And now the most compelling two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
Got Complaints, Not Compliments
On his honeymoon on the Caribbean Island of Nevis last week, Presidential Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, traveling under an assumed name, was nonetheless promptly recognized by a taxi driver. "You look like that Ari Fleischer guy," said the driver. "A lot of people say that," Fleischer replied, trying to maintain his cover. The driver then proceeded to reel off a list of complaints about the Bush administration and Fleischer himself. Fleischer, still in honeymoon mode, decided the best course was to pretend to agree with the guy, which he reports, he did. After that, he said, he wore a hat and sunglasses.
Columnist Stirring Up Racial Hatred?
Police in London have arrested a columnist for the Daily Telegraph on suspicion that he stirred up racial hatred. Sixty-one-year-old Robin Page, who is a commentator on rural issues, made a speech to a pro-fox hunting rally in southwestern England back in September. In it, Page said if people in London can hold events such as gay pride marches and carnivals celebrating black culture, then country people should be allowed to pursue their culture, including fox hunting, a pastime which the British government wants to outlaw. Page says he said nothing racist, but was nonetheless arrested on suspicion of committing offenses against public order.
White People, Black Faces
And here at home, two fraternities at the University of Virginia have been suspended because some guests at a Halloween party were wearing blackface. Two men at the party, given jointly by Zeta Psi and Kappa Alpha, were dressed as the tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams, and another was dressed as a black Uncle Sam. Aaron Laushway, the dean in charge of fraternities, said he was disappointed at behavior he said was "very offensive and painful to other students."
Invited to Read, Uninvited to Read...
Remember that Irish poet Tom Paulin, who was invited to Harvard to deliver a poetry reading, then uninvited after it turned out that he had called for Brooklyn-born Jewish settlers in the West Bank to be "shot dead," adding, "I think they are Nazis, racists. I feel nothing but hate for them." Harvard said Paulin had been uninvited by mutual consent, the university has now re-invited him, citing the First Amendment, according to the Harvard Crimson. Meanwhile, Harvard Law School is considering banning certain forms of speech considered to be harassing.