November 4, 2005
"Mao's Legacy Is Not All Bad"
"My own sense is that Mao, however monstrous, also brought useful changes to China.But Maos legacy is not all bad. Land reform in China, like the land reform in Japan and Taiwan, helped lay the groundwork for prosperity today. The emancipation of women and end of child marriages moved China from one of the worst places in the world to be a girl to one where women have more equality than in, say, Japan or Korea. Indeed, Maos entire assault on the old economic and social structure made it easier for China to emerge as the worlds new economic dragon.In the same way, I think, Mao's ruthlessness was a catastrophe at the time, brilliantly captured in this extraordinary book - and yet there's more to the story: Mao also helped lay the groundwork for the rebirth and rise of China after five centuries of slumber." - Foreign policy reporter turned columnist Nicholas Kristof reviewing a new Mao biography in the October 23 Book Review.
And Never Too Late to Blame Bush for Katrina
"It's never too soon to replay the blame game. 'In His Own Words: Brian Williams on Hurricane Katrina' on the Sundance Channel serves as a study aid for those who wish to re-examine the government's neglect of the poorest victims of that terrible storm. News programs may have moved on to the damage wrought by Hurricane Wilma, but the devastation along the Gulf Coast was a seminal moment in President Bush's faltering second term." - TV critic Alessandra Stanley in an October 27 review of a Sundance Channel documentary featuring NBC anchor Brian Williams' coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
"Dignitaries" Lewis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton?
"Outside the Greater Grace Temple, thousands of people who had taken the day off from work waited to see a horse-drawn carriage carry Mrs. Parks's coffin toward a cemetery. In downtown offices, others brought televisions to watch more than six hours of remembrances and a call to action from a long line of dignitaries: the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, former President Bill Clinton and on and on." - Monica Davey at the funeral of Rosa Parks, November 3.
Sigh. Not Even Genius Michael Moore Could Beat Bush
"'The High Cost of Low Price' makes its case with breathtaking force. Mr. Scott of Wal-Mart declined to speak on camera, Mr. Greenwald says. The company is worried enough about this film and growing opposition elsewhere that it has hired high-powered former presidential advisers and set up a public relations 'war room' to deflect and respond to criticism. But it's impossible not to remember what happened with Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11': it outraged many Americans, made White House decisions look ridiculously dishonest and/or inept, and President Bush was re-elected anyway." -Critic Anita Gates on "The High Cost of Low Prices," an anti-Wal-Mart documentary from left-wing filmmaker Robert Greenwald, November 4.
Fitzgerald as Eliot Ness, Ken Starr as Torquemada
"It was as if Mr. Fitzgerald had suddenly morphed from the ominous star of a long-running silent movie into a sympathetic echo of Kevin Costner in 'The Untouchables.'" - Todd Purdum on Libby prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, October 29.
"Back in the United States attorney's office in Chicago, the relentless prosecutor is known as Eliot Ness with a Harvard degree." - TV critic Alessandra Stanley, October 29.
"But by the time he stepped down in October 1999, relentless attacks by Democrats and Clinton allies had created a powerful caricature of [Clinton prosecutor Kenneth Starr] as a prude and a Torquemada leading a partisan inquisition." - Then-Washington bureau chief Jill Abramson, March 22, 2002.
Never Miss a Chance to Bash the War
"'The Apprentice' and even its Martha Stewart spinoff are lagging, mostly because the conceit has grown old, but also because right now, self-reliance is not as compelling a virtue. The wish-fulfillment fantasy has a headier appeal, particularly these days, when American troops and Iraqi civilians are being killed in a war that seems ever more intractable and when natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina expose the limits of government action and private-sector munificence. The harder it is to paint ourselves as a can-do, generous nation, the more we crave a home-game version." - TV critic Alessandra Stanley in a November 1 review of a new reality show.
Clear-Eyed Priorities on the Editorial Board
"There's no serious disagreement that two major crises of our time are terrorism and global warming. And there's no disputing that America's oil consumption fosters both." - The beginning of an October 24 editorial.
Good Thing Dowd Likes Her
"I've always liked Judy Miller.She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet 'Miss Run Amok.'.Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover 'the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country.' If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands." - From Maureen Dowd's October 22 column on her colleague Judith Miller, titled "Woman of Mass Destruction."