Let the 9/11 mosque ‘breathe free’

This post originally appeared on the Jewish Chronicle

Daisy Khan, the wife of the imam behind the “9/11 Mosque”, has compared the opposition to the plan to antisemitism. She’s absolutely right.

When I visited Washington last year, what struck me was America’s passionate belief in the constitutionally-affirmed right to freedom of speech.

Americans everywhere talk proudly of an ideology of tolerance, or refer to President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech in which freedom of religion was proposed as a fundamental right. Where is that freedom now?

The logic is that it is hugely insensitive to build a mosque at the site of the worst peacetime attack on America in decades. Essentially: the World Trade Centre terrorists were Muslim, ergo doing something good for Muslims is an insult to the victims.

Read the rest of this post here


Blair Waldorf for president?

Photo: Jennifer Lipman

Could you imagine Blair Waldorf and Marissa Cooper in the White House? Nate Archibald and Seth Cohen wandering around Congress, or Vanessa and Summer leading a protest outside the Supreme Court?

You won’t have to, for much longer. Sort of.

Variety reports that Gossip Girl and OC creator Josh Schwartz and his writing partner Stephanie Savage are planning a new TV show following young DC wannabes.

So, Seth the senator, Chuck the congressman, Dan the Democrat or Ryan the Republican?

Or more likely a bunch of low paid interns who in one of Schwartz’s-trademark ludicrous plots wind up running the government and doing it well.

The show is to centre on “a group of twentysomething roommates who juggle their personal and professional lives in Washington.
“The young politicos find that the ideals that brought them to D.C. don’t always match with the realities of living in the nation’s capital.”
Having already taken on California and New York, this is perhaps the inevitable next step. 
Especially because Gossip Girl, with its anonymnous tip-offs, malicious rumours and incriminating photos, is basically a better-dressed version of the political media.  
This is Schwartz, not Sorkin, so while we can expect plenty of high-stakes drama, one imagines there will be less of a forensic look at the inner workings of the Beltway.
Social politics, rather than social policy, one might say.  
 Still, with West Wing firmly part of TV history, there’s definitely space in my viewing schedule for DC TV.

Gossip Girl: parlez vous gossip?

Very, very excited about this. September 13th brings us the fourth season of Gossip Girl, with a Parisian twist.

This is Josh Schwartz, so there is a risk Gossip Girl mark four could be as woefully bad as the final series of the OC, but this trailer, with Blair and Serena fighting, Chuck brooding, Dan babysitting…it all looks like Gossip Girl will be back with a bang.

Why we should ignore the “A levels have got easier” brigade….

I may not have a crystal ball, but I can predict what will be in the papers this Friday.

There will be the now-obligatory shot of a glossy haired, grinning school-leaver clutching a white envelope, another of bespectacled pre-teen prodigy with top marks in his maths A Level, not to mention the tearful tale of a teenager whose university dreams have just gone up in flames….

Read the rest of this post on The Times: School Gate here

Gossip Girl – new season on the way

Time for some Gossip Girl season four teasers. You know you love them.

As you’ll remember from the finale of season three, we were left wondering about several things – would Chuck survive the ultimate bender in Prague (pool of blood etc etc),are Serena and Dan headed for the big relationship rekindle, is Georgina really expecting a mini-Humphrey, and, most importantly, has Little J been run out of town for good?

It’s now just six weeks till we find out (or, more likely, don’t). But what to expect?

Allegedly, a baby called Milo (atrocious but absolutely what you’d expect a minted Manhattan Bristol-Palin-a-like to choose), a new Nate dater and judging by some well-publicised set shots, S and B having the mother of all shopping sprees in Paris.

And, according to NYmag: “The best piece of news: In Paris, Blair is back to wearing headbands, specifically “jeweled” ones”

Well that should keep you going.