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Tony & Tacky
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May 6, 2005



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, picks and pans. Tony or tacky, our way of calling attention to the best and worst of the week. We begin with Melanie Kirkpatrick, who noticed that a very special award has been given to Yao Ming, the 7-foot-6-inch center for the Houston Rockets, who hails from Shanghai, where Yao's multi-million dollar income is widely admired. Melanie, tony or tacky?

MELANIE KIRKPATRICK: What's Chinese for tony? Whatever it is, I'm giving one to Yao Ming, who was awarded by the Communist Party of China the Model Worker award. These awards date back to 1949 and the revolution, when Chairman Mao Tse-tung wanted to honor the Proletariat. Well, 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 dollars, compared to the annual per capita income in China of about a thousand dollars.

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.

PAUL GIGOT: That could work in Congress, too, Melanie. Thanks.

Proving yet again that there are fewer and fewer boundaries, the last installment of the Star Wars saga is coming out, and it carries a warning to parents that they may not want their young children to see all the violence and other disturbing content. Dan, who gets the tacky?

DAN HENNINGER: Well, a very sad tacky to George Lucas, I'm afraid. STAR WARS -- the first one came out in 1977 and, well, times have changed since then. The new STAR WARS, according to reporters who have seen it, is full of a lot of violence and very intense images, and they say the PG-13 is well-deserved. 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. So you've got to say to yourself, ³What is going on here? Why have they gone so grim and dark?² And 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. Very sad, bummer, tacky.

PAUL GIGOT: All right, thanks Dan. That's it for this edition of THE JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Thank you from all of us. We'll be back next week and we hope you'll join us then.