Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
The Journal Editorial Report
Front Page
Lead Story
Briefing & Opinion
Tony & Tacky
TV Schedule
For Teachers
About the Series

Tony and Tacky
January 14, 2005

Good taste or bad is revealed in everything we are, do, have. Emily Post

Lincoln book cover Claiming Abe
Bret Stephens awards a tacky to THE INTIMATE WORLD OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN by C.A. Tripp. The author bases his thesis on flimsy evidence, says Stephens, but even more dubious is the effort by author Andrew Sullivan to use it as a cudgel against "supposedly homophobic conservatives." One example cited by Tripp to support his theory is the fact that at the age of 20, Lincoln wrote a comic poem about a boy named Biley who marries a boy named Naty. "The girls he had tried on every side, but none could he get to agree. All was in vain. He went home again and since then he is married to Naty." Concludes Stephen, "If that's your standard of evidence, maybe I should write a book about the fact that Lincoln was Jewish. After all, who else names their first-born Abraham?"

Opinion or Promotion? Armstrong Williams
In an effort to garner support for its education reforms, the Bush Administration paid conservative commentator Armstrong Williams to promote No Child Left Behind and to feature the Education Secretary Rod Paige as a studio guest. Jason Riley awards Williams a tacky for the obvious ethical lapses in failing to disclose the payment, but also for a more insidious component. "Black conservatives are often accused by liberals of simply being pawns of white conservatives," says Riley. "It's difficult to find a black person on the political right who has not been leveled with this charge, be it Clarence Thomas or Secretary of State Colin Powell or academic Tom Sowell. Armstrong Williams has given some credibility to the accusation that blacks can't think for themselves. And that's a shame."

Students say the Pledge of Allegiance Callous Costume
The Royal family appears to be missing a good taste gene suggests Melanie Fitzpatrick, who awards Prince Harry a tacky for appearing as a Nazi at a costume party. "This isn't Prince Harry's first bit of bad behavior," says Fitzpatrick, "but it really has struck a bad chord in the U.K. and around the world. I think a lot of people are worried that Prince Harry, and perhaps others of his generation, don't understand the perfidy of the Nazis." Kirkpatrick concurs with his father Prince Charles who suggests a visit to Auschwitz on the 60th anniversary might be an ideal reality check for the young lad.