Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Blog

There is something ghastly-surreal about the spectacle of the violent governement assault on anti-junta protestors in Burma: about khaki-clad violence vs. saffron-robed idealism. But the clash is also numbingly familiar. echoing too many other conflicts pitting peoples against brutish dictators, as in Tiananmen Square, 1989. Like the Chinese democracy activists then, the Burmese democracy protestors are looking for help from the outside world. Here's an eye-witness account from the British ambassador to Burma, as relayed by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Wednesday:

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When Ken Burns, discussing his new documentary, "The War," told Mother Jones... "I think that we deserve, and more important, we need a much more complicated history" ...I braced myself for the Big Cultural Hit to come. In Burnsworld, "complicated" could only mean that the Good Guy-dom of the US would come under the documentarian's pan-and-zoom attack. And so it has.

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These days, most publishers aren't sending out most authors on a multi-city book tour. In our Internet era, what is evolving instead is something known as "the blog book tour." One of the most highly prized stops on this new circuit is the pioneering videoblogging site Hot Air created by the multi-talented, multi-faceted Michelle Malkin. Michelle, a great friend of mine, is not only a courageous author, columnist and Fox News personality, she is also one of the major innovators on the 'Net, providing an amazingly wide, deep and essential range of content, both at Hot Air and, of course, her must-read website MichelleMalkin.com.

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Between Alessandra Stanley's multicultural gripe in The New York Times, and Cecilia Alvear's Latino lament in the Washington Post, Ken Burns' new documentary on World War II is under bizarro attack from the identity-politics Left. Stanley complains for most of the review that Burns tells "only" an American story:

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One of the supreme delights of blogging, of course, is the fact that the Internet enables the muttered responses of the individual reacting to the world around him to reach a heretofore unimagined audience. This sense of equalizing empowerment comes down to this: Today, the breakfast table; tomorrow the world!

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Lifted from a recent interview at Mother Jones with Ken Burns, whose latest docu-marathon, this one on World War II, debuts Sunday. According to Burns, the "greatest generation"--a grating phrase, perhaps, as thought my father, who, as a veteran of the Normandy Invasion (D-Day plus 2), was a charter member--is also "the worst generation." The filmmaker explaineth: MJ: The film's tagline is "In extraordinary times there are no ordinary lives." What do you think about the whole idea of "the greatest generation"?

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It looks like the NYPD has put the kibosh on a proposed visit by the ultimate genocidal jihadi, Iran's Ahmadinejad, to Ground Zero in New York--and thank goodness for that. Even so, the Iranian mission in New York is declaring their Thug-in-Chief still plans to lay a wreath at the site on Monday. Repulsive, says the New York Post. Take Your Wreath and Shove It, says Michelle Malkin.

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The New York Times reports that Brooke Yalof, 12, and Simone Rivera, 13, go to Spence--"the Bergdorf Goodman of Upper East Side private schools," according to the paper. Desiree Kennedy-Mitton, 16, used to attend the Hewitt School, also on Manhattan's Upper East Side--perhaps the Barney's of U.E.S. private schools? Isabelle Edmonds, 13, is another Bergdorf-Goodman--I mean, Spence--student. So is Charlotte Levy, 13. Olivia Salman, 12, attends the Trinity School on the Upper West Side, which, apparently doesn't rate a retail comparison in Timesworld.

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Just uploaded my CNN appearance on "Lou Dobbs Tonight" from a few weeks ago to discuss The Death of the Grown-Up." This was one of the first book interviews, and it remains one of the best due to the extremely well-prepared Lisa Sylvester, sitting in for a vacationing Lou Dobbs.

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Just back from a New York City trip to talk (quickly) about "The Death of the Grown-Up" on "Fox & Friends" Friday morning, and to tape the political roundtable segment of "Lou Dobbs This Week" (airing, as usual, on CNN at 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday). On the way out of town, I popped into a Borders to check on the book and, in talking to some nice sales clerks, learned that a customer who had seen my morning show appearance had actually come in looking for the book--proof that it was well worth waking up at 4:45 a.m. to make the show.

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What was the big story of the week? Gen. Petraeus' testimony? Nope. Another 9/11 come and gone? Nope. The biggest story of the week--in many ways, the age--took place in Brussels, the so-called capital of Europe. There, a small band of people marked the occasion of 9/11 by peacefully protesting the erosion of liberty and the disappearance of Western culture that is resulting from the Islamization of Europe.

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From the U.S. Open to the New York restaurant scene, the death of the grown-up is, um, alive and well. That is, perpetual adolescents are in charge. Which isn't to say they haven't been for a long time, but some new observers are beginning to notice--even at The New York Times. "Pump Up the Cacophony: The Days of Etiquette Are Over at the U.S. Open" declares one headline over a feature about bratty crowd behavior. "Business Is Hot, But the Vibe Is Cool," reports a Food Section round-up of new restaurants that seem to offer everything except, as the article puts it, "formality."

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Michael J. Mooney of the Dallas Morning News has unearthed a maturity-challenged new subculture (at least new to me): grown men in the 40s and 50s who will do anything to … skateboard. Often ducking the police, these middle-aged thrashers jump the fences of closed motels to sip beer and grind their boards across the empty pools. They trespass into back yards. They swarm local skate parks, speeding past kids half their age. They also own their own businesses. They have families and mortgages and disposable incomes."

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   Ten years after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, transformed Great Britain into a massive spasm of emotion—something Time magazine’s Michael Elliott approvingly puts down to Britain’s emergence as a “modern” nation--Elliott is beginning to wonder whether it was really such a good idea to trade “the virtues--the Roman virtues, an earlier generation would have called them--of restraint, stoicism and quiet, private mourning” for Venting Unlimited. Here’s his conclusion: 

    “I thought modern Britain showed the best of itself in the week after Diana died: a feeling and a compassion and an openness to emotional expression that it had for too long kept bottled up. But perhaps--as stock markets stumble and wars drag on--these are sterner times than the mid-1990s, ones when the virtues of reason, reserve and order become apparent. You can't fuel a society on flowers alone.”

    Hmmm. Are these thoughts the sober stirrings of a revitalized appreciation of the virtue of restraint? Not exactly. The...

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