Fat Guy for the Queer Eye
Commentator Daniel Pinkwater thinks the TV show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is appalling. He says the gays on the show have terrible taste and wind up filling up people's lives with brand-name products. And he admits to loving it.
Sharia, the Divine Law of Islam
This week in Nigeria, a court heard an appeal in the case of Amina Lawal. Under the Muslim law that dominates her province, Lawal was sentenced to die by stoning for sleeping with a man who is not her husband. The evidence against her: a baby daughter. This case has attracted worldwide attention because of the harshness of the sentence. Commentator Asra Nomani says that it is easy to dismiss it as an aberration, but the sentiment behind it trickles down through Muslim cultures all over the world, including in the United States. Asra Nomani is the author of the book Tantrika: Traveling the Road of Divine Love.
Commentator Lenore Skenazy observes that the spork -- a spoon and a fork all in one -- is the only truly American utensil. But that doesn't mean it deserves respect.
California Recall -- Politics or Theater?
NPR's Daniel Schorr says that in this day and age, it is increasingly difficult to separate reality from theater, as exemplified by Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California recall race.
Mental Health Issues
Commentator Rick Cleveland is a TV writer. Right now he's on the staff of Six Feet Under. He says that all kinds of diseases -- leukemia, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, AIDS and herpes -- each have their own advocacy groups who visit Hollywood writers' rooms to get their diseases portrayed on television. Recently, he was asked to appear on a panel to help writers write more effectively about mental health issues. But he says that if there's anything that TV writers know about first hand, it's mental health issues.
The summer heat has commentator Ed Cullen recalling his father's seasonal bouts with bugs and a cranky, old outboard motor.
The Need for Art
Commentator Andrei Codrescu talks about the necessity of art in people's lives. He deplores blandness and sameness with fresh vigor. He thinks the problem is not TV, exactly, but a silence that hangs over lives. He implores us to stop boring ourselves.
Commentator Beth Lapides goes to Home Depot to sample paint and finds, to her surprise, that there is now a line of Disney paints, each with a little Mickey Mouse logo. Then she sees there's a shade called Mickey's Shadow, which suggests to her that Disney has finally discovered that the bleak side of the world exists.
Career Test Drive
In this jobless recovery, it seems almost foolish for someone who is gainfully employed at a job they really like to try out a new career. But commentator David Levin isn't letting success at his first career -- as a corporate communications consultant -- get in the way of trying something new.
Wednesday is the day Alabama Judge Roy Moore is supposed to take down his Ten Commandments monument. He had a rally over the weekend to say that he won't do it, and has asked a federal appeals court to block the order for removal. Commentator Joe Loconte says this is an unusual stand for an evangelical Christian, a religious group more focused on personal faith rather than on symbols or tokens.
Slights Against Arabs and Muslims
There has been a 1,700
percent increase in reported hate and bias crimes against Arabs, Muslims and
those perceived to be Arab or Muslim since Sept. 11, 2001, according to
Human Rights Watch. Harder to quantify are the smaller suspicions and
slights that have also changed the lives of Arabs and Muslims over the past
couple of years. Commentator Aaron Freeman has some advice for them.
This summer, commentator Emily Wylie has been catching up with her old students. She teaches public school in the Bronx. Of particular interest to her are the students who have just completed their first year of college, some at elite private universities that are very different from the Bronx of their childhoods.
Getting into Kindergarten
Commentator Leon Wynter doesn't think that his daughter should benefit from racial preferences, but when he heard that affirmative action should guarantee her a seat in an exclusive kindergarten, you know he didn't say no. But when she didn't get in there -- or in to a special public kindergarten program, either, he investigated. He found out that the lottery is exactly that -- a wire cage with numbered balls inside, determining which little girls get into school.
If flying makes you nervous, being a flight attendant probably isn't your best career move. But for commentator -- and flight attendant -- Hollis Gillespie, it's just one of many anxieties.
Commentator Andrei Codrescu visits San Francisco, and everything turns into a detective novel. It makes him uncomfortable. Ghosts of hippies, unknowns, and other shadows haunt him there.
Theoretically, pages on the Web are governed by standards -- rules about how they are built, how computers read their instructions and display them. Commentator Paul Ford makes his living developing Web sites, and he says that if the standards were really standard, it would make his job a lot easier. Paul Ford writes ftrain.com.
Commentator David Watts believes in the power of the placebo effect, particularly when a person's fears are involved. He'll prescribe a patient a medication and tell them to stick it in the cabinet and see if it can work its wonders without ever being ingested.
Summer in Prague
Commentator Andrei Codrescu continues his globe-hopping summer in the capital of the Czech Republic. He mingles with writers and artists, and is pleased that even government officials are hip and interesting. It's a paradise for him.
America's Liberia Policy
NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that America is wary of sending troops to Liberia for a number of reasons, including fresh memories of the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" debacle in Somalia.
The Washington Post is reporting that Secretary of State Colin Powell will not stay on in his current position if President Bush is re-elected. NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says Secretary Powell has played the good soldier within the administration.
Commentator Meredith Gudger is planning to go to a Methodist seminary in the fall, so she decided to take a year to drive around the country and visit churches in as many states as she can. But she isn't always happy with what she sees -- or hears.
A Schism in the Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church is in the middle of a contentious general convention. The big issues concern the possible confirmation of a gay bishop and whether or not to endorse gay unions. Already at least two dozen bishops and ministers of large conservative churches have threatened to set up a competing church structure if the bishop is confirmed. Commentator Gustav Niebuhr says that the possibility of division within the church is not to be taken lightly.
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