- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Teen spirit

“The premise of 2004’s inaugural ‘down with it’ teen flick, ‘The Perfect Score,’ is so obviously ripe it boggles the mind that no one has exploited it yet: A band of students gets together to steal the SAT answers because, as the movie lets us know, the SAT is a brutal example of The Man’s oppression. …

“The movie’s premise, and the casting of scoliosis-babe Scarlett Johansson, are the film’s two plusses, which are two plusses more than most movies that make it to your local multiplex. In many ways, this poorly scripted, poorly directed and poorly acted movie’s heart is in the right place: ‘The Perfect Score’ is pro-theft, pro-drugs and pro-[promiscuity] in a heartwarming way, even if it gets squeamish in the end and backs away with a ‘Brady Bunch’ ending.

“So there you have it: ‘The Perfect Score’ is not very good, but relevant.”

Mark Ames, writing on “The Perfect Score,” in the Feb. 11 issue of New York Press

Global envy

“Suppose the world awoke tomorrow and, miraculously, every country suddenly enjoyed the same per capita income as the United States, or roughly $40,000 per year. Global annual income would soar to $300 trillion, or some 10 times what it is now. And while we’re at it, suppose also that international education levels, infant mortality rates, and life expectancies all converged to the levels in rich countries. In short, what if foreign aid worked and economic development happened overnight instead of over centuries? …

“Is it possible that, deep down, the world’s wealthy fear what will happen if the developing countries really did catch up, and if the advantages their own children enjoy were shared by all? Would the dream become a nightmare?

“The world’s youth would grow up thinking that ‘Hollywood’ must be a wordplay on ‘Bollywood,’ and McDonald’s hamburgers would be viewed a minor ethnic cuisine. And a country such as Canada would suddenly have the economic heft of Luxembourg, with much of its population reduced to serving once poor, now rich, international tourists.”

Roger Rogoff, writing on “A development nightmare,” in the January/February issue of Foreign Policy

Nanny wars

“[G]et a bunch of professional women together, and they will freely admit that day care [is bad]; get a nanny. This was a truth that Naomi Wolf … learned the hard way. …

” ‘I had wanted us to be a mother and a father raising children side by side … in equitable balance, maybe each working flexibly from home, the two making the same world and sharing the same experiences and values.’ She had wanted a revolution; what she got was a Venezuelan.

“I am about the same age as Naomi Wolf, and we had children at about the same time, but I had neither expected nor wanted a revolution. …

“What few will admit … is that when a mother works, something is lost. Children crave their mothers. They always have and they always will. … If you want to make an upper-middle-class woman squeal in indignation, tell her she can’t have something. If she works she can’t have as deep and connected a relationship with her child as she would if she stayed home and raised him.”

Caitlin Flanagan, writing on “How Serfdom Saved the Women’s Movement,” in the March issue of the Atlantic Monthly

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