I CONFESS. I didn't know who Darryl McDaniels was until I read an article about his political opinions in this week's New York Observer. I am not exactly sure that I know now either. But, to put other rap illiterates in the neighborhood like me, he's the founder of Run-D.M.C., which the weekly paper for the rich Upper East Side characterizes as "the immortal, pioneering rap group [that] ... smashed Billboard records with songs like 'Walk This Way,' 'Raising Hell' and 'My Adidas'." Wow! As I said, I didn't know any of this.
Advertising Age is reporting that a pirated copy of Michael Moore's new movie Sicko has turned up on the Internet and is now easily viewable for free. The article goes on to say that Moore, and his distributor, The Weinstein Company, have every film maker's worst marketing nightmare on their hands--how to persuade people to go to the theater to see a show that's available free on the Internet. I don't know. Doesn't this sort of thing actually help Moore's marketing plan--by generating even more free press for his film?
Or maybe you do. Is it significant that Steven Spielberg has endorsed Hillary Clinton? The Clinton camp certainly seems to think so. The endorsement announcement is on the front page of her exploratory committee's website. --Jason Zengerle
King Abdullah of Jordan and President Mubarak of Egypt today issued a joint statement calling on Israel to enter peace talks with the Palestinians. Why do these guys crank out this nonsense? There truly are no Palestinians with whom to talk. Perhaps the Arab world hasn't noticed. But there is a civil war going on in Gaza, and it started basically right after the Saudi government cobbled together a Palestinian regime that was itself a deceit. In any case, the butchery in Gaza continues.
Over at The Corner, John Podhoretz lays out his "12 Commitments to Corner Readers." Item number ten reads:"I will throw a party for one of the bloggers at the New Republic when he turns five on his next birthday." Ha! Now, just for a moment, wipe the tears streaming down your face, sit up straight, and try to maintain composure in the face of this comic barrage. Good.
Has the academy gone berserk? Or maybe just Grinnell College in Iowa. We owe it to the New York Times that we are aware of the fact that, among other eminences who received honorary degrees and spoke for their plaudits, was one Angela Davis. Yes, Angela Davis. That Angela Davis. No, this is not a case of mistaken identity. And the Grinnell publicity for her--distorted though it is, as if she were a fighter for freedom rather than a fighter for totalitarianism--does report by and by that she was for many years a member of the Communist Party USA.
One fact is certain, and it is that there has been no truly successful program to overcome the academic gap between black kids and white. And between other educationally under-performing groups and Asians or Jews. Some people purport to have a solution. Like teaching Harlem kids to play chess. OK, maybe.
Well, the June 28 issue of The New York Review of Books has just arrived, and it is not in this issue, either. This is something of a scandal. The "it" to which I refer is a long letter to the editor by Shlomo Avineri. The letter is a devastating rejoinder to an article by George Soros that appeared in the April, 12 issue of the New York Review. The title of Soros's article was "On Israel, America and AIPAC," and it was written partly in response to an article that I had published in TNR on February 12, about Soros and the Jews.
Like healthcare, the cost of college tuition in America has been spiraling out of control in the past decade. And the current college loan scandal only makes that more evident. (My alma mater, Columbia -- which just happens to be at the center of said scandal -- costs around $45,000 for tuition and board; that's about $10,000 more than when I matriculated in 2000). It's terrible, first of all, to prey on financially uninformed young people. But even at good rates, the prospect of taking out tens, even hundreds of thousands in loans, particularly for undergraduate education, is terrifying.