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Tony & Tacky
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December 17, 2004



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, picks and pans. We call it Tony and Tacky. Our choice for the best and the worst of the week. We begin with Kim's choice. This is the cover of Tom Wolfe's current book about college life. And according to one bunch of critics, it contains some really bad writing about sex. Kim, what's this all about?

KIM STRASSEL: Okay, well this is a tony to the LITERARY REVIEW, which is a London magazine that gives out its annual "bad sex in fiction" award. Gave it Mr. Wolfe this year. And it goes to the novel that has some of the most sort of tasteless and crude sexual descriptions. This isn't to really sort of say anything bad about sex in literature, which has a long and glorious past, but simply that most of us novel readers can agree that when it's done badly it can be really excruciating to read. So, a tony to the REVIEW for reminding us of this, but also for a warning to those of us who are Tom Wolfe fans that it might be better if we just sort of skipped over some of his purple passages if we read through his latest novel.

PAUL GIGOT: Okay, thank you, Kim. Jason Riley has been watching a story in Cleveland where a heart doctor wants to force a McDonald's restaurant to move away from the hospital clinic. Jason, tony or tacky?

JASON RILEY: This is another tony, on the part of McDonald's. Someone needs to stand up to this food fascist out in Cleveland, and I'm glad McDonald's is fighting back. A lot of the staffers at the hospital love the food, it's cheaper than the cafeteria food -- which, by the way, sells the same type of food as McDonald's yet this guy doesn't want to shut that down. And clearly, McDonald's has become a symbol of America's obesity problem, and they are a big, fat target. And a lot of people are going after them. But that calls for more personal responsibility on the part of Americans. We don't need doctors going around dictating where we should eat, let along shutting down legitimate businesses and putting people out of work. So this to McDonald's.

PAUL GIGOT: I wonder if the doctor has children and realizes that McDonald's has rescued more parents at mealtime than any other restaurant in American history. Thank you, Jason.

And finally, Melanie Kirkpatrick has been watching the drama of the hawks and their nest on a fancy Fifth Avenue apartment building overlooking Central Park, and what happened when some residents had the nest taken down. Plenty of candidates here for tonys and tackys, Melanie.

MELANIE KIRKPATRICK: Well, Manhattan isn't exactly the natural habitat for hawks. And when a pair showed up 11 years ago and took up residence on Fifth Avenue, New York City fell in love. They became celebrities. There was a book, a movie, a web site. So you can imagine the uproar when the nest came down last week. Ornithologists gave learned opinions. Lawyers, architects, real estate moguls got involved. There were protesters holding vigils outside on the sidewalk. In short, everybody acted comically -- except for the pair at the center of the dispute. And so, I give a tony to the hawks for giving the people of New York so much pleasure. And now that the apartment building has agreed to let the hawks build their nest again, I will also say, welcome home.

PAUL GIGOT: Only in Manhattan. And thanks, Melanie.

That's it for this edition of THE JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Thank you from all of us. We're off for the next couple of weeks, and we will be back on January 7th. We wish you a happy holiday season, and we hope you'll check your local listings and join us again next time.