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13 August 1999

Vol. III, No. 3

In the News

The late Stanley Kubrick's final film, the just-released Eyes Wide Shut, has opened the eyes of a number of critics to the need for a more mature approach to sex in film. "It's high time we recaptured the adult movie category and actually have a movie that is by, for, and about adults' concerns," says Ray Carney, COM professor of film, in a July 11 Boston Globe story. "I can think of no other art that is so insistently juvenile in subject and audience as film," he adds.

After Apollo 11's successful liftoff and 250,000-mile trip 30 years ago, some might think that making a four-point landing on the moon was problem-free. But the first time was tricky. Professor Farouk El-Baz, director of BU's Center for Remote Sensing and cartographer of the moon for NASA, shares his memories of the Apollo 11 mission for PBS's Nova, broadcast on July 13. "We worked on the exact landing point for so long, and we wanted this landing specifically to be very successful and safe," he says. "And here they are, not landing where they're supposed to be, and we have no idea where they will finally land. It was really terrifying to find out that perhaps here we were going to see something that might end the program."

"In Chinese history, many movements that started out as religious have become political, and that's why the government is frightened," says Merle Goldman, CAS professor of Chinese history, in the Boston Globe July 14. She refers to China's attempt to suppress Falun Gong, a technique that exercises the body and mind together. "Whatever political ramifications Falun Gong may have in China," Goldman adds, "it doesn't have any in the United States."

Analyzing present Mideast realities in the July 19 Wall Street Journal, CAS International Relations Professor Angelo Codevilla says that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak "will be compelled to note that Mr. Clinton's view of the world clashes with the one Israel has been developing for some time." Codevilla observes that "the Clinton administration is trying to transcend traditional alliances," whereas Israel has been developing alliances with Turkey and Jordan against Syria. Barak "can trust the Clinton team and move his country toward a deal with its enemies that violates normal rules of military prudence," he concludes, "or he can seek the military means of being useful to his Turkish and Jordanian friends, while being fearsome to states that are enemies of America and Israel alike."

Speaking on PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on July 12, Michael Salinger, School of Management associate professor of economics, explains that cable news networks tend to lose a lot of money before they turn a profit. "Simply because they have the money to spend doesn't mean that big companies are going to be willing to lose money," he says. "After all, they have shareholders to report to, and that's the money of the shareholders going down the drain." Using the example of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Network, which is still losing almost $100 million a year, Salinger says, "Even for Rupert Murdoch, that's not pocket change."

As the day of millennial reckoning draws near, historians disagree over how much Europe panicked the last time around. An article in the July Smithsonian magazine describes how most modern historians dismiss for lack of evidence an earlier view of a Europe convulsed by fear and hope as 999 was ending. Richard Landes, CAS associate professor of history and director of BU's Center for Millennial Studies, disagrees with the modern consensus, saying that other historians have "an aggressive naïveté in [their] approach to the texts, indignantly dismissing the possibility that the clerics who compose our sources might be under discretionary pressure" retrospectively to downplay contemporary fears.

"In the News" is compiled by Alexander Crouch in the Office of Public Relations.