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11 Dec. 1998 - 7 Jan. 1999

Vol. II, No. 17

In the News

"60 Minutes has been setting the standard. And if this is the new standard, then, God, we're all in trouble," asserts Jim Thistle, director of broadcast journalism at COM, in the November 24 Boston Globe. He was referring to the TV news magazine's segment showing Dr. Jack Kevorkian helping a man to die on the air. Reflecting on his own experience with TV journalism, Thistle adds, "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you do it."

"We're in an age where the blockbuster [exhibition] is necessary for museums to fill the bottom line," says Daniel Ranalli, CAS professor of art history. "Due diligence," he continues, might have saved the Museum of Fine Arts the embarrassment it now faces over alleged Nazi theft of one of the Monet paintings in its own current blockbuster exhibit, Monet in the 20th Century. "This is a show that's really meant to maximize revenue for the MFA," Ranalli adds, addressing the issue on WGBH-TV's Greater Boston on November 30. "Sometimes due diligence isn't used as much as it might be."

As Russia struggles to establish its new identity, one of its key leaders, prime minister Yevgeny Primakov, gives BU University Professor Uri Ra'anan pause. "In the space of less than an hour during a meeting with the Israeli prime minister, Primakov said, 'We in the Soviet Union -- I mean Russian Federation,' twice, and he was completely unfazed by it," reports Ra'anan, an expert in international affairs. "This is the kind of slip of the tongue that really tells what he's thinking." Ra'anan's comment was reported in the October 26 issue of Insight.

Countering the perception that school vouchers are a threat to democracy, SED professor Charles Glenn insists, "They are instead a threat to an undemocratic monopoly system of vested interests." In an essay in the November 27 Boston Globe, Glenn defends the justice of allowing parents to patronize the school of their choice and sketches a broad critique of public education. He concludes, "I am not for vouchers as a way for some lucky children to escape from a bankrupt public education system but as a way to transform that system, to abolish its choking monopolies and reshape it in a way consistent with a free society."

What the Reverend Margaret Schwarzer calls "the sacred art of gift-giving" is her antidote to holiday commercialism. "The story of the first Christmas reminds us that a present is meant to celebrate someone's presence," writes Schwarzer, BU's Episcopal chaplain, in the December issue of Self. "When you unmask your true feelings about those you love, and take the time to affirm these feelings through the presents you give, you are engaging in the sacred art of gift-giving."