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October 14, 2005



DAN HENNINGER: Winners and losers, picks and pans, Tony or Tacky. Our way of calling attention to the best and worst of the week.

During a stop in Louisiana this week the first lady got involved in the fight for her husband's Supreme Court nominee saying some of the criticism of Harriet Miers seemed sexist. Rob? Tony or tacky?

ROB POLLOCK: Well, that's a tacky obviously. Perhaps made slightly better by the fact that it was a response to an obviously leading question. On the other hand it was clearly part of the talking points that the White House has put out to counter critics of the Harriet Miers nomination, talking points which are frankly juvenile. You'd think that the White House of all places would know better than to accuse people of isms given that it's vulnerable to charges of both tokenism and cronyism itself.

DAN HENNINGER: Thanks Rob. The Nobel Prize for literature was given this week to the British playwright Harold Pinter. Our writer, Jason Riley, believes this award deserves another. Jason, a tony or a tacky here?

JASON RILEY: Well the Academy says it gave Pinter the award for "being the foremost representative of British drama in the second half of the 20th century" but given the Academy's tendency to give these awards to anti-American and anti-capitalist individuals, I suspect that Pinter's political views also had something to do with him receiving this prize.

Typical is a 2003 speech he gave just before we went into Iraq where he said, "The United States is a monster out of control. Unless we challenge it with absolute determination American barbarism will destroy the world. The country is run by a bunch of criminal lunatics with Blair as their hired Christian thug. The planned attack on Iraq is an act of premeditated mass murder."

Now those are exactly the kinds of words that the Academy likes to hear before they award these prizes.

DAN HENNINGER: I myself may go to Norway for the acceptance speech. Can't wait.

Finally, the Smurfs. Most people think of them as jolly creatures totally suitable for children to watch. But now, in what appears to be a good cause, the Smurf village has been carpet-bombed in a UNICEF commercial. You probably would not want your children to see it. Kim, let me guess -- tony or tacky?

KIM STRASSEL: Yeah, the news is UNICEF, which is the children's arm of the United Nations is running a new commercial. It opens with the Smurfs playing in the sunshine and then suddenly war planes come out and bomb the Smurf village into smithereens, kill a Smurfette and leave baby Smurf wailing in the rubble. It's hard to know where to begin here.

You know UNICEF is ostensibly running this commercial to drum up donations for its fund to help ex-children's soldiers in Africa, a laudable goal. But there's no getting around the fact that there is an anti-war theme to this and I think it's telling that they're only running it in Europe and not in the United States which by the way happens to be a huge source of donations for UNICEF.

But also, come on, I mean who would do this to the Smurfs? UNICEF says it's trying to shock people into donations, but it strikes me that if this program is as worthy as UNICEF says it is it should be able to come up with a better way of doing this than carpet-bombing such lovable blue characters. It's a little tacky.

DAN HENNINGER: Sounds like UNICEF needs a visit from the Power Rangers.

That's it for this edition of THE JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Thank you from all of us. Paul Gigot and the rest of us will be back next week and we hope you'll join us then.