- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2003

Hype flops

“It’s a Romeo and Juliet story featuring the son of an anti-smut crusader in love with the daughter of a pornographer. It has something for everybody: Women would like the tender love story. Guys would like the glimpses of porn. …

“Network executives at Fox were convinced they had the makings of a megahit, so they produced ‘Skin’ and hyped it non-stop. … Fox’s massive promotion plan included using the sure-fire sequel to ‘Joe Millionaire’ as ‘Skin’s‘ lead-in. This was going to be huge!

“But when the ratings came in, Fox executives, as quoted in the New York Times, were ‘bewildered.’ Both shows were catastrophic ratings bombs. … What happened? How could all of that mass promotion have failed?

“Maybe the TV experts did not realize that, while women do like tender love stories, few are comfortable with the porn world. That while there are guys who are attracted by that sort of thing, they are not interested in tender love stories. …

“And maybe the TV experts did not realize that Americans have become subject to so much hype over the years that we no longer necessarily believe it.”

Gene Edward Veith, writing on “Skin flicked,” in this Saturday’s issue of World

Bambi boom

“All across the nation, whitetail deer numbers have skyrocketed. Prior to Christopher Columbus, the deer population was kept in check by predators — wolves, cougars, bobcats, bears, coyotes, and Indians. Uncontrolled commercial hunting and loss of habitat to uncontrolled logging and massive wildfires drastically reduced deer numbers. By 1900 the national whitetail herd was about half a million.

“But deer have made a comeback. … The national whitetail herd now exceeds 30 million. Whereas 50 years ago a good hunter got a deer every year or two, the average hunter in Alabama today kills almost three per year. … And deer herds keep growing.

“Deer are enjoyable to watch, but mushrooming herds are becoming a wildlife-management nightmare. …

“Insurance companies report over 500,000 deer-car collisions annually, resulting in about a hundred human deaths. … The average insurance claim for a deer-car collision is $2,000.”

James A. Swan, writing on “Shoot to Eat,” Thursday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Ripoff records

“For much of the 1950s and ‘60s, most pop LPs had been collections of hits or, more commonly, one or two popular songs surrounded by what everyone — label, artist, and listener alike — knew was throwaway filler.

“By the mid-‘60s, however, a different type of oppression reigned supreme. Performers increasingly saw themselves as not just singers in rock and roll bands but visionary geniuses; they began releasing self-styled song series that gestured toward some sort of grand, if typically inscrutable, aesthetic and thematic unity. The watershed moment came in 1967, with the release of the Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ an album that still routinely tops best-of lists despite boasting such groaners as ‘Within You, Without You,’ and ‘She’s Leaving Home.’ …

“Given the greater profit margins on LPs, it’s clear that artists and labels benefited from the shift away from singles and toward albums.”

Nick Gillespie, writing on “Hit the Road, Jack,” Thursday in Reason Online at www.reason.com

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