- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 6, 2005

Failed fantasy

“On a warm July day in 1981, half the world stopped to gaze at what was indisputably the wedding of the century. The Prince of Wales was plighting his troth to Lady Diana Spencer — not that anyone was looking at him. The groom was nothing on his own. All eyes were fixed on the bride, a fresh-faced 20-year-old, dressed in miles and miles of pure white silk. Later, after the exchange of vows and the ride in a horse-drawn carriage, the prince and princess sealed their nuptials with a public kiss. For little girls of seven to 70, Diana was the embodiment of the ultimate fantasy.

“The fairy tale always ends with a wedding. … [T]he young lovers are united and the entire cast, including the horse, makes a valedictory appearance in white wedding garb. The end. Roll credits. Lights up.

“In the case of Charles and Diana, of course, the end of the fairy tale turned out to be the beginning of quite another sort of story.”

Kate Saunders, writing on “Women: The Meaning of Wife,” Feb. 27 in the Times of London

Radical faculty

“Harvard University has a long tradition of aggrieved students laying siege to its buildings. In 1969, about 100 students protesting the Vietnam War marched through Harvard Yard and took over University Hall. … [Last month] however, that vaunted tradition was given an unusual twist. … [A]bout 500 members of the Harvard faculty politely filed into Lowell Hall, just off Harvard Yard, where they proceeded to lay siege to the university’s president, Larry Summers. …

“Indeed, the Summers controversy is one that has been confined almost entirely to Harvard’s faculty. Unlike past protests at Harvard — most of which were, if not student-led, at least student-heavy — the uproar over Summers has been a decidedly older affair. As Claudia Goldin, a Harvard economics professor, remarked … ‘This may be the first time in American history that most university faculties are more radical than students.’”

Jason Zengerle, writing on Harvard Coup,” in the March 7 issue of the New Republic

Lemons to lemonade

“[Martha Stewart’s] detractors are incensed that she’s getting out of jail, free — that she gets to go back to being rich, powerful and famous. They seethe that the jailbird has made no groveling apologies or pleas for forgiveness. Perhaps, once her appeal is finished, Stewart will provide them. Based on her comments so far, however — don’t hold your breath. …

“In any event, Stewart’s prison sentence has provided another opportunity for her to apply her true gift, one that infuriates those who lack it: the determination to forever make lemons into lemonade. Turning a jail sentence into a public-relations asset is no mean feat, but Stewart has done it. Based on reports from prison, she has embraced her fate and tackled her one glaring weakness: her reputation as a snooty, rich, ice queen. The groundswell of enthusiasm about her ‘comeback’ … carried the stock of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia from $8 to nearly $34, and, judging from recent commentary, her public approval rating has surged as well.”

Henry Blodget, writing on “What Martha Learned in Prison,” March 3 in Slate at www.slate.com

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