Dispatches > The Buzz

Quicktakes

Issue: "Enron's collapse," Jan. 26, 2002

IVY UNIFORMITY: Further proof of the leftward dominance of academia: Over 80 percent of Ivy League professors voted for Al Gore in 2000. Ex-leftist gadfly David Horowitz trumpeted the poll, commissioned by his Center for the Study of Popular Culture, as evidence of what he's long claimed. The Luntz Research survey found that only 3 percent of these high-profile academics consider themselves Republican, 14 percent support an anti-missile defense system, and 40 percent support slavery reparations. "For all the Ivy League's talk of diversity, it is painfully evident from this survey that there is no real diversity when it comes to the political attitudes and social values of Ivy League professors," Mr. Horowitz said. "Not only is there an alarming uniformity among liberal-arts professors at our elite universities, but this uniformity bears the clear stamp of the Democratic Party and the political left." SELLING RIGHT: Conservative books sell. That's the begrudging admission from The New York Times' Martin Arnold, noting Regnery Publishing's repeated successes on the bestseller lists. Now that The Free Press has moved leftward, Regnery is practically the only conservative publisher left. Mr. Arnold ponders why such books as the late Barbara Olson's The Final Days do well. "It may simply be that conservatives are writing books of political thought and moderates and liberals aren't," he writes. "It may be that conservatives are simply more interesting when they do write and talk, and get to an audience's belly in a way that liberals and moderates don't. Or it may simply be that if you are a publisher and want to make money, the conservative writers with their broadcasting celebrity will attract the readers, so that's where you put your chips." Mr. Arnold notes that mainstream publishers sometimes publish conservative writers "mostly for profit," including Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, Peggy Noonan, and Pat Buchanan. "A nonfiction publishing list is a thunder gust of conflicting ideas and hopes in which single-issue books and tales of the shenanigans of politicians seldom do well," he concludes. "That's the conventional wisdom. But what seems true for now at least is that if they are coming from the right, the author is apt to get rich." 0FULL OF BEANS: Still have those Beanie Babies? They aren't worth beans now, reports the Denver Post's Michael Booth. He remarks that his daughters now play with toys that once fetched $150 a pop on the Internet. "It was good to see the Beanies getting some air," he writes. "Because they're sure as heck not making us rich." Some of the little stuffed animals are worth money, but demand is slack compared to the late 1990s hysteria. Mr. Booth says the real winner in the Beanie craze was eBay, which brokered the sale of countless toys that now sit in closets. Many of those Beanies may never be super-valuable again. Mr. Booth noted that since so many people often keep "collectibles" in mint condition, they never become rare. "Let that be a lesson to the ridiculous grown men I saw at the 1998 All-Star baseball game at Coors Field, who took their complimentary Glory All-Star Bear and put it straight into a Tupperware container for safekeeping," Mr. Booth concludes. "UPSCALE" GUTTER: Whatever became of family TV? NBC has no room for it, at least not for programs that actually show parents and children as central characters. Three years ago, Brent Bozell remembered that NBC entertainment chief, Scott Sassa, promised more family shows. Nothing came of it-and now the network officials openly admit they have no plans to develop such shows because they don't appeal to upscale audiences. "Upscale" here means singles and childless couples with plenty of excess spending money. Yet Mr. Sassa also told TV critics that NBC must try to compete more with shows like HBO's raunchy Sex and the City. Mr. Bozell said there are plenty of people in Hollywood who can make family-friendly shows, but the Peacock Network isn't calling. "Sassa's statements of late ought to surprise no one who follows the television business," he said. "NBC has long styled itself as the smart, hip network-in other words, the network that best reflects the cultural elitism of Hollywood itself. In that context, to shun wholesome programming and the supposedly downscale types who gravitate toward it is perfectly logical."

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