- The Washington Times - Friday, February 7, 2003

Showing some leg
"Can an item of clothing that has been in decline for three decades get women shopping again?
"From Paris to New York, fashion designers and editors have declared super-short miniskirts and figure-hugging pencil skirts the big fashion news for women this spring. 'It's all about legs,' proclaimed Vogue … 'Short Story,' blared Harper's Bazaar, touting microminis …
"The challenge: Many women rarely wear skirts anymore, not to mention super-short miniskirts … A decade ago, the fashion business could rely on corporate dress codes to at least keep knee-length skirt sales stable. But while the dot-com bust is putting pressure on men and women to dress more professionally at work, the skirt has been left behind.
"The fashion business has tried pushing miniskirts before, and doubtless will again, no matter how skirts fare at the checkout counter this time around. Fashion houses that don't emphasize skirts this year risk getting shut out of coverage in fashion magazines, which are showing skirts big time. … And certainly nothing generates a runway spectacle like a gorgeous model in a short skirt cut up to there."
Sally Beatty, writing on "The Skinny on the Mini," in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal

'Youth values'
"In the early 17th century, a poet stirred by the rich polyphony of church music declared that it showed him 'the way to heaven's door.' … Unhappily, reactions to classical music in our time are often less visionary.
"Miles Davis, a noted jazz trumpeter who turned to rock, pronounced it [garbage], lacking the instant impact which pop music offers and which pop culture of all kinds has made the global measure of emotional effect.
"As indifference to classical music grows, Julian Johnson, an academic and composer, has produced a heartfelt and finely reasoned appeal. 'Who Needs Classical Music?' … launches a larger attack on attitudes which threaten to marginalize both classical music and high art in general, replacing their unique depth with the frissons of fashion and sensation.
"For Mr. Johnson, mainstream culture has become saturated with the youth values of immediacy and novelty. Geared to commodities and advertising, it dismisses the more deliberate and complex responses which classical music requires as outmoded, unsellable and elitist."
"Defending classical music," from the Jan. 9 print edition of the Economist

Another genre
"There's lots of talk these days about how so-called 'reality TV' whether it's the giddyup-and-con-'em 'Joe Millionaire' or the songbird-screeching of 'American Idol' is changing the TV industry, and probably for the worse. …
"I say: Hooey, with some reservations. Here's the positive side of the reality revolution:
"Reality TV is never going to drive out sitcoms and dramas; it's just become another genre, competing in the marketplace. If the marketplace (that is, prime time) becomes overloaded with such product, viewers will tune away, so don't worry about ABC, CBS, and NBC becoming all-reality, all the time.
"It's no wonder people would rather watch, say, 'Joe Millionaire' than 'The Practice.' At this point in both shows' runs, it's 'Joe' that's got the pop-culture juice the energy, the amusement, the, yes, drama that 'The Practice' lacks right now.
"Sitcoms? Are you kidding? What sitcom is funnier, week after week, right now than the spectacle of Trista twisting guys around her little finger on 'The Bachelorette' or seeing Corey Feldman cry like a baby on 'The Surreal Life'? 'The Simpsons,' 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' sometimes 'Friends,' always 'Andy Richter Controls the Universe' (but idiotic Fox is going to cancel it, aren't you, you weasels?). Maybe if there were fewer sitcoms on the air for a while, pushed aside by the reality glut, writers would step back, reconsider the form, and come up with better laugh-attractors."
Ken Tucker, writing on "Why Reality Won't Kill 'Friends,'" Wednesday on Entertainment-Weekly.com

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