Natasha Berger

Recent Articles

Liberal Arts:

W hen Rosie O'Donnell showed up on The O'Reilly Factor last week, the stage was set for a bludgeoning. You don't just toss Bill O'Reilly a Hollywood liberal -- a lesbian no less -- and expect her to emerge unscathed. But instead, it seemed the two met in a political middle of sorts. "Before September 11, I was definitely mildly myopic in terms of my political agenda," Rosie confessed. "If you were a Democrat, you were probably right. If you were a Republican, you were probably wrong. Everything changed for me." Before the night was over she expressed disgust for Bill Clinton and belated admiration for Rudy Giuliani, and softened her anti-gun stance. And even as she gracefully parried questions about the ability of gays to parent, Rosie seemed to hedge on the issue of gay visibility. The very apparent relationship between Ellen Degeneres and Anne Heche, she said, "was offensive to me." The O'Reilly appearance confirmed what many in the gay and lesbian media have long suspected: Rosie's...

Liberal Arts:

I t all comes to an end this weekend: the furtive lobbying, the flinging of accusations, the petty rivalry. By now we know that Hollywood studios are not above a little politicking for the coveted Best Picture award. But whether or not the hype about a studio-driven smear campaign has any merit , there's something disconcerting in the way the debate over Best Picture contender "A Beautiful Mind," and its subject, the brilliant but schizophrenic mathematician John Nash has been framed in the media. Murmurs about the film started back in November, after a DrudgeReport story charged director Ron Howard with distorting Nash's biography -- leaving out his apparent bisexuality -- to make him more palatable to moviegoers. The story made the rounds of the gay press, then the mainstream press. It drew outrage in both quarters. Matt Drudge quoted a GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) exec as saying it was "rather alarming in this day and age that Universal Studios and Dreamworks...

Liberal Arts:

S ay what you will about Alec Baldwin -- "obnoxious" frequently comes to mind -- when it comes to politics he certainly doesn't hold anything back. "I know that's a harsh thing to say, perhaps, but I believe that what happened in 2000 did as much damage to the pillars of democracy as terrorists did to the pillars of commerce in New York City," Baldwin told students at Florida A&M University recently, referring to the election recount fiasco. Then -- really playing with fire -- he added: "When Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon spokespeople say to you, 'Well, this is going to be a long war, we're going to be in Afghanistan for the long haul,' what that euphemism means is that the moratorium on criticizing the government must be extended longer and longer and longer -- ideally, beyond the 2002 election." Baldwin is a celebrity activist -- a type of liberal that gives conservative media hounds apoplectic fits. So it should surprise no one that these comments unleashed a wave of Baldwin...

Liberal Arts:

I t's official -- Doris Kearns Goodwin is tainted goods. Her plight was perhaps best summarized recently by Los Angeles Times editor John Carroll, who also chairs the board of the Pulitzer Prize. Regarding the board's Tuesday decision to part ways with Goodwin, Carroll said he was prepared to do "whatever was necessary to maintain the highest standard of integrity for the Pulitzer Prize process." In case you somehow haven't heard it all already, here's how Goodwin was brought so low. Apparently, her book -- The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys -- copied, nearly verbatim and without citation, passages from another author's book. Since then, an avalanche of condemnation has descended on the popular historian, with especially harsh assessments meted out by Timothy Noah in Slate and Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post . Goodwin, for her part, has apologized repeatedly and profusely, maintaining the theft was unintentional, a result of carelessness and poor organization of source materials...

Hall of Shame:

A Note to our Readers: With this article, Natasha Berger will be ceasing her weekly catalogue of lunacies known as Hall of Shame. But she'll be back next week with a new and longer column -- look out for it! U nless I've fallen victim to a Swiftian ruse, it seems The Wall Street Journal 's Richard A. Epstein is serious when he suggests the process of organ donation would be smoother under market rules. In his own words: Sound ghoulish? Bear with me. The standing American policy of the distribution of transplant organs can be summarized in one proposition: It is divine to give, but evil to sell. Altruism is chic; individuals are encouraged to give their organs at death and even during life. And they do, chiefly to close family members. This organ hoarding is not inevitable, Epstein argues. If only we paid people to donate at death, laws of supply and demand would ensure a steady flow of organs to people who need them. Meanwhile, the extra money would make the donor's funeral expenses...

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