“These parallel dogmas — free speech and intellectual-property rights — through corporate intervention and governmental abdication, are now on a collision course, and may in fact collide next month with the theatrical release of Kirby Dick’s incendiary This Film Is Not Yet Rated. A jihad against the Motion Picture Association of America, movie studios and the corporations that own them, Dick’s documentary plans to get around the prohibitive costs of copyright licensing by employing a “fair use” defense — a safeguard built into the Constitution but largely untested in the courts. Like the last time a foreign body slammed into the earth’s surface, disrupting gravitational orthodoxy, watch for sea changes, atmospheric gloom and toppling dinosaurs.”
It is “the great paradox of modern publishing. While there are more books published than ever before, it is more difficult to get published than ever before… This is supported by evidence of publishers rejecting new writing that does not have a celebrity attached while scaling down the money paid to mid-list authors to a level where there is barely an incentive for them to get out of bed.”
“In just a few million years, one area of the human genome seems to have evolved about 70 times faster than the rest of our genetic code. It appears to have a role in a rapid tripling of the size of the brain’s crucial cerebral cortex, according to an article published Thursday in the journal Nature.”
Ever notice how many college graduates aren’t doing the jobs they were trained for in college? Was their education a failure? Not necessarily. College taught them how to think. So is there a danger in demanding that colleges measure the specific results of the courses they are teaching?
A new study says that TV has a numbing effect on children. “Researchers confirmed the distracting power of television – something parents have long known – when they found that children watching cartoons suffered less pain from a hypodermic needle than kids not watching TV. Especially disturbing to the author of the scientific study was that the cartoons were even more comforting than Mom.”
A garden being constructed in Beirut and meant to symbolize peace has been put on hold because of the war. “The 3.5-acre pit zigzags between three churches and three mosques in central Beirut. It had been in the process of becoming Hadiqat As-Samah: the Garden of Forgiveness. It might now be seen as the landscape of a shattered ideal.”
The Metropolitan Opera has commissioned an opera from Wynton Marsalis. “The opera, which will feature a libretto by American playwright John Guare, has no working title, nor an estimated time of arrival.”
Orders for Gunther Grass’ new autobiography have almost doubled since the Nobel author revealed he had been a member of the Hitler SS.
Barnes & Noble reports profits were up 23 percent in the second quarter. The increase wasn’t because of bigger sales, though. “Sales decreased 1 percent to $1.16 billion from $1.17 billion last year, largely due to year-ago sales of best-seller Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”
Hollywood is offering fewer and fewer pre-screenings for critics these days, especially with films that have the potential for big box office success, but not much in the way of artistic merit. Some critics are furious at being shut out, but William Arnold says that moviegoers may actually be better served. “Before the mid-’80s, films usually opened on Wednesday, and reviews were spread out through the following week… Films were not faced with a make-or-break opening weekend, and a landmark film like Bonnie & Clyde could be saved by an outbreak of enthusiastic reviews well into its run.”