- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2006

‘Hippie fantasy’

“[I]nsofar as there is any of the historically New World in [‘The New World’] it is a hippie fantasy rather than the real thing.

“The Indians, so far as we see them, never work. They take their ease and play all day, apparently, while living in peace, harmony and plenty. Meanwhile the settlers work and slave constantly and yet are reduced to eating shoe leather and each other. The latter seem to have no idea of hunting, fishing or agriculture and to be utterly dependent on getting game and corn from the Indians — or supplies from England. … Similarly, the Indians are all attractive, graceful, well-proportioned and handsomely decorated with tattoos, like Allen Iverson. The English are all dirty, ugly, toothless and bedraggled … and their gold-lust — or is it God-lust? — makes them hate-filled, vicious, and constantly at one another’s throats. …

“This is a film … with lots of pretty pictures and lots of pretty music, but the world it portrays goes back only 40 rather than 400 years.”

— James Bowman, writing on “The New World,” Tuesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Popcorn profits

“Theater chains … are in three different businesses.

“First, they are in the fast-food business, selling popcorn, soda, and other snacks. This is an extremely profitable operation. … Popcorn … yields more than 90 cents of profit on every dollar of popcorn sold. It also serves to make customers thirsty for sodas, another high-margin product … One theater chain executive went so far as to describe the cup holder mounted on each seat, which allows customers to park their soda while returning to the concession stand for more popcorn, as ‘the most important technological innovation since sound.’ …

“Second, theater chains are in the movie exhibition business. Here they are partners with the studios. Although every deal is different, the theaters and the studios generally wind up splitting the take from the box office roughly 50-50. …

“Third, the theaters are in the advertising business. They sell on-screen ads. …

“[T]he ultimate test for the popcorn economy is: Will a movie attract enough consumers of buckets of popcorn and soda to justify turning over multiple screens to it?”

— Edward Jay Epstein, writing on “The Popcorn Palace Economy,” Monday in Slate at www.slate.com

Ivy history

“[T]he rapid influx of Jewish students in the early years of the 20th century presented a dramatic challenge to the existing Ivy League order. …

“In an effort to limit Jewish enrollment, admissions officers began to emphasize qualities such as ‘character,’ ‘leadership,’ and ‘manliness.’ …

“In 1925 … Jews comprised 28 percent of [Harvard University’s] undergraduate class. Within just a few years, the figure dropped to half that. At the top universities, an informal quota system remained in place for decades. …

“As late as 1960, just 15 of the more than 3,000 freshmen enrolled at Harvard, Yale and Princeton were black. Following the Watts riots of 1965, administrators moved quickly to boost these numbers. …

“The result was dramatic. By 1970, about 9 percent of the freshmen at the top Ivies were black, an 18-fold increase in a single decade.”

— Jonathan Kay, writing on “Gatekeepers,” in the January issue of Commentary

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