Should Some Languages Be Allowed To Die?

“Linguists now estimate that half of the more than 6,000 languages currently spoken in the world will become extinct by the end of this century. In reaction, there are numerous efforts to slow the die-off — from graduate students heading into the field to compile dictionaries; to charitable foundations devoted to the cause, like the Endangered Language Fund; to transnational agencies, some with melancholic names appropriate to the task, like the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages. But how does one salvage an ailing language when the economic advantages of, say, Spanish are all around you? And is it possible to step inside a dying language to learn whether it can be saved and, more rudely, whether it should be?”

What Minimalism Hath Wrought

Twenty years ago Minimalism was everywhere. It’s not heard so often anymore. But it’s had a major influence on music of the recent past. “Ultimately, the question isn’t whether this kind of music is still viable in the 21st century, but if what we have to say now can be adequately expressed by it. You see parallels in every epoch.”

A Matter Of (Broadcast) Decency (Or Politics)

The call for new laws governing “indecency” in the media is gathering heat, and last week Howard Stern was dropped from six radio stations. “One central question is whether the heat generated by these issues will subside without producing lasting change, as it has before, or if a new era of government regulation and media restraint has begun. Despite the current political momentum, nightly programming on the major networks continues to include numerous flash points involving language, sexuality and violence.”

“Passion” Takes In $117 Million

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ has taken in as much as $117 million in its first five days. “The Passion,” which debuted on Ash Wednesday, rocketed to the No. 1 box-office slot for the weekend with $76.2 million from Friday to Sunday. It was the seventh-best three-day opening ever, behind “Spider-Man” at $114.8 million and such Hollywood franchises as “The Matrix Reloaded” and the first two “Harry Potter” movies.”

Cleveland Voters Vote On Arts Funding Measure

Cleveland voters go to the polls tuesday to vote on a measure that would provide $100 million for economic development. “Half the money would underwrite job creation, worker training and retraining, brownfield cleanup and business start-ups. The other half would go to cultural groups and artists through a county-run grant process involving the review of applicants by panels of community leaders and out-of-region arts experts.”

The Next Big Thing – Web Critics?

Some online movie critics have hundreds of thousands of readers, more than many print publications. But “though their readership is growing, online film critics remain at the bottom of the movie-publicity food chain — far below daily newspaper critics, magazine writers and broadcast reporters. They are the last to be invited for preview screenings, are seldom quoted in movie ads and remain largely off the radar for Hollywood studios.”