. The "historical" Jesus was a proto-liberal 
social reformer, whose real message St. Paul and the 
Evangelists failed to understand; the Church buried it in 
fantastic dogma and empty ritual. 

     One great fruit of this philosophy has been the 
modern state, of limitless power and undefined authority, 
circumscribed only by hostility to Christianity -- the 
absolute "separation of church and state." In the famous 
words of Dostoyevsky, "If God does not exist, everything 
is permitted." He might have added, "particularly to our 
rulers." In a world without essences, where even human 
nature is in doubt, where anything may turn into anything 
else, it's only to be expected that government should 
keep changing unpredictably, according to the whims of 
rulers. Such changes are dignified as part of the process 
of evolution, as when our jurists speak of the U.S. 
Constitution as "living" or, yes, "evolving." 

     Modern law has been heavily influenced by what are 
called "the social sciences," which themselves are almost 
wholly products of the materialist philosophy, 
particularly behaviorist psychology, whose premise is 
that man, being a mere animal, has no free will. Having 
no fixed nature either, he is the creature of his 
environment, which it's up to the state to reshape -- 
according to the "findings" of social science. 

     Against this gigantic system of circular thinking, 
it's refreshing to hear Samuel Johnson's defiant growl: 
"We =know= the will is free, and there's an end on't." 
Johnson, a good Christian, was a champion of simple 
intuition and immediate human experience against 
seemingly sophisticated argument: "When speculation has 
done its worst, two and two still make four." 

     Two months ago, in these pages, I found solace in a 
magazine article discussing a little-known subject: the 
difficulty of turning young men into soldiers. The author 
had found that it's surprisingly hard to overcome the 
natural reluctance to kill other human beings. In a word, 
conscience -- the recognition of natural law -- is a 
"problem" in the eyes of the military. I think Lewis 
would understand. 

     Last month, I was also cheered by a British finding 
that even the youngest infants prefer pretty faces to 
ugly ones. Here was experimental refutation of the 
modernist conviction that beauty is unreal. We =know= 
it's real, as Johnson might say, and there's an end on't. 

     These examples illustrate that we know and respond 
to good and evil, the beautiful and the repellent, even 
when we can't explain why. These things are innate in our 
nature, no matter what theorists may say. 

     Jesus Christ didn't argue. He didn't offer proofs of 
God's existence. He rebuked those who demanded proof in 
the form of miracles. Instead he spoke truths that those 
with faith would recognize as true the moment they heard 
them. He blessed those who were immediately receptive. 

     His audacious claim of divinity, of direct intimacy 
with "my Father," of being "the way, the truth, and the 
life," of having the authority to forgive sins, had no 
precedent. "No man comes to the Father but by me": as 
Lewis says, all this was so shocking that it left, and 
leaves, no room for a middle position. To call Jesus a 
"great moral teacher," as if the Beatitudes were mere 
platitudes, separable from his claim to divine authority, 
won't wash. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my 
words will not pass away." So far, at least, they 
haven't. Perhaps they serve some "evolutionary purpose"? 

     In the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, as in Homer, 
Plato, Cicero, and in ancient literature generally, the 
reality of the divine is assumed. God and "the gods" are 
spoken of matter-of-factly, with no felt need to prove 
their existence or to justify appeals to our immediate 
sense of the true, the good, the beautiful. These are 
taken for granted as aspects of being itself. It's only 
modern materialism that has called them into question and 
reduced them to mere opinions, doubtful because beyond 
the reach of the senses. 

     Lewis once explained his own faith in an excellent 
image. He said he believed in the sun not because he 
watched it rise, but because he saw everything else by 
its light. Skepticism can always make plausible arguments 
against the good, the true, and the beautiful; but 
without these transcendental conceptions, our minds are 
paralyzed by doubt, and we get nowhere. Or rather, we 
find ourselves at the mercy of their opposites: evil, 
falsehood, and ugliness -- all of which eventually find 
social expression in political tyranny. 

     Since the Enlightenment, as it dubbed itself, the 
beginnings of the Age of Faith have been scornfully 
dubbed "the Dark Ages." Historians have long since 
abandoned this epithet, but it persists as an image in 
the modernist mind. The grain of truth in it is that 
these centuries after the dissolution of the Roman 
Empire, when power was decentralized, aren't as well 
documented as heart could wish. 

     But today a fuller and richer picture of the period 
is emerging, and the "Dark Ages," the six centuries 
during which barbarian Europe became almost entirely 
Christian, were a time of profound though quiet moral and 
spiritual progress. We can't precisely date the 
discrediting or outright banning of such routine and 
ancient pagan practices as infanticide, abortion, 
pederasty, slavery, and divorce, but by the High Middle 
Ages -- when the lights came back on, as it were -- they 
had either disappeared or receded almost to the vanishing 
point. A new standard of human conduct had displaced 
them: the Christian standard, centered in the virtue of 
chastity and symbolized by the Virgin. 

     To the modernist mind, the Dark Ages remain an era 
of reaction and stagnancy, and "progress" is now measured 
by the return of the very evils Christendom had 
vanquished. Modernism reserves its deepest hatred for 
chastity, which even the ancient pagans honored (as in 
the virgin goddesses Diana and Vesta). 

     And yet, even in an age of confused hedonism, modern 
man still bears indirect witness to the natural law that 
can never be wholly expunged from the human heart. Angry 
men still insult each other's mothers; soldiers still 
rape the enemy's women; sexual degradation, symbolic and 
physical, remains a basic means of conquest and 
humiliation, transcending mere bodily pain. Everyone 
understands this. What is it but indirect testimony to 
the dignity of the person in its sexual nature, which 
materialism otherwise tries to deny? The violation of 
chastity is still felt to be more deadly than murder 
itself. How can you violate something that doesn't exist? 

     Deep in his heart, modern man knows what his 
ancestors knew. But modern philosophies have helped him 
pretend not to know it.

Philip Roth's Happy Ending
(pages 5-6)

     Philip Roth's new novel, THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA 
(Houghton Mifflin), has gotten more publicity than 
anything he has written since PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT. The 
premise is as explosive today as sex was in 1969: Nazis 
take over the United States in 1940.

     This "alternate history" is narrated by a character 
named Philip Roth, an adult who was a little Jewish boy 
in Newark at the time of the imaginary events. 
Roth-the-author has said in interviews that little Philip 
is faithfully describing the actual Roth family up to 
1940, when the story becomes fictional, and he surmises 
what the impact of a pro-Nazi regime might have been 
like, especially for his family and neighbors. In many 
ways, it's brilliantly done. Roth has rare talents for 
dialogue, mimicry, and parody; he gives every character a 
distinctive voice, including creepily suave bureaucrats 
and namelessly moralistic NEW YORK TIMES editorial 
writers. (Some things never change.)

     In this story, Charles Lindbergh, aviator, national 
and worldwide hero, "isolationist," and "anti-Semite," is 
drafted to run for president of the United States as a 
Republican. Promising to keep America out of the European 
war, he defeats Franklin Roosevelt in a landslide.

     Somehow it goes without saying that this would have 
been a terrible turn of events. And it seems to follow, 
in Roth's imagination, that Lindbergh's putative 
anti-Semitism means that he would have used his 
presidential power to do the Jews a bit of no good. But 
Roth's Lindy doesn't go in for violent persecution; 
instead, he creates an Office of American Absorption 
(OAA), whose goal is not to exterminate Jews but to 
assimilate them peacefully, turning them into "real" 
Americans. Under the OAA's Just Folks program, little 
Philip sees his adored big brother Sandy assigned to 
spend a summer working on a Kentucky farm. Nobody 
suspects what the reader is expected to assume: that Just 
Folks is an innocuous-seeming prelude to concentration 

     To the horror of his parents, Sandy enjoys his 
summer sojourn. He comes home loving farm life and 
admiring the kindly farmer he lived with. He feels 
muscular and manly, speaks with a slightly Southern 
accent, and savors pork chops, bacon, and ham. Only 13, 
he argues violently but intelligently with his father, 
and won't abide criticism of President Lindbergh from 
"you people" -- the urbanites he now despises as "ghetto 

     Sandy isn't the only Jew to find Lindbergh 
inspiring. So does Aunt Evelyn, his mother's impetuous 
sister; and so does Aunt Evelyn's employer, the 
fast-talking Rabbi Lionel Bergelsdorf, who becomes 
Lindy's foremost Jewish apologist, enraging other Jews 
who see him as an opportunist. Sandy is so articulate 
that Aunt Evelyn and the rabbi enlist him to make 
pro-Lindbergh speeches, until his parents crack down. 
After some bitter family fights, Sandy is rescued by 
puberty: an interest in girls displaces his interest in 

     But the picture otherwise darkens gradually for the 
Roth family. Soon the Lindbergh administration gets cozy 
with Nazi Germany, and in many states there are 
anti-Semitic riots which Lindbergh does nothing to 
discourage. America's most famous Jewish journalist, 
Walter Winchell, is assassinated when he begins leading 
opposition to Lindbergh. Jews are at once heartened by 
Winchell's courage and terrified by his fate.

     At this point some skepticism is in order. Roth 
tries to justify his imaginings (or fantasies) through 
the unusual step of adding to his novel an appendix of 
real-life historical information, including the text of 
Lindbergh's notorious 1941 Des Moines speech to the 
America First Committee, the chief anti-war (or 
"isolationist") group in the country.

     But that speech won't bear the weight Roth puts on 
it. In the first place, as he himself points out, he has 
to put the speech back a year, to 1940, in order to fit 
it into his story.

     Far worse, Roth ignores what Lindbergh actually 
said. The thrust of the speech was an attack on Roosevelt 
for seeking to involve the United States in war by 
"subterfuge." Lindbergh also noted that British and 
Jewish interests were seeking U.S. involvement too, but 
this he pardoned because he found those interests 
understandable: The British were at war with Germany; as 
for the Jews,

           It is not difficult to understand why 
      Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi 
      Germany. The persecution they suffered in 
      Germany would be sufficient to make bitter 
      enemies of any race.... No person with a sense 
      of the dignity of mankind can condone the 
      persecution of the Jewish race in Germany. But 
      no person of honesty and vision can look on 
      their pro-war policy here today without seeing 
      the dangers involved in such a policy, both 
      for us and for them. Instead of agitating for 
      war, the Jewish groups in this country should 
      be opposing it in every possible way for they 
      will be among the first to feel its 
      consequences.... A few far-sighted Jewish 
      people realize this and stand opposed to 
      intervention. But the majority still do 
      not.... Their greatest danger to this country 
      lies in their large ownership and influence in 
      our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and 
      our government.... We cannot blame them [i.e., 
      the British and the Jews] for looking out for 
      what they believe to be their own interests, 
      but we must also look out for our own.

     The rest of the speech took a different tone. 
Lindbergh did blame Roosevelt, very severely, for 
betraying the American interests it was supposed to be 
defending. Roosevelt had won reelection in 1940 on a 
platform promising to seek peace, which he had never 
intended to do.

     So this was Lindbergh's "anti-Semitism": pointing 
out that the Jews' interests, as most Jews understood 
them (albeit wrongly, in his opinion), were at odds with 
America's interests. Sure enough, the headlines the next 
day roared "Lindbergh Attacks Jews." Nobody has seemed to 
notice, from that day to this, that he'd "attacked" the 
British in the same terms, nor that his chief target was 
the unprincipled deceiver in the White House.

     Yet Roth assumes, when it comes to "anti-Semitism," 
that the sky's the limit. Once a man commits it, whatever 
"it" is (mild criticism will do), he can be presumed 
capable of any crime against Jews. There are no degrees 
of "it." Annoyance, distrust, genocide -- they're all the 
same thing, "anti-Semitism."

     One is surprised to see Roth, who is himself capable 
of wittily mocking Jewish delusions, falling for this 
ethnocentric fallacy. People (including Jews, though you 
wouldn't know it from this book) make ethnic slurs all 
the time without following them up with violence; and 
Lindbergh was such a high-minded man that it's hard to 
imagine him committing a crude slur even in private. Roth 
posits a whole American population capable of fanatical 
cruelty. He never seems to question or qualify the vulgar 
equation, fostered by Roosevelt, of "isolationism" with 

     What's more, it would have been wildly out of 
character for the Lone Eagle to seek political power, let 
alone to use it to persecute. He preferred a private, 
even reclusive life, especially after the kidnap-murder 
of his infant son. Roth's OAA is the sort of thing 
Roosevelt would have created, and did in fact create; 
he's the one who put Japanese-Americans in concentration 
camps. There is simply no warrant for supposing Lindbergh 
was capable of such a measure; this fiction has no roots 
in the real man. Making all allowance for literary 
license, it's a kind of defamation. Yet Roth keeps 
Roosevelt, despite his record, as the inviolate 
democratic hero of THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA.

     The possibility remains that Roth, an inventive 
ironist, has constructed a huge spoof, though in 
interviews he seems to take his novel's implausible 
premise quite seriously. Here I'm going to give away the 
ending; at least I'm going to try. Roth has made it so 
involuted that the reader -- this one, anyway -- can't be 
quite sure what is happening.

     The key event is that on October 7, 1942, amid 
mounting protests and violence, President Lindbergh 
simply gets into The Spirit of St. Louis and flies away. 
He is never seen again. His fate remains a hotly 
discussed mystery sixty-odd years later; that is to say, 

     Then it gets confusing. Mrs. Lindbergh calls off the 
search for her husband within a week and announces, 
though she has no legal authority, that she is 
countermanding his disastrous measures. Then, again in 
defiance of the U.S. Constitution, a presidential 
election is held in 1942, and Roosevelt is elected to a 
third term, only to be arrested, as is Mrs. Lindbergh 
herself -- yet more inexplicable events. Anyway, it all 
ends happily: the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and 
America gets into the war after all.

     How could this happen? Roth, the character, cites 
one account: The Nazis have controlled Lindy all along! 
How? It was they, on the verge of power in 1932, who had 
kidnapped the Lindbergh baby, substituting the body of 
another baby, badly decomposed, to fool the FBI. They 
raised the real Charles Jr. as a good little Nazi, 
ignorant of his parentage, while using their possession 
of him as leverage over his father, who is acting under 
their orders when he gets into politics and begins 
persecuting Jews. So the great patriot is actually a 
"Nazi agent"!

     Far-fetched? Sure. The only source for this tale is 
a supremely dubious one: Rabbi Bergelsdorf, who may have 
dreamed it up to get himself off the hook with his fellow 
Jews who hate him for having fawned on Lindy. Or so we 
are invited, or at any rate permitted, to guess. A 
patented Roth enigma. (Bergelsdorf never existed, by the 
way; Roth-the-author made him up.)

     As for that happy ending -- Roosevelt and war -- 
well, Roth has told TIME magazine that the book is 
"optimistic," because, after all, the Lindbergh 
presidency "never happened." That's one way to look at 
it. Another might be to note, less happily, that hundreds 
of thousands of Americans wound up dead, Stalin won huge 
stretches of Europe, and the nuclear age arrived. But 
that would be ethnocentric.


wished its viewers "a happy and blessed Ramadan." In due 
course it will no doubt wish them a happy Hanukah, a 
happy Kwaanza, and, for anyone else it may have 
overlooked, unspecified happy ... "holidays." (page 7)

STUMPER: FOX NEWS Blowhard Bill O'Reilly is being sued 
for sexual harassment by his own producer. She says he 
"forced" her to have phone sex with him. I don't have a 
dog in this fight, but I must say I find the act she 
alleges hard to visualize. Did it involve bondage? Cell 
phones? I hope my dear readers are as baffled as I am. 
(page 11)

NICOLE PRIVACY UPDATE: When we last heard from Nicole 
Kidman, she was publicly wrestling with the problem of 
protecting her "privacy." At the time she was appearing 
stark naked in a movie =and= on the Broadway stage. Her 
latest film shows her bathing, nude of course, with a 
10-year-old boy. The solution to her problem continues to 
elude her. (page 12)

Exclusive to electronic media:

NOW HEAR THIS: Bob Dylan, perhaps the premier symbol of 
the Sixties, has been misunderstood. He's now broken his 
long, enigmatic silence with a surprising memoir, 
CHRONICLES (Simon and Schuster). Judging by reviews and 
excerpts, it's a charming and quite unpretentious book. 
Dylan disclaims such worshipful accolades as "voice of a 
generation." He just wanted to write songs. He confesses 
he was out of touch with the kids who adopted him as 

WORKS OF FAITH: One final word (I hope) about John Kerry. 
Late in the campaign he came up with a retort and rebuke 
to George W. Bush's religious appeal by quoting the 
Epistle of James: "Faith without works is dead." Kerry's 
own "faith," he affirmed, was expressed in his lifelong 
support for, yes, Big Government. So if you rack up the 
highest liberal record in the U.S. Senate, you're only 
doing the Lord's work. 

(pages 7-12)

* Diversity -- The Real Thing (September 16, 2004)

* Equality Run Amok (September 21, 2004)

* Notes of a Former Couch Potato (October 5, 2004)

* Secession, Anyone? (October 7, 2004)

* Death of a Comedian (October 12, 2004)

* Diane Speaks His Piece (October 19, 2004)


All articles are written by Joe Sobran

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