- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 8, 2002

Monday Madden
"When the producer of 'Monday Night Football,' Fred Gaudelli, was asked how long it would take for the new announcing 'dream team' of Al Michaels and John Madden to mesh, he replied, 'I would be shocked if it didn't happen right away.' Well, consider Mr. Gaudelli shocked, because it sure didn't happen in [Mondays] 'MNF' preseason debut.
"It can't really come as any surprise that there will need to be an adjustment period, even with two booth vets like Madden and Michaels. They stepped on each other a few times, and many of Al's setups fell flat. Michaels' attempts at humor, like mentioning a collegiate wrestler having a fallback in Vince McMahon's [WWE] and noting that a player named Wesley Mallard naturally went to the University of Oregon (nicknamed the Ducks), were ignored by Madden.
"ABC is kidding itself if it truly believes a broadcaster, even one as popular as Madden, is going to have a serious effect on 'MNF' ratings. The generally held viewpoint is that the network will be happy if the seven-year decline in ratings is merely slowed to a halt. If so, then Madden will have earned his four-year, $20 million contract."
Robert Weintraub, writing on "Madden Serves Up a Turkey," Tuesday in Slate at www.slate.com

Plagiarism saga
"In early January, an anonymous letter arrived at the Washington, D.C., office of the Weekly Standard. It was addressed to Executive Editor Fred Barnes, who had written a piece suggesting that historian Stephen E. Ambrose's book about World War II bombers contained some passages 'barely distinguishable' from another author's work.
"The mystery correspondent opened with a salute, saying Barnes had been 'quite right' to expose Ambrose, and then moved on to the main business of the missive ratting out another celebrity historian: 'I've long been concerned by several instances of plagiarism I noted long ago in Doris Kearns Goodwin's "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys." I believe she ought to be called to account, just as Professor Ambrose has.'
"Passages from the Goodwin book and other Kennedy histories were set down for comparison, beginning with a three-sentence snippet that appeared to be borrowed from a biography of Kathleen Kennedy by Lynne McTaggart, a London-based writer. McTaggart, it would develop, had accused Goodwin long ago of 'slavishly' copying her work, a complaint that led to a secret legal settlement.
"And with that, it began, a literary dust-up that would engulf Goodwin, one of the nation's most popular and publicly visible historians."
Peter H. King, writing on "As History Repeats Itself, the Scholar Becomes the Story," in Sunday's Los Angeles Times

Mrs. Robinson redux
"In the past, when people thought of older women with younger men, they usually pictured a widow of a certain age with a mother-obsessed gigolo, or a past-her-prime movie star with a muscle-bound stud of ambiguous sexuality and unambiguous greed. But the new dispensation isn't about Leona Helmsley or Mae West. It's about Madonna, 43, marrying Guy Ritchie, 33; or Sandra Bullock, 38, who's seeing Ryan Gosling, 17 years younger. Daryl Hannah, 42, has been spotted around Paris and London with David Blaine, 29.
"And Hollywood and Broadway have taken note of this cultural shift. For the past four months, Kathleen Turner, 48, has been sleeping with 24-year-old Jason Biggs eight times a week at [New Yorks] Plymouth Theater in 'The Graduate.' Meanwhile, at the multiplex this summer, there's been a mini-epidemic of older-woman-younger-man couplings: from Diane Lane's dangerous liaison with a younger Olivier Martinez in 'Unfaithful' to Bebe Neuwirth's surprise fling with her best friend's 15-year-old stepson in this month's 'Tadpole.'"
Sarah Bernard, writing on "Where the Boys Are," in the July 29 issue of New York

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