- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2003

Missed chance

“It seemed like a good idea at the time. Joe Roth, who was then the new Disney studio chairman, took his brainstorm to his boss, Walt Disney Corp. Chairman Michael Eisner. Pixar’s first animated feature for Disney, ‘Toy Story,’ had out-grossed every Disney-made movie but ‘Aladdin’ and the mighty ‘Lion King,’ and director John Lasseter had been hailed as the genius behind a new era in 3-D computer-generated animation. It was early 1997. … Eisner needed a No. 2, and Disney’s own animation division was stuck in a … rut. Roth said he had the perfect fix: Buy Pixar, put Lasseter in charge of revitalizing the Disney brand. …

“Eisner threw Roth out of his office.

“Over the past six years, Eisner has struggled … to keep the massive Disney train on track. While Disney live-action has flourished … Disney animation has not. … And Pixar has become the dominant force in animation today.”

Anne Thompson, writing on “Losing Nemo,” in the Sept. 15 issue of New York

History matters

“I had two remarkable teachers in high school. One was an elderly lady … who taught English and thereby introduced me to Shakespeare. The other was an equally elderly man who taught government, and introduced me to the principles and practices of self-government. These two teachers made a profound impact on me. The reason why is simple: it was clear that they both loved and knew the subjects they taught. …

“A teacher should both love and know the subject he teaches. No amount of psychology, sociology and methodology can replace steeping yourself in the subject and then introducing your students to it as if it were the most important subject in the world. And in the case of American history and government, it may well be.

“Teaching American history is different than teaching engineering or chemistry. If we don’t teach engineering or chemistry well enough for a few generations, all that will happen is that we might become less comfortable than we would have if it were well taught, or develop some useful medicine less quickly. But if we are unable to teach our history, the standard maxims of a free society, the constitutional structures instituted to protect our rights and freedoms, well then, we might no longer be able to prove to the world — which is our solemn duty to do — that men are capable of good government.”

Peter W. Schramm, writing on “Teaching Teachers,” in the September issue of On Principle

A fool for love

“I always felt like I could do [a romantic comedy] well. Because I feel like I am a romantic, and I’m not schmaltzy, I’m not sentimental. But I love romance. I think it’s the greatest thing in the world. So I thought for years, ‘I really wish I could do that.’ … It’s just so great to fall in love. And it shouldn’t be painful, shouldn’t end in death or disease; it’s possible to be romantic without being either dead or sad or unfaithful. There’s a way to live life as a romantic without hurting people.

“I really thought I could do that, thought about it for a long time because every good romance has comedy in it. Ask any woman: A guy’s got to be able to make them laugh. We may not agree on Bush and Clinton, but we can agree on what’s funny. You make me laugh and we are the same, we’re not alone anymore, really.”

Bill Murray, interviewed by Fred Schruers, in the October issue of Premiere

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