- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 24, 2005

Hip-hop Harvard

“It looks like the attempt to push [Harvard University President Lawrence H.] Summers out the door does not have widespread support among Harvard’s faculty. Rather, it appears to be coming from the usual suspects: left-wing professors … who have a vested interest in keeping a strong-willed and reform-minded university president from poking his nose into their world of intellectually questionable courses and activism masked as ‘research.’ …

“Last year, Summers vetoed the unanimous decision of the African and African-American Studies department to offer tenure to Marcyliena Morgan, whom the Boston Globe describes as a ‘hip-hop scholar.’

“Probably Morgan’s … academic credits consisted of publishing exactly one book. …

“Summers’ refusal to grant tenure to someone who so clearly did not deserve it … had to have sent shockwaves throughout the faculty.

“The president’s unwillingness to cave to political correctness … and his desire to push out professors who prefer dabbling in pop culture to creating serious scholarship should have made him a hero at an institution that prides itself on being America’s most prestigious and intellectually challenging institution of higher education.”

Andrew Cline, writing on “The Long Hot Summers,” Tuesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

New ad frontiers

“In many ways, the advertising business in the early 21st century would be unrecognizable to the generation that once thrived on Madison Avenue. … Today, advertisers chase consumers with a certain air of desperation. …

“Because the audience is increasingly fragmented, advertisers have found other media — from the Internet to ‘guerrilla marketing’ tactics, such as using the foreheads of college students (Dunkin’ Donuts paid for that privilege). Ads are increasingly showing up in movie theatres; last year, the Cinema Advertising Council generated $356 million for theatre owners — 38 percent more than the year before. …

“Internet advertising fell after the dot-com collapse of 2000, but it jumped 21 percent in 2004, and advertisers now spend more than $7 billion on the Web. In the old days, it was often said that half of advertising was wasted, but no one knew which half — ‘spray and pray’ is how Yahoo’s chief of sales, Wenda Harris Millard, sums up the situation.”

Ken Auletta, writing on “The New Pitch,” in the March 28 issue of the New Yorker

Larger battle

“Several high-profile events have made Americans think about life in ways they might have otherwise been able to avoid.

“Ashley Smith helped bring in alleged murderer Brian Nichols by convincing him that his life still had meaning, even if he should spend the rest of it behind bars. …

“Scott Peterson was sentenced to death recently for the murder of his pregnant wife and their unborn son, Conner, who in different circumstances would have been considered a clump of cells.

“And Pope John Paul II’s health has made many Catholics confront the realities of growing old and frail. He has persisted in carrying out his duties, even as Parkinson’s disease is robbing him of his abilities, demonstrating that even a life much reduced has tremendous meaning.

“This is the backdrop of the national stage upon which Terri Schiavo has been thrust. … The struggle to keep her alive embodies the larger right-to-life battle millions of Americans have been fighting for decades.”

Brendan Miniter, writing on “Culture of Life,” Tuesday in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

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