Times Watch Quotes of Note - Beware the 'Symbolic Phallus' of Summer Movie Season

Also, Matt Bai reveals his political sympathies in separate profiles of Mario Cuomo and Newt Gingrich, the Times suggests it's "ugly" to celebrate the death of a mass terrorist, and meet the new DNC head: "Ms. Wasserman Schultz has long been one of the '-est' girls: youngest, smartest, funniest, toughest."
Newt Gingrich: He's No Mario Cuomo

"Whatever can Newt Gingrich be thinking? That's the question a lot of political handicappers are asking now that Newt, as he is universally known in Washington, has decided to enter the 2012 campaign, with an announcement expected on Wednesday. Until recently, most of my colleagues assumed that the former speaker of the House, who flirted with running four years ago, was merely doing the same thing now, just to stay in the news. I mean, let's be unsparing about this: Mr. Gingrich has never been elected to anything outside his old Congressional district in Georgia." - Political writer Matt Bai on former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, May 11.


"If you were a kid in the Northeast during the 1980s, as I was, there is something awesome - in the literal sense - about sitting across a desk from Mario Cuomo, even if he now misplaces names and occasionally grasps for the point of an anecdote that has fluttered just out of reach. He was, at that time, the anti-Reagan, a powerful and resonant voice of dissent in the age of "Top Gun" and Alex P. Keaton. Cuomo, Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson were the three titans of the day who seemed to possess the defiance needed to rescue liberalism from obsolescence." - Bai in an April 10 Sunday Magazine profile of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.


Manohla Dargis Tries to Ruin Another Summer Movie Season
, Laments "Symbolic Phallus"

"The summer season brings the usual cavalcade of testosterone-fueled action heroes, including Thor, the Green Lantern, Captain America and Conan the Barbarian. But action-movie derring-do is not always an exclusively male preserve, and in the last year some women and girls - Evelyn Salt, Lisbeth Salander and the lingerie-clad avengers of 'Sucker Punch,' among others - have been shooting and not just clawing their way into macho territory. Is this empowerment or exploitation? Feminism or fetishism?....I just don't believe that scene where her character pulls out a rifle to protect the wagon train's Indian prisoner - or should I say when she takes possession of the symbolic phallus." - Feminist movie critic Manohla Dargis on a violent scene in the new western movie "Meek's Cutoff."

"Ugly" to Celebrate Mass Terrorist's Death

"Celebrating a Death: Ugly, Maybe, but Only Human." - May 6 headline about Americans cheering the death of Osama bin Laden.

Obama Nabs Osama: 'Glow of National Pride,' But Bush's Capture of Saddam Only 'Momentarily' Halted 'Spiral of Concern'

"Support for President Obama rose sharply after the killing of Osama bin Laden, with a majority now approving of his overall job performance, as well as his handling of foreign policy, the war in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. The glow of national pride seemed to rise above partisan politics, as support for the president rose significantly among both Republicans and independents. In all, 57 percent said they now approved of the president's job performance, up from 46 percent last month." - First two paragraphs of May 5 lead story, "Bin Laden Gives President Big Lift in Poll."


"The capture of Saddam Hussein has lifted Americans' view of the state of the nation and their opinion of President Bush, while at least momentarily halting what had been a spiral of concern about the nation's economic and foreign policy, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll. But even in the glow of Mr. Hussein's capture, Americans worry that United States forces will be mired in Iraq for years, are concerned that the attacks on American troops will continue and say that President Bush has no plan to extricate the United States from Iraq, the poll found. And 60 percent of Americans said the United States was as vulnerable to a terrorist attack as it was before Mr. Hussein was pulled from a hole in Ad Dwar." - Story from December 17, 2003, "Bush's Approval Ratings Climb In Days After Hussein's Capture."

New DNC Head One of the "Youngest, Smartest, Funniest, Toughest"

"In less than two weeks, Ms. Wasserman Schultz - mother, wife, Girl Scout leader, legislator, fund-raiser and House vote counter - will add another job to her monumentally orchestrated life. She will become the first woman elected to lead the Democratic National Committee, a role that requires grit, exaltation and inspiration. At 44, she will be the youngest committee leader in decades....With her trademark curls, Ms. Wasserman Schultz has long been one of the '-est' girls: youngest, smartest, funniest, toughest. Her Democratic colleagues extol her fund-raising prowess, her ease on television and her indefatigability, which is legendary among her colleagues." - From Lizette Alvarez's April 25 profile. (Wasserman Schultz is actually the second woman to head the DNC, not the first.)

You can read the rest of the quotes at Times Watch Quotes of Note.