- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2002

Marvel movies
"The wild success of 'Spider-Man,' the movie, is obviously a big victory for Sony Pictures. The film has already taken in somewhere around $225 million and is expected to end up with box-office receipts of about $800 million in 2002. But what does this mean for Marvel, the beleaguered comic-book publisher where the web-slinger was born?
"Marvel has emerged from bankruptcy but [is] not free of problems. The company's net sales in 2001 were about $180 million, down from $230 million in 2000 and $320 million in 1999 not a good trend.
"[T]he stock spiked in the last couple of months in anticipation of [the 'Spider-Man] release. Immediately before the movie came out, it hit $9.
"[F]our films based on Marvel characters are slated for release in 2003: 'Daredevil' (starring Ben Affleck), 'The Hulk' (directed by Ang Lee), a sequel to 'The X-Men,' and 'The Punisher.' The company strategy these days is that the 'Marvel Universe' contains an astonishing collection of memorable and original characters who practically constitute an American mythology all their own. Spider-Man is a fine example of this: Like other Marvel heroes, he was a complicated and human character."
Rob Walker, writing on "What Spider-Man Can (and Can't) Do for Marvel," Thursday in Slate at www.slate.com

Diversity dogma
"At Stanford University, diversity bullies recently stomped all over a job applicant's resume because his thinking was a little too well, diverse.
"The applicant was Ron Brown, assistant football coach at the University of Nebraska. Brown had applied for the position of head Cardinal football coach. He helped take Nebraska to the Rose Bowl this year, so he may have thought his chances of being hired were pretty good. He assumed Stanford would want to hire the best candidate available.
"What a fool. The sign posted on the side of the football stadium should have alerted him. It read, 'Christians need not apply.'
"OK, there's really no such sign, but there might as well be. Brown, an evangelical Christian, was told his religious views were out of sync with Stanford's liberal student body.
"Brown was astounded when Stanford unblushingly told him the reason. 'If I'd been discriminated against for being black, they would've never told me that,' he said. 'They had no problem telling me it was because of my Christian beliefs. That's amazing to me.'"
Anne Morse, writing on "Football Follies," Thursday in Boundless at www.boundless.org

Legislating victory?
"When the U.S. team kicked its way to a spectacular victory over China in the Women's World Cup soccer final in the summer of 1999, the win was hailed as not just a triumph for women's soccer, but a triumph for women. Cynthia McFadden of ABC News proclaimed Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and the other members of the U.S. team 'the heiresses of the women's movement.'
"Nor did it hurt that they were all attractive young women, an image cultivated by Chastain posing semi-nude in the pages of the men's magazine Gear.
"The new stage in the women's movement symbolized by the U.S. women's soccer team, Americans were told, was brought about by a law: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
"President Clinton hosted the U.S. women's soccer team at the White House and thanked Title IX for giving 'millions and millions and millions of girls' the message 'that they can follow their dreams.'
"The Washington Post's Ann Gerhart even called Brandi Chastain's black sports bra unveiled in a dramatic act of product placement in the seconds following the World Cup victory 'the cloth symbol of Title IX's success.'"
Jessica Gavora, from her new book, "Tilting the Playing Field: Schools, Sports, Sex and Title IX"


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