Dispatches > The Buzz

QuickTakes

Issue: "View from the Axis," March 9, 2002

A STORY TO TELL: Currently retired from TV, Pat Summerall says he is spending more time telling his life story, which includes sharing his faith. Columnist Terry Mattingly writes that the sportscaster became a Southern Baptist while recovering from alcoholism. Now groups want to hear the story of his recovery, which included a stint at the Betty Ford Center. "I know that I have a story to tell," Mr. Summerall said. "What I'm discovering is that quite a few people actually want to hear about the baptism part, too. I can't be silent about that." He said he's been able to find prayer groups and Bible studies with athletes and coaches while on the road and noted that players from opposing teams often come together for prayer before games, an act that was once unheard of in the NFL. Mr. Summerall said more and more athletes are vocal about their faith. "Those players praying together on the field stand for something," he told Mr. Mattingly. "This is one of the uncovered stories in sports today." FRIENDS OR FOES? Thanks to 9/11, America's view of Saudi Arabia changed radically. As John O'Sullivan notes in the Chicago Sun-Times, the rich oil state went "from America's second-best friend in the Middle East to being the hypocritical financier of fundamentalist Islam and anti-American terrorism." Now some Americans want the House of Saud overthrown in retaliation for funding Islamist schools that feed anti-American sentiment. That would be a bad idea, according to Mr. O'Sullivan. For one thing, the 9/11 terrorists were enemies of Al Saud. For another, the cure may be worse than the disease. Imagine the radicals getting their hands on those valuable oil reserves. Mr. O'Sullivan compared such a coup to the ouster of the Shah of Iran, which led to the Ayatollah Khomeini's regime. AVOID COOTIES: Some public-school kids in California-even those as young as 7-are being subjected to a play that promotes sexual "tolerance" and features a transsexual boy who says, "Let them say I'm like a girl, what's wrong with being like a girl? Let them laugh, let them scream, they'll all be beheaded when I'm queen." Fox News Channel's William La Jeunesse reports that several parents are suing because the school district refused to let their kids opt out of the play. END OF THE ROAD: Chuck Jones was one of the last of America's classic animators, his work a fixture of American popular culture. During his long career, he helped put characters from Tom & Jerry to Bugs Bunny to the Grinch on the screen. The 89-year-old artist passed away in late February due to congestive heart failure. Mr. Jones's career spanned 60 years and included 300 cartoons, three of which earned Oscars. His career began in 1932 when he took a job cleaning animation cells for then-Disney animator Ub Iwerks. Later, Mr. Jones helped Warner Bros. create some of their greatest characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig; his own creations include Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. Some consider his TV adaption of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas to be his best work. Another famous cartoon, What's Opera, Doc? was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1992. His last creation was a character called Timber Wolf, which was developed for online cartoons in 2000. THE LEFT WING: The creator of NBC's popular The West Wing trashed his own network, claiming it gave President Bush too much good coverage. Aaron Sorkin, whose show depicts a political Camelot run by a Democratic chief executive, criticized a news special as a "valentine" to George W. Bush. "That illusion may be what we need right now, but the truth is we're simply pretending to believe that Bush exhibited unspeakable courage at the World Series by throwing out the first pitch, or that he ... showed those terrorists by going to Salt Lake City and jumbling the first line of the Olympic ceremony," he said in The New Yorker. "The media is waving pompoms, and the entire country is being polite." With the exception, evidently, of Mr. Sorkin. He plans a West Wing storyline with his own version of the 2000 presidential race. Mr. Sorkin said he plans to have his Kennedyesque main character run for reelection against a governor "who's not the sharpest tool in the box but who's raised a lot of money and is very popular with the Republican Party."

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