Chinese basketball player Yao Ming, a 7-foot-6 center for the Houston Rockets, is not a typical working-class prole. But this May Day, the Communist Party of China bestowed upon him the Model Worker award, a tribute usually reserved for more humble laborers or factory workers. Melanie Kirkpatrick adds a tony to Yao's accolades. "These awards date back to 1949 and the revolution, when Chairman Mao Tse-tung wanted to honor the proletariat," says Kirkpatrick. "I think under Mao's standards, comrade Yao Ming would be considered a capitalist running dog. He has a contract with the Houston Rockets for $18 million, compared to the annual per capita income in China of about $1,000. But, while I'm giving out tonys, I'd also like to give one to the reformers in the Chinese economy who, like Yao Ming, are standing for individual efforts and, even in Communist China, the free market."
The latest STAR WARS release, the prequel REVENGE OF THE SITH, may be too violent and intense for young children. A very sad tacky to George Lucas, says Daniel Henninger. "For starters, a young Darth Vader gets horribly mutilated in a fight with a young Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yoda suffers electro-shock torture at the hands of the emperor, and apparently there's these incredibly violent battle scenes with the best that computer graphics can generate. Why have they gone so grim and dark? I think the answer is that the movie is essentially a two-hour commercial for the inevitable video game version, and that George Lucas, I'm sad to say, has gone over to the dark side."