The danger we face is not a Chinese superpower or an Islamist superpower: If it's a new boss, you learn the new rules and adjust as best you can. But the greater likelihood is of a world with no superpower at all in which unipolar geopolitics gives way to nonpolar geopolitics, a world without order in which pipsqueak thug states that can't feed their own people globalize their pathologies.
In other words, American hegemony: If not us, who? If not now, when? Read the whole thing; it points out that the threats we, and the world, face are not our opponents' (or even enemies') strengths, but their weaknesses. We have an unbeatable package right now. We won't always - that's the way of things - but at present, there is no other nation, nor even a group of nations functioning together such as the E.U., with the money, the military, the technology, or (much less "and"!) the will to do what we are doing by default: policing, funding, and establishing liberal (you know which "liberal" I mean) social and cultural norms for the world.
Or take this, concerning the recent "rolling hunger strike" of celebs, during which they each vowed to lay off the kibble for 24 whole hours before tagging out and letting the next undernourished accessory display fixture skip three squares:
Personally, if celebrities have to ''put their bodies on the line for peace, I'd much rather see them bulk up. How about if Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow promise to put on 20 pounds for every month Bush refuses to end his illegal war? Absent that, it's hard to see what a ''rolling fast'' does except confirm the vague suspicion one or two Americans may harbor that politically active celebrities are a lot of vain dilettantes unwilling to discombobulate their pampered lifestyles. It's unclear whether any of these celebrities will be ''starving'' long enough even to feel hungry. Bobby Sands and the IRA hunger strikers of the 1980s were never going to force Mrs. Thatcher to back down, but at least they did actually starve themselves to death.
How about if the celebs did that? Wouldn't that, after all, get right to the heart of the matter? Wouldn't that bring piercing clarity to the issue by forcing the American people to choose between tedious geopolitical responsibilities and Jennifer Aniston? Imagine if the flailing neocon warmongers had to explain to the American people why we were now down to one Dixie Chick.
No, I am not kidding: these vacuous infants actually thought it'd be a valid protest, a "sacrifice" worthy of measuring against the sacrifices of U.S. soldiers deployed in the Middle East, to do what crash dieters do by choice. Now. I just watched Emma Thompson's lovely Sense and Sensibility today, and I loooove a good costume drama, as well as a good action flick (I have an as-yet-unset date with the husbands of several of my friends to see X-3 since, inexplicably, neither my own husband nor my women friends are interested). I have great respect for a gifted actor as an actor; I have zero respect for an actor as an activist. Perhaps they just got confused, being used to reading lines on the fly and all, by the fact that the two avocations share some letters at the beginning.
Anyway. That's a decent segue into the world of the cinema.
In Depp’s hands, Cap’n Jack is more of a swishbuckler than a swashbuckler, and the more he swishes the more it’s the movie that seems to buckle. He’s worked so long and so hard and so ostentatiously on multi-layering the micro-details of his character that he leaves everybody else looking like preliminary sketches. It’s like Medea joining Charlie’s Angels: it’s bound to leave the other gals looking a little underwritten.
I haven't seen the first Pirates, about which Steyn was writing there, won't for some time since my oldest has declared it "too scary," and may not see the second ever if the first turns out to stink, but I love the Medea reference. Back in my extreme youth, back when I had a crush on one Jason and was into writing silly love stories, I couldn't imagine anything more romantic than his falling in love with a fictional Medea (even though I did know by then that Medea was a tragic heroine who had murdered her own children and that her marriage to Jason was, like, the definition of ill-starred love). I think I was the only thirteen-year-old in my school who had read the play. I may be the only almost-forty-year-old in my neighborhood who has, for all I know.