- The Washington Times - Monday, February 5, 2001

Teen flicks

"The studios churn out movies aimed at teen-agers, all following the established formulas, at this time each year.
"Hollywood believes American teen-agers … have very undemanding tastes… .
"The truth is that teens are more discerning than the studios think.
"The presence of a teen heartthrob like Freddie Prinze Jr. isn't enough to make a hit see, for example, 'Down to You' and 'Boys and Girls.' …
"Teen flicks also can be smarter and far more relevant to real life than many movies aimed at adults… .
"What makes high school movies such a pleasure is the optimistic way they resolve these issues: Justice, however rough and crude, is always done.
"The clever ugly duckling gets the popular boy. The spiteful cheerleader and the arrogant quarterback get their comeuppance.
"It's why movies like 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' and 'Can't Hardly Wait' only get better with age."
Jonathan Foreman, writing on "Hey, Hollywood don't trash teens," Friday in the New York Post

Post-family America

"Work by Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker shows that marriage makes good economic sense only when couples specialize through a primordial division of labor… . However, if both parties undertake the same tasks if both man and woman pursue careers outside the home the gains from marriage sharply diminish, and we should expect to see fewer of them. So it has happened, with the sharpest decline in the marriage rate setting in after the key year, 1970.
"Married women in the workforce have dramatically lowered fertility: They may have one or two children, but only rarely three or more. The reasons are obvious: lack of time for the care and tending of a child-rich home… .
"At the same time … the number of young adults who are unmarried has climbed sharply since 1970. In that year, 36 percent of [U.S.] women, ages 20-24, were unmarried (meaning that 64 percent had already tied the knot). By 1995, the situation had reversed, with 68 percent of such women in the 'never married' category… .
"This is not a 'changing' family system; it is better seen as a 'post-family' world taking form."
Allan Carlson, writing on "The Changing Face of the American Family," in the January issue of the Family in America

Deconstructing Harry

"To millions of children he is a bespectacled hero and trainee wizard.
"Not a bit of it, according to a left-wing French lecturer. In fact, Harry Potter is a 'politically incorrect sexist' with a degrading view of women.
"Lecturer Pierre Bruno went further and branded the character created by J.K. Rowling as a 'class enemy' and 'dangerous role model' for youngsters who want to succeed… .
"He added: 'I would urge parents who want their children to develop non-sexist, non-elitist, progressive views to keep all four Harry Potter novels out of their way. Harry Potter may look like an intellectual with his glasses and his unruly hair, but once deconstructed he is only too clearly the hero of a political allegory for the triumph of the socially ascendant petite bourgeoisie.'
"Mr. Bruno, who teaches social theory at Dijon University, accused author Miss Rowling of perpetuating 'traditionalist and conservative' political symbolism.
"He described the four houses at Harry's Hogwarts' School Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw as 'competing social groups.' He said: 'Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw are the lower orders, hard-working but stupid. Slytherin represents the propertied classes and Harry's house of Gryffindor is the ascendant class of the bourgeoisie.' "
Ian Sparks, writing on "Harry Potter is a sexist pig," Jan. 29 in This Is London atwww.thisislondon.com

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