Jewish World Review Jan. 30, 2003 / 27 Shevat, 5763

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Get tougher? | Over someone's shoulder on the bus, I read a headline that informed me: "Pentagon urged to get tougher on terror." Because the person holding the paper flipped to the sports section, I never got to read the article that accompanied this banner, but it set my mind a whirring with questions.

Who, exactly, was urging the Pentagon to get tougher on terror? Congress? The President? Joe Six Pack? Robert Downey Jr?

What does that mean, "get tougher on terror?" The Pentagon was the driving force behind our bombing runs in Afghanistan, I assume. How much tougher can you get? What are they supposed to do? Drop bigger bombs from a higher altitude? Just pave Islam over with bituminous asphalt and start again?

And what did this headline mean by "terror?" Did it refer to terrorists and terrorist activities, or to terror itself? If the latter, how can a huge government entity get tough on something as nebulous as "terror?" I mean, many things terrify us. Spiders, snipers, the image of Ken Burns, that little fuzzy bear in the detergent commercials, Madonna's acting and outside of massive infusions of Prozac, there is no protection from terror as an emotion. Is the Pentagon on Prozac?

Even more terrifying, to me at least, if the Pentagon is insufficiently tough on terror, where does that leave the rest of us? Do all of us need to get tougher on terror? If we dive under the table every time a truck backfires, or a plane flies overhead, as we hold our breath when we see white powder spilled, or if we scream when an actress in a thirties movie enters a night club wearing a chic turban on her head --- are we in fact being soft on terror?

But what does THAT mean? Soft is good, according to the little fuzzy bear in the detergent commercials. But tough is ALSO good, if you want those stains removed. Soft and tough must commingle in order to get the job done. I saw an ad on television for the coyly named Feminine Deodorant Spray, or FDS, that promised its users "confidence." Confidence in what? I don't know. The ad didn't say. Do non-users of FDS suffer from a lack of confidence? Would that include the Pentagon? Does the war on terror need a dose of FDS, in addition to the Prozac?

Well, a few things are obvious. I'm going to have to start shelling out a quarter to buy my own newspaper, for one thing, attention deficit disorder or not. And clearly, we are in need of some new adjectives for our ongoing struggle. I recommend "fresh," "lemony," and "harsh." And while we're at it, could we find a new enemy as well? This whole terror thing just isn't working for me. Is it working for you? It's not working for me.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.


01/21/03: Spinning through the 'newscycle'
01/16/03: "G" for verbal violence?
01/03/03: Farewell to novelty
12/23/02: Neo-frontiers
12/18/02: A nation of hypochondriacs?
12/11/02: Cursed
11/08/02: Good news for skateboarders looking to keep up with world events
11/01/02: "Extreme" annoyance
10/24/02: Snipers are people, too!
10/16/02: Hockey Therapy
10/08/02: Cupid, the parasite
10/03/02: How to have fun in Africa
09/30/02: If you are employed, you're part of the problem
09/25/02: "Up and comers," go away!
09/18/02: Collectibilitized
09/10/02: Monotone felons
08/20/02: Will we soon need a passport to get caviar, duc a la orange, or Polish sausage?
08/14/02: Law and Disorder --- and Starbucks
08/12/02: Rummy's monkey
08/05/02: Time for some real cultural heroes
07/31/02: Yearning for a nostalgic American product that was neither
07/24/02: Voicemail heaven?
07/18/02: At the movies with your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon
07/12/02: King of Kitsch
07/09/02: Musicians' brains
07/01/02: Where's my cow?
06/24/02: Modern record stores can be a scary proposition
06/21/02: Life IS a movie?
06/19/02: Spreading fertilizer on a dictionary to try to raise a novel
06/17/02: Happy cows are really miserable?
06/12/02: Very similar to a rock
06/05/02: Of Humice and Men
05/30/02: Pooches in sharkskin suits and the end of dog tags
05/22/02: We baby boomers used to rule the roost
05/20/02: The Files now Ex
05/14/02: Entangled in Spider-Man's web!?
05/02/02: April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda
04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales