Carlisle may be annoying, but he
isn't a fascist. Though he pretends otherwise, he
actually loves whistle-blowers who doesn't?
so please don't take him too seriously. We
don't. Better yet, skip the whole mess and head straight
for one of the following titles from our list of best
biographies of the past year.
by Edmund Morris
writes with a breezy verve that makes the pages fly,
and that perfectly suits his subject." Richard
Brookhiser, New York Times Book Review
(New - Trade Paper)
for other copies
by Colum McCann
tour de force about the Russian ballet star/international
celebrity Rudolf Nureyev is so good...that it's guaranteed
to send multitudes of lesser writers into fits of hand-wringing
'I Can't Do That!' despair." Adrienne Miller,
(New - Hardcover)
for other copies
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fter the shock of September 11th, 2001, George W. Bush, struggling
to navigate the murky implications of the terrible event,
intuited that the tragedy had given us "a renewed appreciation
of the character of America....We have shown in difficult
times that we're not just a world power, that we're a good
and kind and courageous people." In fact, "our nation is
the greatest force for good in world history....And I hope,
I hope all Americans will help us show those principles
to the entire world."
I'm guessing that Time magazine is run by a bunch
of Democrats. Last week they published their annual Man...er,
Person of the Year Award. They did not, however, choose
to honor someone who over the last year showed the world
what a good and kind people we are. No. They chose to honor
three "whistle-blowers": Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom, Coleen
Rowley of the FBI, and Sherron Watkins of Enron. During
the past year, each of these women ratted out their superiors
and in doing so proved to the world that our institutions
are incompetent and our corporations corrupt. What next?
Put everyone involved in shady corporate accounting in jail?
We'd have to incarcerate own vice president.
This is what we've come to, a nation that celebrates tattletales?
Ignorant citizens from lesser countries around the world
see Americans as dimwitted bullies with big appetites and
bigger teeth, and we support their impressions by glorifying
Americans who drag our image through the mud? It makes no
sense. We shouldn't be rewarding slander; we should be doing
damage control. We should be putting our best foot forward,
preferably in an envy-inspiring Nike shoe. We're the good
guys, right? Why not flaunt it?
That's why I've decided to inaugurate an alternative to
Time's tired award. I call it the Bibliolatry Trio
of the Year. The "B-TOY" celebrates the three
people who over the past year best embodied the American
character, dedicated individuals who demonstrated to the
world what the citizens of the greatest country in the world
are really all about.
Americans are a generous people. Over the centuries, we've
welcomed millions of the world's tired, poor, huddled, and
future Mafioso masses. In the forties, we sucked it up and
bailed Europe out of the über-mess of WWII. And each
and every year we give and give and give and give
to wretched poor people all over the world, despite
the fact that we rarely receive a simple thank you. But
we don't complain. Americans understand that the reward
is in the giving itself, so we continue to open our hearts
and wallets and litter the world with strings-free handouts.
So, to highlight America's giving nature, I'm awarding
the very first B-TOY to Ms. Jennifer Lopez . J. Lois a model
of American munificence. Her extraordinary generosity challenges
the rest of us to give of ourselves freely, just as she
In all honesty, I initially planned to give the award to
Lopez's current "baby" Ben Affleck, whose legendary
largesse has impressed millions and captured headlines
around the world. There was the white chinchilla
fur coat he got J. Lo when she was feeling low, the $250,000
blue Bentley convertible he got her for her birthday, and,
of course, the Rock, a pink beach ball-sized diamond ring
he gave her to celebrate their love.
But when you consider what she gave him, I realized that
Affleck's generosity, while impressive, pales in comparison.
Lopez's greatest possession, her greatest assett,
is worth a wopping $1,000,000, and yet she didn't hesitate
to give it away. Make that "doesn't." It's hard
to believe, but Lopez has given it away so many times we're
beginning to lose count.
The United States is the most diverse country in the world,
so Americans have learned to see through the superficial
differences race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
that separate people in lesser countries, and have
decided to embrace our common humanity. We care.
And never has America been more dedicated to the bedrock
American principle that all human beings are created equal
than we were in 2002. When neighborhoods banded together
in the months following September 11th to stand by their
muslim neighbors, we demonstrated that Americans are truly
inclusive. When the Academy decided that Halle Berry and
Denzel Washington were the two best actors of the year,
we expressed our deep desire to create a truly color blind
society. When we embraced Rosie O'Donnell as a lesbian mother,
we put our tolerance where our mouth is.
However, during the past year no one has expressed the
fundamental compassion of the American people better than
senator Trent Lott. He proclaimed with singular passion
and eloquence his desire to give 110 percent to the fight
for racial justice. His love for Martin Luther King, his
commitment to affirmative action, and his obsession with
the Hughleys were infectious. Despite a stirring plea for
"just one...more...chance," senator Lott failed
to retain his position. No matter, he accomplished something
far more important. This year Lott entered the ranks of
true American ambassadors. He revealed a corner of our character
we'd forgotten about and showed it to the world. And even
though he's bowed out of the center ring, we can't get him
out of our minds.
As Saddam Hussein will soon find out, the United States
is not a country to mess with. We have more grit than a
turkey gizzard, more heart than "Touched by an Angel."
So with my final B-TOY, I decided to celebrate that nebulous,
but undeniable, American quality: pluck.
With so many excellent candidates, it was far more difficult
than I had anticipated to choose the one American who best
exemplifies our courageous spirit. But the moment I thought
of the following nonpareil individual, the choice became
For years, Liza Minnelli has claimed to be the world's
biggest Tolkien fan. In a world mad for Middle-earth, that's
saying a great deal. And frankly, most fans attributed her
outrageous claim to an overly generous helping of mummies
little helpers. However, Liza shocked the International
Dungeons and Dragons Convention when she announced that
she would soon be the first human to marry an orc. Of course,
every Tolkien fanatic has, at one time or another, fantasized
about hooking up with an orc, but none to date had actually
mustered the courage of their convictions. Until now. With
Michael "Gollum" Jackson as their best man, Liza
and her new groom were married in March.
What's more, Ms. Minnelli didn't choose the standard beer-guzzling,
Raiders-loving, crotch-scratching orc. She chose one of
the most terrifying of Middle-earth's monsters: the gay
orc. True, Liza's "sophisticated" new groom just
loves her to death. But every day she faces a new terror.
When she's not hiding her Lady Gillette (so he can't use
it to shave his forehead), she's fighting a losing battle
to keep his scaly feet out of her shoes. When I tried to
imagine any of the other nominees withstanding these horrors,
I knew I'd found my final B-TOY winner.
÷ ÷ ÷
In these trying times, countless Americans have stepped
up to the plate to remind the world, "Hey, we're better
than you." This is important work. With the institution
of the Bibliolatry Trio of the Year Award, I am proud to
be doing my part to show the world who we really are.
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