- The Washington Times - Monday, August 13, 2001

Big-ticket book
"Former president Bill Clinton may not have a quarterback's knack for throwing a football or the box-office draw of a leading man, but the record-setting deal for his memoirs announced [last] week shows that America's culture of celebrity is increasingly sloshing over into the more artful industry of writing.
"Mr. Clinton's deal, reported to be between $10 million and $12 million, has pushed the industry into pricetags usually associated with those who appear on the cover of People magazine.
"Critics say publishers already offer less marketing and promotion attention to their midlist authors, and industry observers say big-ticket books like Mr. Clinton's will use up even more marketing dollars in an effort to recoup publishers' initial layout.
"By one back-of-the-envelope calculation, that will require a sale of upward of 2 million books.
"Almost every president since Ulysses S. Grant has written some type of biography, and more recently, every celebrity from Lee Iacocca to Lee Ann Rimes has taken pen in hand. What is different about the Clinton deal is the sheer dollar amount.
"Should the Clinton book, due out in 2003, not prove to be a bestseller, other authors will pay for the failure, says Samuel Freedman, professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York and author of four books. 'If Knopf has to write off $2 million or $3 million, that's going to be taken out of the hide of dozens of writers of serious books.'"
—Kim Campbell, writing "Publishers raise ante with celebrity deals," in the Aug. 7 Christian Science Monitor

Too many babies?
"It's no surprise to anyone who follows population issues to hear that fertility is going down, because we don't know the future of human fertility. We can't tell. But the fact is that fertility levels have been falling dramatically all around the world, in places that have surprised demographers, over the last generation. The fact of improved longevity and declining fertility means slower population growth and older populations.
"To stop the graying of world population would require a world catastrophe. And to reverse the fertility decline would require a change in parental values of a magnitude that has not been recorded since the beginning of the world fertility decline.
"I think the U.N. Fund for Population is institutionally committed to the proposition that there is a permanent population crisis. The nature of the Malthusian anti-natal ideology is such that there's never room for one more. I remember, some years ago, a Washington Post reporter was writing that the problems of Russia were due to its overpopulation — this was at a time when Russia's fertility level was about 1.3 births per woman per lifetime. If you're a true believer, there are always too many babies."
—Economist Nicholas Eberstadt, interviewed Thursday by Kathryn Jean Lopez in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Birthday suit singer
"You might think the strangest thing about Jennifer Lopez is her taste in men or her allegedly highly diva-ish behavior.
"But that's not what she thinks it is.
"'The weirdest thing about me is that I like to walk around naked. I grew up walking round naked in my house,' Lopez tells Glamour magazine. 'My mom was like that, and my sisters. My father worked nights and slept during the day, so we had no one to hide from.'
"At this point, it seems, she's plumb forgotten how to hide. 'Now I'll be sitting at the breakfast table and everyone's dressed except me,' she says. 'All the people around me are either girls or they're gay, so it doesn't matter.'"
—Amy Reiter, writing on "Clothes a no-go for J-Lo," Thursday in Salon at www.salon.com

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