- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Star students

“The roster of matriculating actresses has star quality. In the spring, Julia Stiles graduated from Columbia. Natalie Portman received her degree from Harvard in 2003. … And then there are the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley (New York University, ‘08). …

“Actresses with bachelor’s degrees are nothing new, going back to Katharine Hepburn (Bryn Mawr, ‘28). Her heirs include Ali MacGraw (Wellesley, ‘60), Meryl Streep (Vassar, ‘71) and Sigourney Weaver (Stanford, ‘72).

“But these women became widely known only after graduation. Today many actresses make their professional bones as children or teenagers, then trade scripts for textbooks. …

“The first wave of college-bound stars began in the early 1980s, when Jodie Foster and Brooke Shields made headlines by going to Yale and Princeton, respectively.”

— Thomas Vinciguerra, writing on “Stars of Stage, Screen and Freshman Biology,” Sunday in the New York Times

Storm damage

“Think of it like the impact of the fall of Atlanta on the Confederates during the Civil War. Louisiana just lost its last solid Democrat voting districts. …

“Some day, you will be able to measure time as ‘Before Katrina’ and ‘After Katrina.’ The last great Democrat capital of the Old South has fallen … and in the end they will have to give up. Louisiana in 20 years time will look like a smaller, leaner version of Texas, friendly to business with low taxes, and Democrats will only exist in force at the edge of college campuses, just as they do today in the once great Democrat stronghold of Texas.

“Thirty years ago, Texas was Louisiana. Today, Texas is an economic force … so strong that it’s taken to supporting 150,000 people from Louisiana in the blink of an eye. A large number of those people will go on to stay in Texas after the waters have been removed from New Orleans, but all will be impacted by what they saw in Texas, and some will begin to expect it of their own government when they finally return to Louisiana.”

— from “The Kingfish Is Dead,” posted Sept. 7 at varifrank.com

Yada, yada

“When the creators of ‘Seinfeld’ took a stand against the saccharine rituals of the sitcom —’no hugging, no learning’ — one hoped the warranty would extend to reunion specials. So far, so good. … But if you watch TV commercials, you could be forgiven for thinking we’re in the middle of a ‘Seinfeld’ tribute show.

“In a host of recent ads, Madison Avenue has exhumed Seinfeld’s catchphrases and characters and put them to work selling product. Seinfeld is back, as shill rather than sitcom, lending its imprimatur to everything from luxury cars to light beer. …

“In a new Chrysler commercial, Jason Alexander (who played George Costanza) saunters up to a crusty CEO-type and squirms — invoking Costanza’s obsequious relationship to New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Only instead of Steinbrenner, the commercial’s CEO turns out to be … Lee Iacocca. Iacocca then disgorges one of Seinfeld’s signature catchphrases: ‘yada, yada, yada.’

“Coors Light … has lately borrowed from Seinfeld’s high-tone comedy. On a recent commercial, a woman says of her beer bottles, ‘They’re plastic and they’re spectacular.’ …

“Regurgitating a ‘Seinfeld’ line has become one of the easiest ways to flatter the intelligence and good taste of the TV viewer.”

— Bryan Curtis, writing on “Seinfeld: Master of Madison Avenue’s domain,” Friday in Slate at www.slate.com

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