- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Free Winona
"Mere days after Winona Ryder was nabbed Dec. 12 in Beverly Hills for alleged shoplifting (which she denies) at Saks Fifth Avenue, a shop on the other side of L.A. was hawking 'Free Winona' tees in support of the girl, arrested.
"Y-Que Trading's Billy Tsangares reports that he has sold about 200 shirts in his store and on freewinona.com ($10). Tsangares, who's also sold 'Free James Brown' garments, hasn't heard from the as-yet-unincarcerated 'Reality Bites' star. 'We're waiting for a call from Saks. Maybe they'll want to carry it so they can make their own money back.'"
Jon Regardie, writing on "For a Cause" in the Jan. 25-Feb. 2 issue of Entertainment Weekly

Attention, Kmart shoppers
"It's a bankruptcy of mammoth proportions. Thousands of people could see their life savings wiped out, hundreds of thousands will feel the pain, and tens of millions will have their lives seriously affected.
"Of course I'm talking about Kmart's decision to file Chapter 11. The odd thing is that while this story has ben languishing in the business sections, the collapse of Enron, with far fewer ramifications, has been topping headlines for weeks now. …
"The Kmart story gets short shrift because … well, because it's Kmart. …
"That's too bad, because Kmart is about the rise and triumph of themeing. Stores can't just sell things any more, they have to have a theme.
"Wal-Mart doesn't just have low prices. The brand relentlessly cultivates a small-town image. …
"Target, of course, is the peppy, high-sensibility store the place where the cast of "Friends" would shop if they really didn't have money. …
"Kmart, by contrast, exudes nothing. …
"People want to shop at a store that has a cool image. Shoppers aren't looking only for good prices. They want recognition, respect, and status even if they're buying discount. …
David Brooks, senior editor at the Weekly Standard, writing on "Requiem for a Blue Light" in Friday's on-line edition of the Daily Standard

Celebrity culture
"The end of Talk magazine … was big news if you live within 75 miles of Times Square (OK, 10 miles), or in ZIP code 90210, northwest Washington and maybe Boston. …
"Talk was run by a famous New York editor who was said to have an unerring feel for these things. So it must mean something that Talk tanked. It looks to me that what it means is the golden age of American celebrity is over at last. Or maybe it died some time ago and no one living in the caves noted above noticed. If we've learned anything from Enron, it's that people who earn their daily bread by conjuring another fantasy before heading home offshore shell companies, another Brad Pitt cover also have a way of pretending that the fat lady couldn't possibly ever sing for them. …
"The celebrity culture of the past 30 years, which eventually chewed up even serious American art, was largely the product of publicists, talk-show schedulers and editors merely trying to get through another week's assignments. The public was never in on this workaday conceit, and so took these seemingly grand lives seriously. Anna Kournikova! … We have the evidence of VH-1's wonderful interviews with horrifyingly ancient but remarkably sane rock 'n' rollers to prove it was by and large a hoot, a running, inside joke."
Daniel Henninger, writing on "Talk Falls, Mariah Fired, America Gets Real," in Friday's Wall Street Journal


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