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Aug. 15 2002 11:34 AM

Damn Dirty Slate!

Perhaps it is a sign of the August news lull, but the normally innocuous "Explainer" caught thousands of angry posts for its discussionof Charlton Heston's right to bear arms. (There were warning signs: Earlier, history guy had accusedSlate of using Explainer to snipe at a troubled competitor.) There were some defenses of Slate's article, but they were lackluster.


Nor could anyone muster up much anguish over the president's economic forum in Waco. Liberals and conservatives actually agreed that they expected nothing from it and got what they expected. Only RonK, already in his back-to-school mode, seems geared up for the midterm elections.

And speaking of erections, no one was all that worked up about HBO's Real Sex or the "Ad Report Card" on natural male enhancers. There was a warm-hearted defense of John Waters and some strident anti-ness for Toby Keith, but this only confirmed Rob Walker's point: Sex sells best when it isn't selling sex.

Subject: At Long Last, Have You No Sense of Decency?
"Explainer: Will Charlton Heston Have To Give Up His Guns?"
Eric Friedemann
Aug. 12, 2002 8:29 a.m.

Are the concepts of cruelty and bad taste completely lost on those who "edit" Slate? The Charlton Heston "Explainer" piece is breathtaking.

Charlton Heston has made a courageous public statement under horrific circumstances, publicly admitting that he probably has Alzheimer's disease. That a public figure like Heston or Ronald Reagan would have the guts to discuss such an awful illness openly deserves praise, not a snide, back-handed attack in the guise of examining California's draconian firearms laws.

Also, Charlton Heston has, for years, been an honest, courteous advocate for the rights guaranteed to gun owners under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. If Norman Lear or Alec Baldwin were diagnosed with a brain-wasting disease, would Slate be running ironic commentary about them? Has Slate poked fun at former editor Michael Kinsley's sad affliction, Parkinson's disease? Of course not; that would be inhuman.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: If a President Holds a Forum, and No One Cares …
"Ballot Box: Fake Forum"
Aug. 13, 2002 6:43 p.m.

Assume everything William Saletan says about the Waco forum is true. What, then, was the point of having it?



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