Books and Arts
What’s an old-timey media brand being murdered by the Zeitgeist to do? There’s the Washington Post route: Hire a series of quietly competent executives to manage the inevitable decline, while investing in more booming sectors, like hospice care. Or you can go for the flash and the buzz, the zazz and the bling, by bringing on the former wunderkind who ran into a rough patch but seems destined for a comeback. You can go for Jeff Zucker. CNN has chosen door number two.
“I think it's one of the most noble risks we have ever taken.” This comes from an executive at Twentieth Century Fox, the studio that gave us Sunrise, Shirley Temple, and The Robe. When a corporation has ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, talk of nobility is often a warning sign of stupidity. So sane producers may have read Yann Martel’s 2001 novel, seen that it was selling 9 million copies across the world, and concluded that there was no need for a movie of Life of Pi—the same escape clause I raised a week ago in connection with the latest Anna Karenina.
IN 1962, ALMOST TWENTY years after the lyricist Lorenz Hart’s death, his melodist partner Richard Rodgers told Diahann Carroll that “you can’t imagine how wonderful it feels to have written this score and not have to search all over the globe for that little fag.” Ouch. And yet, as Gary Marmorstein’s thoroughgoing—if occasionally conjectural—biography makes clear, Hart seems to have thought even less of himself than Rodgers did.
It might be time not just to rely on law schools to change themselves, but to encourage or even require them to change.