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Jewish World Review June 16, 2000/ 13 Sivan, 5760


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Consumer Reports

No new age for this
dad, just green hair -- RIDING UP THE ELEVATOR last Thursday night a neighbor took a peek at my battered briefcase, covered-every square inch-with stickers the boys have affixed over the last several years, and said: "Hey, I guess that's a way to keep in touch with your inner child!" I smiled through clenched teeth and bid the guy goodnight. Obviously, it was an appalling encounter, and I had half a mind to mouth off at Mr. Berkeley for even voicing such a Jon Corzine-like inanity.

Inner child, indeed.

Lucky for him I was in a swell mood, just returning from a meeting of the New York Young Republican Club, where I gave a speech that was especially well-received, especially after I predicted Bill Clinton would burn in hell for soiling the presidency and deceiving his supposed friends, but primarily for humiliating his daughter.

(The room was silent when I stuck to my Tom Ridge-for-Vice-President shtick: this ideological-purity-over-victory jazz has got to stop.)

But the bag is pretty cool, and I often get stopped in the street by little kids who recognize the Pokemon, Bugs Bunny, Dragon Tales, Furious George and Power Ranger emblems. The other day, standing on line at a midtown deli, a woman smiled broadly and said, "That looks like a carrying case for a banker or artist. Which one is it?" Neither, I replied, it's a journalist's briefcase. She recoiled with a sniff of disgust, G-d knows why, and shuffled off with her Diet Coke and bag of Doritos. I felt like a whipping boy for the sins of The New York Times.

I have an easier time conversing with the youth of New York City than with the Bobos: kids are far more tolerant and are usually actual fans of the toys my sons buy. The other day, after Junior's graduation from first grade (I know, that's a little precious. Who ever heard, at least in the old days, of "graduating" from a class in elementary school?), Mrs. M took the sprout to St. Marks Comics on Chambers St. to pick out a couple of cheap DragonBall Z action figures for himself and MUGGER III.

Naturally, our younger son, who wasn't present, complained about the choices his big brother made, so later in the day I took him back to the shop to exchange a Frieza for a Vegeta, a Goku for an S.S. Broly.

Junior's commencement exercises were a treat, even if they were odd. The ceremony was held in a church on Park Ave., and when the first-graders marched in and sat behind the kindergarten classes, Junior gave a quick look back, saw his mom and dad, gave a shy wave and then sat up straight like a model student. He was in a black suit and red tie, long hair over his collar, looking like a rock star. When one of the fourth-graders, who was moving on to the institution's middle school, handed the American flag over for safekeeping to a third-grader, my wife and I smiled sweetly at each other. Then Junior's class sang "Goodbye, First Grade" and ceded the stage to the second-grade boys.

Now that school's out for the summer, Junior's going to dye a swatch of his thick hair a New York Press shade of green. My wife and I were fairly aghast when the notion was first broached, gingerly, by our son last March, but we figured resistance would just cause unnecessary havoc. He's only seven. Maybe if the boy gets a lot of this rebellion stuff out of his system now-and who knows what else is yet to come?-he'll be a model teenager. A Christian who doesn't drink or smoke. (Already, he's saying, "Dad, you know that James [Bond] likes his martinis shaken, not stirred.")

Which for some reason brings me to an inane article in the June 22 Rolling Stone by Rosanne Cash about the 250,000-Mom March. What a crock. Cash writes about that Democratic Party rally that took place on


Mother's Day: "We marched. We yelled, we trembled, we were in mourning with the mothers who had lost their children, we were pissed off, and we were not to be denied. Steve Buscemi marched with Raffi. Rosie O'Donnell marched with Courtney Love. Reese Witherspoon marched with Marian Wright Edelman. Hillary marched with all of us."

Cripes. I'm the first to sympathize with parents whose children have been killed by insane gunfire, but demonizing the NRA and endorsing Hillary Clinton is pretty stupid. Parents should be thankful that their offspring aren't being sent off to die meaninglessly in Southeast Asia, like more than a generation ago; and they ought to consider the far more numerous adolescent deaths that have nothing to do with guns. For example, I'm in favor of prohibiting kids from driving cars until they're 21. A drastic measure, perhaps, but think of how many lives would be saved. It's not only drunk driving by inexperienced teenagers who believe they're immortal that's the problem, but also the wild pranks that are a function of youth.

It galls me that the Democrats of this country, the celebrities who require attention-fixes when they're not attending premieres, acting snotty to fans at restaurants or doing spates of actual work, go on and on about America's gun culture. It's precisely because there's no war going on right now, no daily body counts on the tube, that idiots like Rosie O'Donnell can froth at the mouth about gun control.

These liberals don't understand how lucky American kids are currently, with a fabulous economy and no wartime draft. Random acts of violence at schools-which are happening at a time when crime in the U.S. has declined, by the way-would not be exploited by a ratings-driven media if there were bigger stories to cover. The nation's insane and sick fascination with the O.J. Simpson car chase and subsequent trial will be a prime example for future historians of the bounty of the 90s in the United States: times were so good that citizens could actually be riveted by that madman's crime.


Newsweek's Anna Quindlen, who plays den mother to less intelligent women like O'Donnell and Cash, was a speaker at the Mother's Day march in Washington, and she didn't disappoint her acolytes when it came to offering mushy rhetoric and virtual Hillary endorsements. Writing about the death penalty-and she's just the latest windbag to bash Gov. Bush for Texas' number of executions, as if his predecessor, the revered Democrat Ann Richards, didn't preside over a then-record number of snuffings during her one term as governor-Quindlen goes on about Tucker Carlson's Talk magazine article last year, in which Bush allegedly made fun of convicted killer Karla Faye Tucker.

Annoyed that the press last summer gave more attention to the GOP presidential nominee's "wild past" than to his death-penalty record, the former New York Times Earth mama writes: "Personally, I'd vote for a former cokehead over the kind of guy who makes fun of dead women any day of the week." Oh, really. What about a person who makes fun of dead men, Anna? Hon. Now that's a lesson for Quindlen's children: side with confessed murderers over politicians who may or may not have made tasteless jokes. I doubt she'd say the same thing about Sen. John McCain, who's been known to crack a crass funny now and again.

Quindlen's a dangerous woman, precisely because she is smart and respected. But she's typical of the modern feminists who excoriated Clarence Thomas but remained silent about Bill Clinton's public record with women. What about a column next time, Anna, about the IRS' audit of Juanita Broaddrick? Maybe The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz could add a word to your impressive vocabulary: it's called rape. Whoops, I forgot: you write for Newsweek.

JWR contributor "Mugger" -- aka Russ Smith -- is the editor-in-chief and CEO of New York Press ( Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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