Bozell's Column

You may have heard some things about this new movie "Fight Club," like how it contains a great deal of gory, stomach-turning violence. True enough, but don't be misled. Brutality isn't the sole distasteful element in this deeply distasteful film. There's nothing uplifting, nothing positive about this movie. It's simply an exercise in the glorification of nihilism. Edward Norton plays a thirtyish fellow who works for a major car manufacturer that consciously, calculatedly, puts profit ahead of customer safety. Outside the office, he spends his time finding new and better ways to furnish his condominium. Emotionally and intellectually, he's adrift,... continue reading
The connections between political reporting and foundation giving are an almost completely ignored field of inquiry for the media, with one notable exception. That would be early 1998, when the Clintons threw a stick at conservative philanthropist and newspaper owner Dick Scaife and told their lapdogs in the press to fetch. Suddenly, a cauldron of stories boiled over in outrage over how this "King of the Clinton Haters" would spend his riches on a vast right-wing conspiracy to commit investigative journalism with a point of view. The establishment media's complete marination in hypocrisy was recently proven by Frank Greve, a... continue reading
If the broadcast television networks' aim is to elicit from viewers the response "I can't believe they said (or did, or showed) that on TV," I must admit that they have succeeded spectacularly, again and again, in the past few seasons. Most of this jaw-dropping material, of course, has been sexual, and in that department this fall's leader among new drama series is NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." This "Law & Order" spinoff, which was originally and accurately called "Sex Crimes," airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on the coasts, 8 p.m. in middle America. Even Dick Wolf, the... continue reading
The latest conventional wisdom from the media reflects an aching desire to take politics away from self-obsessed loudmouths like Jesse Ventura and give it back to the "professionals." Ventura's dreadful interview with Playboy, in which he denounced organized religion as "a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people," exposed Ventura as the dumbest star in American politics. But it also underlined the media's hypocritical protests about celebrities in politics. Simply put, they're loving it. Take Newsweek, which ran a "Hollywood Squares" layout with all the celebrities thinking of running for high office, from Cybill Shepherd to Jerry Springer. The subheadline... continue reading
Odd as it may sound, there is a small silver lining to be found in the dark cloud of each high-profile cultural attack on religion, from "The Last Temptation of Christ" to the fecally defaced Virgin Mary portrait currently, and shamefully, on display at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. When the media cover these outrages, they usually allow those disgusted by them to speak out. In the case of the Brooklyn Virgin Mary, New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and the Catholic League's William Donohue have been frequent television talking heads. Such spokesmen alert the public to the true nature of... continue reading
One has to wonder why Time magazine seems determined to make a fool of itself at least once annually with its Person of the Year award. No, I don't mean the ruckus caused by giving the award to monsters like Adolf Hitler and Khomeini: Time was not judging them on their merits but on their importance, and as such they were justifiable winners. I mean choosing "Endangered Earth", as they did in 1989. Or their pick for Man of the Decade in 1990, when they might have selected Ronald Reagan, whose domestic policies gave our country its biggest peacetime economic... continue reading
When Thomas Edison declared that genius was one part inspiration, and 99 parts perspiration, he could not have imagined how today's "modern artist" would take that metaphor and make it reality. Instead of inspiration, today's art-gallery version of the shock jock replaces inspiration with perspiration. And dung. In their latest attempt to prove there is no culture in their counter-culture, "arts advocates" are championing the newest tasteless art exhibit, titled "Sensation," coming soon to the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The museum somehow prides itself on displaying as fine art pig carcasses in formaldehyde; dead flies and maggots, killed by a... continue reading
Anyone with one eyeball on TV newscasts today knows that the networks thrive on disasters and murders, yanking the udders of tragedy until they've milked out the very last ratings point. The real conundrum comes when the disasters and murders compete. As Hurricane Floyd buried the East Coast in rain, a man named Larry Ashbrook massacred seven people in a Fort Worth Baptist church Although this horrible spectacle didn't trump hurricane coverage, journalists did reliably arrive in droves to interview victims and relatives. They also announced this would "reignite the gun control debate in America," and in so doing, reignited... continue reading
On September 14, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and William Bennett announced they were giving their Silver Sewer Award for cultural pollution to the Fox television network and its chairman, Rupert Murdoch. Sad to say, it's impossible to question Lieberman and Bennett's choice. Fox isn't the only web that's specialized in the tasteless, of course, but it's been a trailblazer. "In its five years of existence," wrote Erich Eichman in a 1992 American Spectator article, Fox "has earned the dubious distinction of having brought television's already abysmal content to new lows, mostly by trading in coarse jokes, risque humor, [and] sexual... continue reading
In May 1997, the weekend chat shows lit up with outrage. Bob Dole had agreed to loan money to Newt Gingrich for a $300,000 ethics penalty assessed by the House. On CNN's "Late Edition," journalist Steve Roberts noted Dole's job with a law firm lobbying on the tobacco settlement and asked, "Do we really want a speaker of the House who owes $300,000 to a guy who's a principal in a major lobbying firm?" On "Inside Washington," Newsweek's Evan Thomas bemoaned that Dole had retired from public service to "become an influence peddler so he can post bail for Newt... continue reading