We Are the World--Yuck

Loose Canon was no less touched by the plight of tsunami victims than any normal human being--but the showy compassion of celebrities quickly palled. We are the world and we are wonderful--that sort of stuff. In a fine piece on "gesture politics" in Sunday's New York Times, Christopher Caldwell, who usually hangs his chapeau at the Weekly Standard, reveals how confusing and often empty public displays of compassion can be:

"The world's governments, churches and even terrorist-affiliated groups have thrown themselves into the tsunami relief effort. You would expect that passing judgment about which kinds of aid and which modes of delivery work best would be a complicated matter.

"But you would be wrong. In Europe, at least, the public has separated the heroes from the scoundrels with a simple yardstick -- lost vacation time. Chancellor Gerhard Schroder of Germany stands among the winners. He rushed back from a post-Christmas vacation in his native Lower Saxony to set up a crisis center in Berlin, and has since been a whirlwind of activity, pledging more than half a billion dollars in aid and devoting his New Year's address to the disaster.

"Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, who chose not to cut short his own vacation in Egypt, finds himself cast as the arch-goat. Blair's government was quite active during the days that followed the tsunami. But even though Britain has offered substantial assistance to the wave-damaged region, that is somehow insufficient. For the past month, the British news media have savaged their prime minister for his 'colossal act of disrespect.' According to an editorial in The Independent, 'Blair has failed to grasp the essence of leadership.'

"If that accusation is fair, then the essence of leadership has changed into something that is less and less about significant undertakings and more and more about dramatic stunts. ..."

Is There a V-Chip?

USA Today reports that Rolling Stone magazine has switched and will run a Bible ad it previously rejected:

The ad, which will run unchanged in mid-February, doesn't mention God. But it describes the Bible as 'real truth' and carries the new translation's slogan: 'Timeless truth: Today's language.'"

And the Oscar for the Worst Movie Goes to...

One of the worst movies I've seen in a long time has been nominated for best picture--yep, "Million Dollar Baby," "a brutal euthanasia film slyly billed as romance by sympathetic critics," has been nominated for best picture. Also nominated in this category is the delightful "Finding Neverland," the life-affirming story of J.M. Barrie's friendship with the family that inspired Peter Pan and his realm of fantasy.

Why didn't Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" get a nomination? My guess is that Hollywood is trying to cool it. They don't want normal folks to realize they inhabit another planet. The nihilism of MDB is not apparent to many denizens of tinsel town or others who aspire to be chic. Despite the evidence to the contrary, they find this perverse film positively uplifting. FYI: Instapundit has an alternative theory on the Moore shut-out: "I think some people are unhappy with him for giving the election to Bush."

The Associated Press further reports:

"Also nominated for the best-actress Oscar were Catalina Sandino Moreno as a Colombian woman imperiled when she signs on to smuggle heroin in 'Maria Full of Grace'; Imelda Staunton as a saintly housekeeper in 1950s Britain who performs illegal abortions on the side in 'Vera Drake'; and Kate Winslet as a woman who has had memories of her ex-boyfriend erased in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.'"