Newswire

Newswire

  • Thomas And The Black-Victim Game

    In his provocative book on race, "The Content of Our Character," Shelby Steele argues that for blacks to keep advancing in America they will have to stop claiming a special status as victims. Yet if any proof were needed of how seductive playing the victim can be, even for the most successful of blacks, the Thomas hearings provided it. Here was Thomas, a black man who owes much of his career to whites and the "system," and who himself has mocked civil rights groups for overplaying the race card. (All they do is "bitch, bitch, bitch, moan and moan, whine and whine," he once said.) But as soon as he got caught in a nasty personal scandal, he turned around and did what black demagogues from Adam Clayton Powell to Marion Barry have always done: he blamed it all on racism. ...
  • On-The-Road- Warriors

    American Gladiators" is the kind of TV show that doesn't exactly jump out at you from prime time. To witness the weekly battles between poor-schnook "contenders" and massive, showbiz warriors named Thunder and Zap, people often must stay up very late on Saturday or get up early Sunday morning. Even those viewers who find it sometimes find it confusing. Are we supposed to root for the "real people" or the ones who look like inflatable party dolls packed with live puppies? Such quandaries, however, have not impeded the Gladiators' success. The two-year-old TV show has lately spun off a 100-city tour: Gemini, Blaze and the rest are coming to an arena near you, and won't stop until they reach the finals in Atlantic City next May. The Gladiators' live show amounts to a three-hour version of their TV gig, except that the contestants they tackle, poke with padded sticks and whack with sandbags will be local folks who've tried out weeks in advance. Does this thrill their fans? Is Gemini...
  • And Daddy Makes Three

    First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. OK, at least the childhood rhyme goes that way. But when director Steven Spielberg, 43, tied the knot two Saturdays ago in the Hamptons, he followed a more typically Hollywood marital time line. The bride, Kate Capshaw, 37, who starred in his "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," gave birth to their daughter a year ago. No word on whether little Sasha had her Handycam running during the ceremony.
  • The Attack Of The Bush Men

    In the White House, many staffers were beginning to give up on Clarence Thomas. As Anita Hill poured forth her lurid tale of porn flicks and Coke cans, some aides even suspected she was telling the truth. But their beliefs didn't matter. In a study off the Oval Office, George Bush watched Thomas make his own opening statement and wept. "We've got to be behind Clarence," he said. It was an understatement his senior advisers understood. So they set about to ruin Anita Hill. ...
  • Rock Against The Clock

    Near the start of his 26th album, "Hymns to the Silence," Van Morrison sings, "I can't feel it in my throat, that's all she wrote." This confession that he's uninspired is what you'd call lousy selfpromotion, especially at the top of a double album. But the line is more poignant than damning. Like "Storyville," the seductive new album by Robbie Robertson, "Hymns to the Silence" is largely a reverie for a time and a voice that have been lost. Having outgrown their adolescent wonder for future possibilities, both men sing with a sense of adult wonder about simple mysteries of their youths. "Take me back," Morrison sings, "[To] When I understood the light ... /In the golden afternoon when we sat and listened to Sonny Boy blow." ...
  • An Uncomfortable Seat

    Don't be surprised if Clarence Thomas wakes up with the flu on Dec. 11. On that Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on sexual harassment so it's a good bet the newest justice would rather stay home and tend tulips. Nonetheless, Thomas will likely take his place on the far right side of the bench, even if he lets his more experienced--and less tarnished--brethren do the questioning. If he does pipe up, expect his every utterance to be parsed by pundits, his every twitch captured by courtroom sketch artists. Anita Hill's allegations that Thomas sexually harassed her in the early 1980s didn't cost Thomas his seat on the high court, but that seat will be very uncomfortable. So much so that, for now, his credibility-and that of the court-are damaged. Nothing, Thomas himself said, could ever "give me my good name back." ...
  • Taking The Low Road

    Folksy and witty, Alan Simpson was once lauded as the Senate's Will Rogers. He made all the Georgetown party A lists, and his irreverent commentary made him the darling of the Washington press corps. But the days of Simpson Chic are over. Now he is more often compared to Red-baiter Joseph McCarthy, The image of Simpson flinging open his jacket and declaring he had lots of "stuff " against Anita Hill-while revealing nothing-was the lowest of many low points in the Clarence Thomas hearings. Any senator with a sense of history should have said as attorney Joseph Welch eventually did to McCarthy, "Senator, have you no shame?" ...
  • 'You Could See The Hate'

    Sam Wink and his friends were halfway through lunch when the blue Ford pickup smashed through the plateglass window of Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. Wink hit the floor and rolled. Then he heard the pop-pop-pop of a handgun and looked up to see the killer's face. "His eyes were cold. You could see the hate in his eyes," Wink said. "It's payback time, Bell County," Wink heard the man say. "I hope y'all enjoy this." ...
  • Pass The Marmite Mum

    It's not easy being blue-blue blooded, that is. Even filling the Waleses' family album is a matter of state. To mark their current tour of Canada-the troubled couple's first royal visit anywhere with the kids--Lord Snowdon decided to shoot for the natural look. Of course, the royals are probably the only folks who could order their table, chair and pony dragged under the shadiest tree. We Yanks would settle for a shot where no one gave each other rabbit ears.
  • 'Consumer Enemy No. 1'

    John Collins couldn't believe his eyes. Having been turned down for a Visa card, the Milltown, N.J., accountant fetched a copy of his credit report and found that agencies mixed his data with files on other men named John Collins. He called credit bureaus, and recalls one company rep saying, ""We don't make mistakes.' I said, "I'm sorry--I didn't know I was talking to God'." ...
  • Buzzwords

    If you're in a street gang, the slang changes almost weekly. "Homeboy" and "dope" are almost archaic by now. Some new additions: Marijuana laced with cocaine and PCP.Crumbs of cocaine.In L.A., a Crip's name for a rival Blood.Blood's name for a Crip.Stolen car. From "Gangster ride."To arrest.Selling rock cocaine. Usage: "Mikey's balling over by the alley."Shot at someone. Usage: "I popped a cap at that Blob."
  • Prime-Time Drama

    After the cancellations of "thirtysomething" and "China Beach," network execs said the one-hour drama format was destined for the video scrap heap. Are they right? A Peri look at some of the survivors, old and new: The nice "Twin Peaks" is still a crowd pleaser. Suggestion: soften the Woody Allen thing.Susan and Tommy are saving this dehunked, suddenly tired show. And where did all the laughs go?Not bad as nostalgia. But it's a bit like how Kathie Lee Gifford might envision the post-WW II era.Interesting touch with a too-stale subject. Sam Waterston is terrific-and rises above the melodrama.
  • Over To You, Chuck ...

    Consider this an early example of antimedia backlash by senators miffed about the leak of Anita Hill's complaint against Clarence Thomas. Last week Sen. Orrin Hatch was interviewed live by Bill Bonds, a notoriously feisty anchorman at Detroit's ABC affiliate. After sarcastically praising the Senate's performance in the Thomas hearings, Bonds asked what Hatch would do if he discovers that Thomas is "a porno freak." Hatch dodged the question, calling Bonds "about as discourteous a person" as had ever interviewed him. He added, "I go through enough crap back here [in Washington] ... I don't have to go through it with you. I'm tired of talking to you." Then he yanked out his microphone and stormed off. "I'm tired of talking to you, too," Bonds replied.
  • Baker's Strategy., Eyes Off The Prize

    It took high finesse for Secretary of State James Baker to bring four Arab states, the Palestinians and the Israelis as far as the door of a peace conference. But if Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation actually reach the table in Madrid next week, it will be due to a strategy of artful evasion. Whenever an issue of substance arose during the diplomatic grind, Baker's answer was to defer it to the peace talks themselves. Indeed, when the parties couldn't even agree on the goal of the talks, Baker declared that it would convene under the "magic words" of two U.N. resolutions passed after the 1967 war. But the Arabs and Israelis don't agree on the meaning of Resolutions 242 and 338; Baker blandly told each side to interpret the magic words however it liked. As one U.S. official concedes, "It's a bit like convening arms-control talks with the United States thinking the goal is to reduce arms and the Soviets thinking it's to increase them." ...
  • Dining With Wolves

    When Noreen DiPlacido, a Florida nurse, arrived for a visit in Chicago last month, she thought it was a great opportunity to be in the audience for "The Oprah Winfrey Show." But tickets were booked far in advance, so DiPlacido got close to her favorite TV talk-show host another way-she bought lunch from her. DiPlacido ate at The Eccentric, Oprah Winfrey's restaurant in the River North neighborhood of gentrified warehouses. "I thought she might be there," DiPlacido says. She wasn't, but DiPlacido left happy anyway, having at least made the acquaintance of a dish called Oprah's Potatoes: mashed, lumpy, with horseradish. ...
  • Speak Nicely To Your Pc

    Don't tell them you can type," said the folk wisdom of the 1960s, lest women job applicants be relegated to the secretarial pool. That advice may still be relevant, but recent developments in the computer industry raise questions about just how long any of us will be chained to the keyboard. Three major shifts are important: pen-based computing, voice recognition and the wearable computer. ...
  • Why Is The Lady In Black?

    It is the jewel of the National Gallery of Art's exhibition "Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration," a tantalizing Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece little known in the West because it has resided in Poland for most of the last two centuries. The features of Cecilia Gallerani are rendered with dazzling delicacy in "Portrait of a Lady with an Ermine." She was the young mistress of the Duke of Milan, and a play of light and shadows across her face hints at an intelligence and sensitivity as compelling as that of the "Mona Lisa." The ermine in her arms is no less graceful, with a look in its eyes that somehow mirrors her own. ...
  • The French And Germans: Comrades In Arms

    France and Germany have clashed in two world wars and eyed each other suspiciously for 120 years. But these days President Francois Mitterrand and Chancellor Helmut Kohl are friends and allies, and now they're even talking as comrades in arms. Last week they offered a plan for a joint military force of 35,000 troops that would build on an existing 4,200-man Franco-German brigade. The proposal also calls on other members of the Western European Union (WEU)--a marginal defense group of nine European Community nations-to contribute more troops for an all European security system. ...
  • New Theories And Old Bones Reveal The Lifestyle Of The Dinosaur

    On the undulating plains of Montana and Wyoming, where the barren terrain stretches as far as the eye can see and hawks ride the thermals overhead, you can't walk 10 feet without kicking the taupe-colored stones that litter the ground. Pick one up and you will see soft ridges. They are the ripples left in the sand as the Jurassic seas dried up. Listen closely and you can almost hear the ebbing surf... and the hooting, honking of dinosaurs that lived beside a sea that stretched from Canada to Louisiana 75 million years ago. Among them were 25-foot-long maiasaurs--duckbilled dinosaurs that trekked en masse to this high coastal plain where dogwoods, evergreens and berry bushes grew amid languorous streams. This was their rookery. Every spring females scooped out nests, carefully placing them exactly as far from neighbors as the mothers were long. They each laid a clutch of eggs, in two circular layers, and covered it snugly with vegetation. As the plants rotted, the heat warmed the...
  • Playing White Male Politics

    They sat 14 in a row, like so many graying birds on a wire. The Judiciary Committee panel that presided over Clarence Thomas's fate was symbolic of white male power in America. So was the Senate, all white and 98 percent male. Name any other power precinct of society and it's controlled by white men. So why do they think they're so oppressed? ...