- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Take care

“In 'A Life of Learning,' an address to the American Council of Learned Societies 20 years ago, John Hope Franklin recalled the 100th-birthday wisdom of the ragtime composer Eubie Blake, who said that had he known he would live so long, 'I'd have taken better care of myself.' John Hope Franklin not only took good care of himself until his death last month at 94, but he also took great care of the memory and self-concept of the American people.

“A cautionary truth about the life of John Hope Franklin is that, in that time long ago before he became John Hope Franklin, author of 'From Slavery to Freedom' (the book, originally published in 1947 and now in its best-selling eighth edition, virtually created the industry of African-American studies) and 11 other monographs; or the first African-American to be chairman of an academic department in a historically white institution; or the first person of color elected to the presidencies of Phi Beta Kappa (1973-76), the Southern Historical Association (1969-70), the Organization of American Historians (1974-75), and the American Historical Association (1978-79); or holder of the Guinness Book of Records distinction for an unsurpassed number of honorary degrees … long before there was John Hope Franklin the Institution, there was a Rentiesville, Okla., boy born black in a place where, and growing to adolescence in a time when, failing to take extremely good care of oneself could be fatal.”

- David Levering Lewis, writing on “John Hope Franklin's Moral and Intellectual Poise” in the April 10 issue of the Chronicle Review

Amateur for some

“NCAA rules on amateurism allow athletes to hold regular college jobs. Tyler Hansbrough could deliver pizzas and still keep his eligibility. But if he collects 'any remuneration for value or utility that the student-athlete may have for the employer because of the publicity, reputation, fame or personal following that he or she has obtained because of athletics ability,' he would be banned from playing college basketball.

“So 'student-athletes' may not do a commercial for the local car dealer or endorse Gatorade. That 'Guitar Hero: Metallica' ad with NCAA coaches Roy Williams, Rick Pitino, Bobby Knight, and Coach K dancing in their boxers? Why can't it feature 2009 Player of the Year Blake Griffin? How would allowing him to endorse a video game make his basketball playing impure?

“It is hard to see how student product endorsements would compromise the integrity of the athletic competitions in which the students participate. Could such contracts corrupt a student? Perhaps. But the NCAA even forbids students from avoiding such potential corruption through self-marketing. … Even some Southern plantation owners allowed slaves to earn extra cash through self-employment. The NCAA is not so enlightened.”

- Andrew Cline, writing on “The NCAA's Slaves” on April 6 at the American Spectator


“During one of the breaks, I asked a well-respected academic political scientist what accounted for the sharp move in recent years. His answer: Comedy Central. 'Jon Stewart has done more to destroy the Republican brand among young voters than any person in America.'

“And after reviewing some new research, it's clear he may have been on to something. 18-29-year-olds are indeed getting more of their political news from non-traditional sources. A 2004 Pew study, for example, found that these Americans cited comedy shows like 'Saturday Night Live' or 'The Daily Show' almost as frequently as newspapers and network news as a primary source of information about campaigns. …

“The unbalanced treatment of the two parties on comedy channels extends beyond Stewart. HBO comedian Bill Maher often concludes with his now-common rant that the GOP is basically narrow-minded, hateful, dumb and bigoted. And while it's a less precise measure, the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University has compared the number of jokes aimed at Republicans and Democratic presidential candidates in the post-convention period between 1992 and 2004 and finds the GOP consistently takes the brunt.

- Gary Andres, writing on “Are You Laughing Now?” on April 2 at the Weekly Standard

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