- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 3, 2002

Nuclear stars?
"Movie stars run the world. Movie stars trump everybody. …
"We all know they're world-famous and important, that they are in effect corporations whose personal success is responsible for the creation of hundreds and thousands of jobs. We all know their faces are world-famous. … The big ones Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks trump senators and, arguably, the entire House. They trump governors, whom they think of as men with unfortunate hair.
"Movie stars trump the real princes of sort-of-real thrones, such as England's. If Prince Charles and Russell Crowe walked down the street together in any city in any country on any continent in the world, the crowd would flock to Mr. Crowe and ignore the nice, well-tailored man at his side.
"Any number of senators and officials can say they want a World War II monument in the Mall, but if Tom Hanks wants it done, it gets done, period. It's getting done even as we speak.
"The only person movie stars do not trump is the American president, while he is president, and in only one way does he trump them: He can nuke someone. Movie stars don't have that power, yet."
Peggy Noonan, writing on "Star-Spangled Evenings," Friday in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

Classroom herds
"My parents, with 90 years of university teaching between them, had a wide net of former students all over the world who still cared about them and still corresponded with them, many with great affection. One professor put it bluntly: 'Who enjoys teaching what comes out of the high schools these days? It's just a ritual; these kids only want to party. But the good ones save me.' …
"We live in a society that spends lavishly on a Cold-War-size military, beer, and football. Yes, we also spend a lot on education but we are willing to accept second-rate results, or worse. We consider it a great victory to reduce teacher-student ratios to one to 25, when our goal should be making them one to two or three.
"Why not admit that anything less than one teacher for a few students is a poor way to teach? … The problem is that education is an industry, that schools are factories and that teaching is herding."
David D. Perlmutter in "Love Those Teacher's Pets" in the March 15 Chronicle of Higher Education.

Lost star
"Although James Dean starred in only three films ('East of Eden,' 'Rebel Without a Cause,' 'Giant') before a car crash claimed his life at age 24, his searing presence and performances … captivated a generation. He was brilliant … in 'East of Eden' as a bruised boy caught between a ramrod of a father and a slatternly, wayward mother. But it was in 'Rebel Without a Cause' that he electrified audiences as an alienated teen-ager. … It wasn't that teens merely identified with Dean in 'Rebel Without a Cause.' … It was as if he was them. That made him a legend.
"Dean was long gone before the 1955 Academy Awards, when he was nominated for his work in 'East of Eden' (not, interestingly, for his heralded turn in 'Rebel Without a Cause,' which was released the same year). Influential gossip columnist Hedda Hopper was such a fan of Dean's she campaigned for him to receive an honorary award, but the Academy didn't want to give a special prize to an actor who was already nominated for a performance.
"The following year Dean was nominated again, for … 'Giant.' Though he was yet again riveting, it was popularly believed he didn't have a chance of landing the Oscar because the Academy preferred to hand out awards to the living."
Charles Oakley, writing on "The 10 Most Famous Actors Who Never Won Oscars," in the April issue of Movieline

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